When we pedal, we travel on busy roads and wear little in the way of protection. We are out there, among our neighbors, in our cities. Even so, it is easy to feel alone. How can this be? Our neighbors are right there with us, but they are entombed in motor vehicles. Windows are closed and sound deadening materials, temperature control, music and advanced communications devices separate drivers from the world as they motor effortlessly and sometimes thoughtlessly through the environment. Sometimes they are even drunk and/or high.

As I read this article, I felt terribly alone. Sick. Heart-broken. Confused. Sadly, I know some of my neighbors will have other reactions. Somewhere someone will try to make a joke. Maybe sometimes feeling alone is better. Occasionally dangerous, sure, but better. I don’t want to have a conversation with the driver who selected and operated a vehicle in a way that allowed her to drive home without stopping to check for damage after she thought she hit a deer. I don’t want to talk over the fence to the person who thinks I should stop pedaling because it is “so dangerous.” I am at this moment tired of trying to bridge the gap.

Picture of Natasha Pettigrew taken from Washington Post.

By the way, to some of my animal eating friends, stop with the vegan jokes. If you have to eat animals in front of me, don’t try to assuage the guilt caused by my presence with tired humor. I don’t want to be made to feel alone when I am with my friends. I already feel enough alone when I pedal, thank you.

p.s. The letters in assuage can be rearranged to spell sausage. This I notice as Scrabble season approaches. Last night we had Tofurky sausage with creamed kale (combined blanched kale and a thin bechamel made with oil, flour, nut milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg) and cous cous. It went together in minutes and was a delight.


4 responses to “Isolation

  1. I know. I read that article too, and…just ick. Ugh and ick.

  2. I read about deaths everyday, but this one really hit me. I can’t begin to imagine the number of people who loved her. Want to love her more? Lacey read on her campaign site that she lived with a three legged dog. Three leggers always melt my heart and inspire me. Learning from her pal everyday, Natasha must have had the world’s softest and strongest heart.

  3. Related to veganism, I am wondering what your stance is on synthetic fabrics. Their manufacture undoubtedly kills more animals (through environmental contamination) than does killing individual animals for their hides, and it has surprised me that most vegans I know will not wear leather but will wear these synthetic fabrics. Genuinely curious what your thoughts on this are.

  4. My aim is to try to reduce killing and suffering, but my life and consumption does cause death. Living is a selfish affair. I try to not be a total bastard, but I often fail.

    Synthetics production is generally dirty and causes deaths. Even so, I sometimes buy and wear synthetics. I wear more cotton than anything. Cotton production can be dirty and cause deaths as well, but it seems to me to be a good choice, especially when I find and spring for organics. Leather obviously involves the taking of the skin bearers life, but don’t forget that tanning skin itself can be dirty and cause many deaths beyond the animal that provided the skin. There may be ways to cleanly process animal skins, but I haven’t researched it. Hard for me to get over the fact that the product itself directly involves the taking of a life. Even so, I have bought used leather.

    On otherwise dark days I have considered ending my life to end killing on my behalf (not often or seriously, but it has occurred to me more than once), but for now I am sticking around to care for people and animals to the best of my ability.

    A small part of my decision to not have children is tied up in my idea that people are too often dirty and mean, and that the planet would be a lovelier place without us. If I end up not reproducing, my contribution to the shit storm will end with me. Makes me sad sometimes. Makes Lacey sad more often.

    Not a small part of why I love pedaling is that it helps me leave these questions behind for a moment. The sensation of motion and balance, the quiet, and the need to focus on road dangers together offer a reprieve from deep thinking and the sadness it can bring up.

    I said to Lacey yesterday that right now my heart is too closed and hers just might be too open. I won’t go into the details, but I hope she and I can together find a middle place where we can be happy more often than sad, and better more often than mean. I hope the same for you.

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