Wednesday, August 26, 2009


poetry and art doesn't happen in the normal everyday stuff. there isn't a photograph in every glance at that dumpster. there isn't a sonnet in the unrhymed ballad of weather complaints. she ain't venus. and i sure as hell ain't shakespeare.

this is untrue.

tolerance and expectation - dangerous, inseparable, and key driving points behind innovation and excellence. my best friend and i were discussing what made us so intolerant of mediocrity, for ourselves and for others, and how we came to expect so much of ourselves and others despite entirely different familial and cultural bases. my buddy sent me an e-mail full of all the wrong uses of there/their/they're and its/it's and whatever else he could think of. i rode a 4130 chromoly singlespeed with fenders today. and i bet that somewhere in there, some art came about, and some poetry was had, and all of it was within the limits of the everyday.

i have high expectations of a lot of things. some of these include, but are not limited to: my body (performing the physical tasks i ask of it); my bicycle (rolling noiselessly and shifting flawlessly and generally out-riding me every single time); my camera (producing sharp shots with the light metered the way i want it)... the list goes on, endlessly to be sure, but i noticed in the writing of it that i've grown accustomed to keeping my expectations nuclear. particularly when talking/writing about expectations and tolerance, i don't want to get into anything over which i have little or no control. i shouldn't talk about my expectations of others. i should not mention how much it annoyed me to have a fellow customer's belongings all over the lid of the bulk bins i needed to access while he sampled the goods (expressly outlined as a major NO-NO in bulk stores) in another aisle, and how intolerant i found myself of this man and all of his 'presumptions'. i expect people to hold doors for people behind them, but i know this only because i'm consistently disappointed when i witness it NEVER happening. i expect people to check their blindspots before turning, changing lanes, or opening doors, but i ride as if i'm invisible, because i'm sure that my expectations for safe driving on the part of others will never happen. crunching metal poetry. and it happens every day.

in having high expectations and lowered tolerances for some things, i've grown accustomed to a pampered lifestyle in many ways. one such indulgence is my collection of bicycles, ironic in that i can only ride one machine at a time (why the collection?), and each one points out glaring deficiencies of the others. the road bike is SO much lighter and more comfortable than the singlespeed commuter. the commuter gets around the city SO much more effortlessly and cleanly (fenders) than the mountain bike. the mountain bike is SO much more plush on the bumps than the road bike. et cetera. today, however, i was forced to ride the singlespeed, to tow the double kid trailer along the bike path along the beach, and i liked it. i realized that all i had to do was some mental stretching, some letting go of preconceived notions about how 'road' bikes 'should' ride, about how 'bike rides' should go, about how 'i' should 'ride', and it all fell into place. i couldn't look at my speed because there's no computer. i couldn't figure out a perfect gear and cadence because there's only one damn speed. my full kit was reduced to helmet, shoes, and gloves, and the sound of the keys in my baggy shorts pocket reminded me that i was out for topics a little broader than 25c. so i looked at the trees. i noticed the wind, even the headwind, and thought about how nice it was to feel the breeze. i turned around and talked to the little wonders in the trailer. i drank water because those wonders are really, really heavy. i rode smoothly so that they would have a smooth ride. we took in the scenery. it was beautiful. 

and all along i was thinking to myself: i should do this every day.

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