Like most everyone else, my head has been spinning these last few years. Noise coming from every direction, voices getting louder, and the sense of urgency increasing with new crisis. And there’s a new crisis nearly every hour, each one with a little more gravity than the previous. And the crowd breaks as cleanly as two saltine crackers — between us and them, and the crumbs from the middle fall to the ground.
My political compass fluctuates just a few percent on either side of center. In matters of culture and social orientations, I lean a little bit to the left. In matters of fiscal accountability and defense (defense being defined as protecting our interests within our own borders), I lean a little bit to the right. In matters of conducting myself with decency and decorum, I lean straight in.
If I’ve been disappointed with anything these last few years, aside from the behaviors of our elected officials and media pundits who illuminate them, it’s with the way my fellow citizens have conducted themselves in conversations with one another. We are a nation of middle-schoolers.
I’m proud of a lot of things these days…
I’m proud that since January, I’ve taken just 12 days off riding. I’m proud that in that time I’ve hit my weekly goal of 100-miles — usually by Wednesday. I’m proud that I haven’t once looked out the window and thought it was too rainy, too windy, too hot, or too cold to ride. Okay, once. I’m proud that in the three years since I began this blog, I’ve missed only one Sunday.
Away from my bike, I’m proud of other things…
I’m proud that I’ve gotten my mom out of the house for a short walk or drive, all but a handful of days in four years — even during the pandemic. Same goes for my dog. I’m proud that I show up for work every day, even after my many sleepless nights. I’m proud that I treat each client as if they’re my only one.
I’m proud that I never let my daughter’s calls go to voicemail, that I pay my bills on time, and that I spend time in contemplative prayer every morning of my life — even when I’m running late. I’m proud that I take time each day to listen to three songs I’ve never heard before.
I’m sure that all seems a lofty, but I’m proud of those things.
The thing I’m most proud of though, through these last few years, is that I haven’t lost my head — not once. I haven’t called anyone a name. I haven’t belittled anyone. I haven’t allowed my behaviors to get ugly in public or private. I’ve conducted myself with decency and decorum.
I’ve remembered the one value my father instilled in me growing up, that mattered to him more than any other. In the words of Kipling, paraphrased, dad reminded me regularly…
“Son, if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then you are a man…”
I’ve certainly had my opinions in these last few years, and I’ve definitely run the gambit of emotions. I’ve wanted to throw my television set through the window. I’ve wanted to push some people down tall flights of stairs. I’ve wanted to set fire to some buildings, turn over some cars, and I’ve even wanted to drive through a crowd or two — but I’ve kept my head, because that’s what adults do.
Again, if this too sounds lofty, I get it — I’m lofty. But whatever the opposite of lofty is, I don’t want to be that — ever. There are far too many people filling that role as it is.
This is what I think about when I ride…. Jhciacb
This week by the numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 5
Mph Avg: 16.0
Seat Time: 07 hours 49 minutes
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Blaze Foley. Enjoy…