The title of this blog is, yes, a nod to the beautiful Mr. Ryan Gosling, but it is also a friendly reminder to connect with the people who love you unconditionally. I’m aware that not everyone (for numerous reasons) can pick up the phone for a friendly conversation with their mother. In any case, let the sentiment transfer to someone with the same all-encompassing investment in your wellbeing. Life is daunting when you go at it alone. By integrating yourself into the daily routines of others, we can lighten the load a bit.
Speaking of loads… (transitions are hard sometimes)
Today, I got to play with both a baby and a puppy. And then I almost got killed on my bike. I’ve been hit by a car. All of my friends have been hit by a car. We need to stop hitting people with cars. For something so seemingly simple, this is a commonplace, frustratingly relatable story. I’ll tell it anyway because there’s a twist.
As a disclaimer, this is coming from someone who has never driven a car in Chicago. In fact, I’ve never owned a car in a city. I rely entirely on public transportation, walking, and my trusty boyfriend bike. So no, I can’t understand your annoyances as a driver. I’m sure traffic is a bummer. I’m sure the potholes on the streets are irksome. I’m sure that a select few negative experiences with aggressive bikers have put a bad taste in your mouth. Anyway, here’s my story of the day. Maybe you can put those perspectives to the side for juuuuust a second. I don’t judge you for driving a car—you might have a long commute or something. But since you do and I don’t for now, I’m trying to make a sustainable choice, and drivers continue to make it dangerous and frightening.
I was biking to a dear friend’s house to catch up and play with her child. The rumbles of an impending thunderstorm darkened the streets, and everyone was operating on a slightly higher frequency. To be fair, I bike slightly slower these days. I had just gotten home from a doctor’s appointment, and I was approaching one of those intersections with the roadwork where there’s a huge square missing and a large drop-off. To protect my tires, I slowed. A car with its windows open approached quickly from behind, cutting me off as I tried to turn. I was spooked and almost fell off my bike. The driver proceeded to yell, “get off the road” while calling me boring, inaccurate obscenities. I’m not a stupid bitch. I happen to be very intelligent! Besides, how can you gauge that assessment solely on my cautious biking moment? Also, why would I get off the road when I’m clearly traveling the road?
Little did she know, my fancy shmancy acting degree kicks in during moments such as this. Years of voice and speech training brought out a tornado of sound that drew people out of the surrounding shops and into the streets to investigate. I continued biking in the same direction as this woman. I may have thrown in a stressed cuss here and there as seasoning, but overall, here were some of the things I blasted in her direction:
“A few years ago, I almost lost my life in an accident because someone just like you didn’t value my presence on the road. I have a right to be here without fearing for my life.”
“Have you ever been hit by a car? I have. I hope you feel much better now. I hope you saved a few seconds and successfully misplaced some rage.”
“Have a great night with your family. Get home to them safely in your comfy car.”
My mom always told me when problems arose to “kill them with kindness.” I think my tone suggested more to “smite or annihilate with thinly veiled kindness” or even to find the nearest pothole (it’s not hard—they’re everywhere) and quickly perish. My voice was like an epic fantasy ogre who just ate a troll and is vibrating with a boost of energy from digesting it. Like, LOUD.
I continued to bike carefully in that direction, passing the opened windows once more for her to berate me. I took a deep breath and kept pedaling. At this point, I realized that losing my shit ogre-style might not be helping, but rather reinforcing her perception that I was a nuisance to begin with. Less than a minute later, she sped up beside me, swerved within millimeters of my metal toothpick bike, not realizing that the falling rain would make her tires squeal and slide a bit out of control. I screamed in terror and heard her laugh as she whizzed away. Then, I had a small panic attack and openly cried for the next few blocks.
I’d like to point out that the drivers who exhibit this kind of behavior do not fit in a stereotype or a box. This wasn’t an irate man in a Cubs hat. Both of my not-just-perceived-actually-near-death-experiences on a bike have included women drivers. They could easily work for a charity. Who knows? What I do know is that drivers forget that we are people with pains and fears and crazy days. When you honk, it’s scary. When you speed up to pass after an obstacle we couldn’t control, it’s scary. You’re scaring the pants off of bikers (and pedestrians) all the time. Actually, you’re not scaring our pants off. My pants are firmly on with no promise of coming off for you anytimeeeee soon. So, take that!
Ok yeah, now go call your mom. Tell her you’re safe. Tell her you love her. And then take a nap because naps are the medicine to cure all woes.
What’s an Apple?
source of life
giver of forbidden knowledge
tempting us into the consumption of new technologies
What’s the Amazon?
equipped with resources to provide with whatever you need to survive
the names are an ingenious cover-up
fake left, pass right
evoke primordial connections to the land
deplete delete then concrete
What’s a sabbath?
good question in 2017
when chronic stress reigns supreme
one day for a week’s work
but does that grow exponentially for months of overtime?
how do you rest when an infantile president is igniting your civic involvement?
in a culture of vitriol
where bikers scream at drivers
and donkeys tear into elephants
it’s harder to surrender
to allow love to transform
talents into gifts
expectations into delights
I’m getting (quite literally) sick and tired
from saying we should “do it for the next generation”
or “think of your children”
…not everyone wants or needs to procreate
surrender to love because it is what must be done
the next, best thing.