Sunday, May 20, 2012

Time .... and Tolerance

 Still Ticking

I thought about titling this post “He Lives!” but coming so soon on the heels of Easter I didn’t want to risk the ire of the fundamentalist wing of the Legions of Codfish. Must maintain solidarity in our platform and all that.

Yes, I just checked and see that it has officially been a ‘long time’ since my last post.  Thee are a million reasons, but they are all just excuses and so rather than fill up the cyber page with that drivel, We’ll move out smartly.  I’ve always been a strong believer in the notion that failures find excuses while successful people find a way.  So let’s get on with finding our way, shall we? 

I rode another permanent yesterday.  Though it was only 100Km it gave me plenty of thinking time, because, you know, I don’t knock these things out in rapid fashion.

It was the perfect day for it:

Maybe a bit cold for some first thing in the morning (I planned to start at 8:00am) but other than some morning ground fog; a clear sky, bright sun and for the most part no wind by the time I rode away from the start.  The forecast had been:  Partly sunny on Saturday, Partly cloudy on Sunday.  For this you need a degree in meteorology?

Great weather really makes it on the bike.  Even if I hadn’t  gotten a good night’s sleep, my bike wasn’t running like a fine Swiss watch, I had not been feeling as healthy as I was, I know that the nice weather would have put a positive spin on all those down sides.  I thought a bit as I rode along about the rides I put in from November through March (a long time ago?) and how the weather, rather than an ally was an adversary:  Something to be endured rather than enjoyed.  Gotta love that sun!

I got a late start!  My fault entirely (no excuses here).  I knew what time I was scheduled to start, how long it takes to get to the start, what time I needed to get out of the sack, how long it takes to get ready, all that.  I got up a half hour late and so was short cutting and hurrying through the prep, knowing that without question I was bound to forget something, just hoping that when I figured out what it was it wouldn’t be a show stopper. 

It turned out to be my bike computer. Not a show stopper, sort of like going to the beach and forgetting your Amazon Kindle: more important than flip flops, less important than sun screen.  I also didn’t have a cue sheet, (not by accident). I’ve ridden this course enough times that I know the turns and controls, but with a computer you have a convenient check on your progress.

In situations like this I revert to an alternate, simplistic strategy for assuring that I won’t get behind the time/distance curve on these things:  I just ride fast as hell.  Well, that might be a bit of an overstatement.  What I actually do is ride at ‘heavy breathing’ pace.  At HBP I could still carry on a conversation if needed, I wouldn’t be gasping, but I’d be ... breathing heavily. It works.  By the time I got to the first timed control (the first two were info controls, no time check involved) I had plenty of time in the bank.    

The missing computer had me thinking about time, (can you tell?) what an odd concept it is.  The punch line to one of those tech geek riddles.  Is time real, or is it an invention.  Is time a thing, or a measurement?   

So sure, it has been a long time since my last post … long if you are an ant, or an amoeba, but thinking about the big bang (or Adam and Eve if you are of a different mind) a few earth days, earth weeks, or even earth months really is not all that long. 

So what have I been doing with my time?  Well I’ve been busy (that old catch-all).  Work has been eating up all my ‘work’ time, and some unfair share of my ‘free’ time.  Work surely does get in the way of life.  I’ve been helping to organize a few rando rides,

 and doing a little bike riding myself. The fish have awakened, and so have their parasites, so there is pond and fish maintenance to play around with.  

Then there are all the time demands which accompany the arrival of that nice weather.  The grass grows so fast you can almost hear it, about half as fast as the weeds.  We put in potatoes, cauliflower, peas, beans, onions, leeks, celery and a few more annual ground cover plants.  Each year our ‘tillable acreage is diminished as we try to plug in something that will crowd out the dandelions and quack grass.  One of the high bush blueberry plants really took a hit over the winter, but the raspberries have gone rogue, maybe they somehow crossed with our native blackberries.  All that is missing are a couple rusty old cars to trellis them on. 

Oh, I’ve also been writing more.  So, when I say ‘writing’ what picture comes to mind?  Do you see me pecking away at a key board, every third keystroke a peck at the backspace key?  Well, actually I mean writing as in pen-and-paper-one-point-oh.  And not just a Bic and a legal pad, I’ve gone totally retro, I’m using a couple older (a couple even older than me!) fountain pens. 

This also gives me pause to consider time.  Here I sit at my desk scratching this little gold nib across an expanse of white paper leaving a trail of wet, squiggly fountain pen poop that, taken as a whole represents thoughts, and ideas.  This is a tradition that goes back several centuries.  My pen is an absolutely brilliant and mysterious instrument.  As if by magic, it leaves traces that can be seen by others, even other civilizations far into the unknowable future (time unimaginable) and  … deciphered.  The modern fountain pen did as much to advance literacy as the printing press.  Prior to the advent of the modern, mass produced fountain pen writing was the province of the leisure class.  I could go on but if you spend a little time thinking about it you may come to your own startling realizations.  And just to throw in an added wrinkle, think about the similarities between the fountain pen and the ‘safety’ bicycle.  Both simple, yet breakthrough concepts, design and manufacture coming together to produce artifacts that have wrought profound changes on society. 

Writing what you ask?  Some creative writing, I’m getting back into journaling some, and also letter writing.  The letter writing has been fun, and getting reactions from recipients (victims?) is even ‘funner’.  If you are of a certain age you can remember a time when receiving a letter in the mail was cause for excitement, anticipation and no small amount of pleasure.  Now, I’m learning that upon seeing a letter in the mailbox, for many the first reaction is anxiety.  What up?  Is he sending bad news?  Severing a relationship for some unknown offense?  Health problems? Joining a cult or inviting us to participate in some new pyramid scheme?  Letters in the mail have become such an anomaly that joy is seldom the first thing that comes to mind.  And you know, writing takes time, more time than typing.  No undo, no backspace, no alt-look up, no spell check.  I have gone so far as to dig out my old red faded Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate. Don’t worry, I’m not wearing tweed and smoking a pipe. 

At first I almost gave up:  My mindset is in such a hurry that I kept thinking about how much time I was wasting writing.  I’m past that now.  Sort of like thinking that you need to hurry through your morning meditation so you can get on with ‘it’.  

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