Thursday, January 23, 2014

Streaky Pane

Do you make too little of catastrophes or take life too seriously? Depends on specifics. All should carefully consider and safely pursue motility, but many exaggerate its threats. P.J. O’Rourke ridiculed such ideas long ago. Who understands satire anymore? Reducing to the absurd ceases to be amusing when lives are at stake. Built a Cycling FMEA which showed high to middle severity for Failure Modes but low statistical occurrence of Effects, so no risk Analyzed could be considered unacceptable; sure, might further mitigate some, but most would hardly be worth the effort. Blather on blogs/radio/television, no matter how strident, begs being laughed off for the self serving bunk it is. Takes all kinds: Enthusiasts to propel progress, naysayers to redouble planning, and oppressors to police compliance. Tickets jealously motivated punish whoever by riding evades raising revenue. So rare, you can't cite an instance where a cyclist caused a traffic injury, other than to self; motorists nationwide murder well over 30,000 innocents every year. Decide what's right for you, born bawling, dragging a metal shell, and dying too soon.

Self evaluation proves crucial during decision making. How have you improved yourself? Have rules followed or values upheld led to your goals? How did you measure success? Still potent or relevant? Time to cut losses? Willing to take on more or other responsibilities? Was reminded by a cyclist that when you answer "no", nothing good comes from it, but "yes" affirms life and provides only chance to learn or profit. Then contrasted that with what Franz Kafka wrote...

"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked; it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Zurau Aphorism 109, 1917

Gongs from a century ago echo in B&C's Chapter 15, though suggested such visions mostly occur right before you slam into a wall, when you'll be glad you're wearing a helmet. Some speculate safety devices encourage risk taking. Insuring motorists certainly has. Leaving a cozy home is risk enough, especially into subzero snow. Nobody wants to encounter naked truths. You not only need not agree with absolutes and ultimatums, you ought to exercise choices lest they disappear. How else can you nurture advancement, innovation, uniqueness? Some claim Kafka would have wished he never published anything had he known how critics would distort it. Audiences invariably process input in unanticipated ways. Conceiving and inventing keep humans at the top of food chain when once they were sparse snacks for surly predators. From millennia of herd hunting, they instinctively know that working together means survival, which explains their fascination with famous faces and trivial facts. Yet they morbidly distrust strangers after relentless negative conditioning.

Bicyclist with blinkies and headlight bouncing stripes barely visible in a blizzard

“No matter how one may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science, or the bicycle he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world.” Frances Willard of herself in her 53rd year, 1892

Bright baubles fascinate infants for a few moments. Bloggers observe what occurs through a streaky pane and squint at shards of totality. Cyclists look inward; what else can you do while pedaling? Insights arrive inconsistently and never cohere. Once posted, outward again appeals. Bike polo, freakbikes, and tattooed messengers do contribute to cycling culture, but you can't equate art and artifacts. A tall bike slapped together requires less dedication than a book or film. Art is where dialogue starts, questions are posed, and resolutions lead to consensus that serve mutual needs. Only words let you connect meaningfully beyond hunger and lust at a distance.

Expended serious effort over decades in pursuit of quality but reaped minimal rewards. This may never land upon's top 50 bicycle websites. Wrote for honest pay, mad obsession, publisher whims, and unrealized wins. When they look beyond its drier patches, intelligent readers see B&C as a departure. Devoid of entertainment distractions and metaphoric crutches, B&C deconstructs language into the virus that it is, measures the irrational well of interpersonal dynamics, but refuses to rebut any reasonable position over its opposition. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous corruption of do-nothing partisans that treats doers as obsequious fools sours any hope of cooperation. Eventually you either specialize or succumb to incompetence. The longer you live, the more you regret letting yourself be used and vow to spend what years remain on only what’s important. Nothing seems reason enough anymore. Need to embrace new dreams yet imagined and find clarity.