Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Philosophical Entry...

So this entry will probably not be as useful and life changing to many readers, as say the previous spoke/coffee maker post, but I have a lot on my mind.

Last night I was out until about 1:30am on a job. As I was packing up, a bartender asked me if I didn't worry about ever getting robbed. I mumbled something about using a chain or my U-lock and peddaled off. It wasn't the worst part of town, but it wasn't the best either, but let's just say I rode really fast by the drunken man screaming and yelling at his own invisible demons.

Then today, on my way to pick up some photography supplies, I get honked at a few times and yelled at a few drivers and as I was peddaling faster than I wanted to so I could stay in front of the bus, I had a "what the hell am I doing moment."

When I talk to my parents about what I do, I might as well tell them that I've run away with the circus.

You see, taking pictures doesn't have the same gravitas as open heart surgery or the sense of social duty as sitting in a cubicle punching buttons. It also doesn't help that I don't drive a car. That's just insult to injury.

But beyond the looming shadow of parental doubt, there is everybody else. When I tell people what I do, there are two responses; a knowing and understanding smile and something like abject horror that is trying not to look like abject horror. It's actually pretty funny, mentally I bet against myself to see which reaction I get.

I suppose it's completely understandable. Before I was riding I would look at bicyclists as more or less insane with some sort of vehicular death wish.

So what do I do? I'm on the cusp of turning 30, the bittersweet cul de sac of non-conformity, where one is suppose to trade in their Adidas for loafers and Volcom for Kenneth Cole. Do I keep riding?

It's a bit of a low for me.

I try to remember one magical summer when I had just graduated from UCLA and the world seemed infinite and ripe. I was on the Eurorail and the Spanish countryside was dancing by at an amazing speed, turning into a dream even before I could hold it in my mind as reality. I was tired but fought to stay awake so I wouldn't miss a single second.

I remember thinking that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be an agent of my life, to be free in what I do and think, to always feel that adventure and discovery was only a stop away.

It's easy to be grandiose and poetic when you're on the strange sands of another country. Riding the same streets and fighting for inches every day can wear you down like a broken cog, making you forget your inner truths.


Gina said...

2 thoughts:

1-People are jerks on the road. They have no idea that their cars are deadly weapons. I feel unsafe most of the time and I have a good chunk of metal surrounding me.

2-I work in cancer research and though most people find that line of work worthwhile, they have no idea that I have to spend much of my time on things that do not help cure cancer. After sharing the your slideshow to friends and family, I have now lost track of how many people teared up while watching it. I wish my line of work could have that sort of affect on people. Last I checked, there was no cure for cancer.

okay, I lied, 3 thoughts
3-I did not know you went to UCLA too...

melissa said...

I just ran a random google search and here i am.. I'm on the hunt for eco friendly photo supplies... like matboards made from recycled materials and such, i am a student so i'm still required to used certain materials and processes like overmatting, but it seems like such a waste to me... if you know of anything do let me know! thanks so much, and keep fighting the good fight.