I'm dealing with a few situations lately, and it's got me to thinking.
If a man has lived a bit, he gets to a certain point in his life and he's seen just about everything significant there is to see - maybe not Mount Everest or the bottom of the ocean, but pretty much all there is in workaday life. Like Ted Williams, who could see not only a pitch's trajectory but the location of the seams on the ball and where his bat made contact, you can call life's pitches ahead of time. In fact, after a while, you are so deep inside a lot of other people's OODA Loop, that you know what pitch is going to be thrown next, and maybe the next couple pitches after that. This is not happy knowledge to have.
I'm starting to understand why my dad became taciturn around my age. He knew when the next bullshit story, knife in the back, or outright failure was coming, and just didn't want to hear it any more. He'd sit there and watch somebody roll out a pack of lies, silent, with his head tilted a little and this quizzical look on his face. I think that look may have been spite, the feeling a great sprinter gets when he turns around at the end of a 100 and nobody is within 4 strides. There is no way to make the other runners faster, and there wasn't a lot my dad could have done with a few dishonest clients, some slippery colleagues, foolish kids about to do something dangerously stupid, or a wife with a temporarily blown gasket. Nothing to do other than just sit there and look at them. He couldn't be bothered to try to stop them by throwing his own bad self under their Stupid Bus because, knowing the immediate future, he realized a man cannot stop a rolling bus by climbing under it. (The Stupid Bus is like the Who's Magic Bus, but stupider). Nor can you dodge stupidity - when life's Stupid Shotgun is aimed at you, you are going to get sprayed with a load of #6 shot, and there isn't much you can do about it, except run before the bastard reloads.
I've become aware, as my father obviously was, that there is no way to stop major stupidity or minor malice until the act has been consummated, and at that point, why bother? Might as well let it play out. The sole consolation is that people riding the Arc of Stupidity generally cause their own spectacular crash eventually. It may take some time and they may inflict a lot of damage on others, but eventually they wind up unintentionally enforcing Nature's Laws against themselves; the inadvertence of their Epic Fail does not make it any less piquant.
I bring this up to vent and because maybe some of you have insights that might raise my morale a bit, or tips on dealing with the malevolently stupid. Maybe I'll toss you more interesting details later once the situations are resolved in the next few months - they are not bike- or blog-related. Just needed to get that off my chest and rationalize to myself why I am more frequently sitting there silent, head tipped, glaring at some moron.
Speaking of stupid - I see this guy on the Cap Crescent occasionally, rides decently enough, commutes at pretty high speed (your basic 20 MPH commuter, who can go no faster or slower than 20) but he never wears a helmet. Occasional helmet-skipping is one thing, but if you can't be bothered to get a helmet, you sort of give away the fact that the only purpose for your brain is as a life support system for your legs and your schwanze. Your brain is only worth what you put into your helmet. If your 'helmet' is "hey, cool Cinzano cycling cap" then your brain is only worth what the cap cost you. If it's "nice bargain-bin-Bell," then I bet your Walmart special, which regularly overheats and makes your hair smolder, is all your stir-fried, half-cooked brain is worth. If you have a decent helmet, well, then that's what you must think your brain is worth - a decent investment to protect it.
No helmet, of course, means you just don't give a crap. Which is cool, but but it's dumb, especially if you ride frequently, hard and in traffic. Like commuter guy.
Apropo of nothing, Volvos are still by far the most dangerous vehicles on the road. The only people who buy cars known primarily for crash-worthiness are those who intend or expect to crash them. Stay away from them, especially if they are parking and the driver is also talking on the cell phone. You've been warned.
Nearly got run over by a nice lady today who looked at me then pulled over into the lane where I was standing, waiting for the light to change. I had to hop left quickly to avoid becoming Road Pate. My "you can't drive for shit, lady" didn't get much of a reaction from her. She wasn't the only bad driver this afternoon either. Seemed to be an epidemic of that going around.
What with the additional stress I've been under lately my training has sucked. Those studies about how all stress and training is a central nervous system load, are definitely true. I'm not riding hard enough to really blow out my legs; the bad legs have to be stress-related.
That's all. Isn't that downer enough for one sitting?
Oh, you want some happy stuff? Okay. How 'bout this. Lance Armstrong is going to race again, it appears. In honor of that...
Don't call it a comeback...
One of my favorite old school hip hop songs, and if you listen to the lyrics, there's a lot in it will remind you of Lance. "Don't you never, ever pull my lever, cuz I explode... and my 9 is easy to load..." Ask Ulrich about that. I don't think Lance will be the same, may not even come out on top, but he's capable of making things interesting. Whether he rides clean or not, I can't say. What I can say, is you don't want to find yourself in his gunsights. Welcome back, Lance.