Lately I’ve been slipping a bit with my exercise and health practices, and even writing this blog. It reminded me of When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, a book by American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I can’t recommend it because I’ve never read it; it’s sitting in a box in storage. At one point I may have even owned two copies. But the title speaks to me now after a mostly pretty shitty day and last few weeks. Even within the Tibetan Shambhala community, things fall apart. As with many religious, business, and entertainment leaders with unchecked power, last year their figurehead was accused of and apologized for sexual misconduct. It went on a while, but he’s still there.
However, reports suggest that Chodron as a senior leader and teacher may have enabled or ignored it. She even told a woman reporting abuse years ago that she didn’t believe her. So she’s not perfect, and she has resigned in protest but maybe also as an act of contrition although she wasn’t the abusive male with all the power. Point is, life doesn’t always or even often go the way we want it to. Defecation passes. We’re all humans here, right? Certainly there are more important things than fitness goals, but like the saying goes, “At least you have your health.” Well, what if you don’t, despite your best efforts? I guess you do your best.
I’ve noted that writer’s block is not really real. If you stick to the dictum and write what you know, you can come up with something. I always do. But then again, I’m not a journalist on assignment; it’s my blog, and I can lie if I want to. But sometimes, that blinking cursor taunts me (a second time), and I just don’t have much pithy to say. So some days are trickier that others. And if writer’s block is real for you, what are some ways out of the trap?
March 3, 1991. The first Gulf War had just ended. I was out of college a few years and had been traveling and moving around a bit. I grew weary of that, so I did the logical thing and went home. After a year slinging Southern cooking and helping out dear ma a bit, I bought a lightly used car. I went to one last steak night with my dad and brother, and moved in with a friend in Austin, Texas. Today her eldest turned 22, so I stopped by for a COVID-safe outdoor birthday. People trickled by, and I told one about the mom,“She’s my oldest friend in Austin. Looks pretty good for 85, don’t she?” (She’s much less.) With that history and my anniversary percolating in my brain the last two weeks, I figured it’s time for a little trip down memory lane.
Austin awoke to a soggy, gray blanket of fog that only horror writers and car insurance agents love. I awoke with fog as well, but in my brain. Just as well that I have no job to be up for at the butt crack of dawn. There was also a ray of light: a note on my blog from a Seattle author I mentioned the other day, Paulette Perhach. An authot writing to A Dude is big deal, y’all! Later in the day, I got connected with another Seattle writer, Carol Tice, a ghostwriter who does coaching. Eventually, I got my cobweb-addled brain and body out for my walk and a bike ride… into the rain and mist I went.
Downtown on an errand, I ducked into a Starbucks (a tiny coffee company based in Seattle you may have heard about) for a tinkle and to use their free wi-fi. I used to live in Seattle. After a few years of suffering through miserable winter days like today, escaping often to the YMCA for what I dubbed a “shake n’ bake” — sauna, steam room, hot tub — I was chased out of town by the constant state of darkness and moisture. The Starbucks gestapo was also to blame since they rightly claimed I didn’t buy any coffee. All that’s to say that rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Except you can’t keep a good dude down for long.
Back in May, I wrote a post about the downsides of a car-free lifestyle. I only touched on the social aspect, and lately I’ve been thinking about it (especially now that I’m back to longer solo bike rides.) So, it depends who you ask. My roommate is sort of car-free, in that he commutes to work, but he shares a car with his wife. For him, it’s not an impediment. Some people in big cities have never known otherwise, so they have nothing to compare it to. So these things are hard to measure objectively. Subjectively, let’s explore.
After the last month and more of too much work and especially of driving a car, I finally managed a day off. Fortunately, on Sunday nights there’s a group bike ride called Bike Curious, about which I’ve previously written. The ride itself is usually pretty mellow, but in this case we had a substitute leader who picked some roads that were a little dicey, hilly and sandy. Still, overall the streets flat and familiar and the pace was slow. It was a good way to ease back into biking. Today I’m a little sore and tired, but the hardest part was actually just getting myself out the door. If you’ve ever been in this situation you will relate to this post.
If you ride your bicycle regularly, you may have noticed that lots of little stuff happens that probably doesn’t happen for people dependent on cars to get around. Sometimes it’s big stuff, like you: go on a long ride, compete in a race, get a new bike, set a personal best on that Strava segment. The little stuff that goes on, while not as headline-worthy, is just as interesting, to me at least. There is often more than meets the eye if one is willing to look deeper. Let’s take a look at four things that happened to A Dude and find out.
Today was to be a book-writing day so only photos for the blog, and maybe a bike ride map and stats from Strava and short map video from Relive. As you might deduce, that didn’t happen. I got my walk and yoga in, but not the writing. Then my doctor’s appointment took three hours instead of one, most of it waiting. I was not a very patient patient. Continue reading →