Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Think About It

There are lots of things I try not to think much about.

Some are just too depressing to consider—the ongoing demise of my 401K, for instance. Others scare me too much to reflect on—take the inevitability of global climate change…please. And some, I’m sorry, I just can’t help it, simply turn out to be too disgusting for my little brain to get its mind around—the circumstances of conception leading to the Bush twins, as an example.

But perhaps the one thought that I most consistently push away is rejected for mainly pragmatic reasons; that is, were I to entertain it with any real conviction, I’d be unable to carry on with my life in the manner to which I’m accustomed. Ignoring this thought therefore, has what William James and his buddies used to call something like “cash value,” or to put it more succinctly, not thinking this thought works.

I’m referring, of course, to the obvious and undeniable truth of just how absolutely insane it can be to ride a single less-than-thirty- pound two-wheeler on city streets among dozens, hundreds, even, of more-than-several-ton four and more wheelers, in all types of weather, at all hours of the day, and in pretty much any conceivable light, or, for that matter, dark.

The craziness of this occurred to me this morning as I wove down Jackson street, avoiding a variety of obstacles: cars turning left in front of me, minivans shooting broadsides towards my body, metal plates with sharp edges appearing unexpectedly in the roadway.

Fortunately, I was able to tuck any real consideration of the danger up under my helmet and keep riding, but later in the day, as I made my way home on the quiet car-free Burke-Gilman trail, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am to have a good deal of my commute by on a route so safe I need not give it a second thought.


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