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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Feeling lazy, 'cause it's all just newsdump in here lately, no billyhank words. Dunno why. I'm out, I'm doing shit, my mind should be churn and burn and spit left and right. A bit of a physical ache, maybe, more than anything else. Been riding my bike to work and back the last couple of days and while I'm digging the burn of it (although cigarettes at work are making the ride home more of a chore than it should be), there's still that missing dynacism, that, shit, I dunno....anger?....antogonism?...of driving.

Biking is similar to bus riding, in that there's a certain contemplative quality to your movement. In the bus, you've given up any real freedom of movement in exchange for a relatively painless and cheap way to transport yourself. Biking allows for diversion from your set path (i.e. breaking off to Gasworks on my way home tonight for a short look at the bay and the chance spotting of a couple of Cessna watercraft coming in for a landing from the North), but at the expense of your sweat, your muscle, your occasional brush with death (came to a skidding halt this morning in the U district when some asshole in a Honda went right on red just as I hit the crosswalk; more anger than fear, but I gotta get some blinkies for the bike). Which, of the two modes, I find preferable, certainly, although I think the rainy season might take the wind out of my sails on that one. We'll see.

Here's the thing, though. On the bus I'm hidden away behind a book and my headphones. On the bike I'm fully engaged with the reality of the world around me. Both modes, I've found, make the wheels in your head spin. Dunno why, really. Words and music should be a distraction in the former and dodging peds, other bikes and the occasional wayward import sedan in the latter. But that's not what I've found. I think and think and think and wonder. No stories, no real coherent thought, just an endless stream of halfass philosophy, bits of memory, the occasional startling sight along the trail or on the street (or this one old lady on the Gilman who's got a pug and is always chatting with some other dog person. She makes me think of Buttons; Jen loves the pugs). It's got its own energy, the bike-riding, but it's just not the same. Not that it's intended to be, I suppose, but I'm still the wishing for the conflux of speed, music, freedom and control. That's driving, not riding, not pedaling, not walking.

Maybe this is why we love the cars so much, as a planet. I know, it's an old thought, often repeated, but that's the kind of shit that's true, right? In my car, back in the day, my rattling station wagon, I was a high plain drifter, a pale rider, autonomous and vital. I could be courteous or bomb along the highway like a madman, crank the radio for good songs or dial up witty talk on NPR. The ultimate bipolar machine. The best way to push out every little piece of my personality I could find.

Whatever. I've lost the thread. Everything's new, and I'm starting to wonder if my calcified brain is having a harder time coping than I'm admitting.

Probably out for the night. Glad to have you along for the ride, children. Talk to you soon.

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