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.