Street Party

Ever feel like there’s a party where everyone’s invited and only you show up?


That’s how I feel on my bicycle commute each morning especially when I get to the intersection of Aero Drive and Ruffin Road because this is the one spot where I get off my bike and hit the pedestrian cross button.


I like to slow things down, at times, on my commute. When others drive really fast (>35 MPH), I find myself subconsciously pedelling faster. I don’t like it because I like to ride with purpose, and my goal is to be the happiest and calmest cycling on the road.


Which brings me back to my thesis, I feel that others are excluding themselves from a good time. This doesn’t bother me as much as one think because it’s the same feeling you get when there’s piles of money all over the ground, and you pick it up while others just walk right by it. If you try to point out the free money, they’ll spurn you so, don’t worry, I don’t.


But I do look at the drivers while I stand on the corner and wait for the very long time that the traffic engineer decided that, I, as a pedestrian, should wait. I try to use this as an excercise in patience, but I also like to try to see the driver’s faces through their windows.


Yes! I am that guy. Now you get to know what I am thinking.


I imagine what each of them would be like if I could chat with them or if they were standing next to me on the sidewalk. The sidewalk would be crowded if everyone got out of their cars all at once, but they could narrow the road a bit and make room for more shops with apartments on top so that I could walk to work.


If everyone were out in the street it would be wonderful. If they were on foot, it would be like my last time in Austin where I could see actual real people without a whole lot of tinting obscuring their beautiful faces. If they were on bicycles like me, I wouldn’t have to hit a button and wait.


I’d look forward to seeing them just like I look forward to seeing the men who nod hello while I coast by their bus stop.


Instead, when I look at them, I wonder if they really see me or are they so caught up in the abstraction of driving where everything becomes an obstacle to be zoomed around–no time to say hello, every stop is an inconvenience and every interaction is potentially deadly.


I wish that more people come to the party that I attend. I’m not alone because there are others whom I chat with along the way.


Until then, I’ll recall the words from the Dammapada:


“We the unfrenzied live
happily midst the frenzied,
among the frenzied humans
from frenzy dwell we free.”


One Response to “Street Party”

  1. sam Says:

    That was absolutely beautiful

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