I thought about my place in the world and in the universe during some quiet time this morning. My place is very small, as is yours. Humility is the word that comes to mind. It is good to remember that.
Getting in a rut is easy, at least for me, not to mention hazardous. Not long ago I caught my rear wheel in a jagged hole in the asphalt at the intersection of St. Vrain Road and Highway 36 north of Boulder. A few pedal strokes later I was replacing a tube with not one but two cuts in it. At least I wasn’t flying downhill out of control when the tire went flat.
I found my way out of another kind of rut over the past few days simply by picking a different route for a late afternoon bike ride home from work. I alternate between bus and bike commuting on a sort of haphazard schedule and had gotten in the bad habit of pedaling the shortest, quickest way home. That route also has the most traffic, so the mind is often occupied with staying alert for drivers (and other cyclists) doing really stupid things.
The more scenic route that I’ve taken the past couple of rides home is so much nicer and relaxing that I’ve had time to think. Not only did I get out of the same-old-route rut, but as I got closer and closer to home I realized how my WIP-S (work-in-progress, slowly) will end. I came home and wrote the last few paragraphs.
Now that I know where I’m going, I can work on filling the gap between a halfway written novel and the very end.
Pedal on, my friends. Pedal on.
This morning was perfect for a bicycle ride from Longmont to Lyons, a distance of about 10 miles if you start at the Smith place. It’s always great fun to be on the road with nearly as many cyclists as motor vehicle operators. Mrs. Smith and I aren’t the slowest people on bicycles, but we’re not so fast that we miss the scenery, the road-killed snakes, and all the yellow skins apparently shed along the way by bananas that no longer need them.
We’re also noticing more and more of those e-bike things, which I thought were referred to as such because they have electric motors. Silly me.
I read in the Denver Post after our human-powered morning ride that the U.S. government has decreed that e-bikes are actually “non-motorized.”
And up is actually down, unless I have that backwards.
My favorite and funniest part of the article, even though this is no laughing matter:
“The Interior statement said riders must use the motor only to boost their pedaling on the trails, and not zip along on motor power alone.”
The absurdity is obvious: The Department of the Interior has determined that the riders in question don’t have motors. What’s more, we all know that cyclists, motor vehicle operators, and even riders of non-motorized contraptions that do have motors routinely fail to do many of the things they must do.
I wouldn’t deny anyone the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, as much as or even much more than I do. The arguments in favor of using e-bikes to get around are numerous, and many of those reasons are actually good.
As a writer and editor who cares about language, however, I do take exception to calling things and people something they are not.
By the way, I thought I’d share a picture of my cat, since people love cat pictures so much.
Pedal on, my friends.
Last week I posted my own reaction to Jon Caldara’s column in that Sunday’s Denver Post about the use of words. Today Tony Frank, chancellor of the Colorado State University system, chimed in with his take.
It included this:
Do I think several of the suggestions in the list are just plain silly? Sure. Do I wish there had never been any debate about the use of the word “America”? Of course — it makes me personally sick because I and everyone I know at our university is proud of our country. (Still, as an American, I’m not going to tell anyone what they can and can’t debate, even if it personally offends me — especially on a college campus where free and open debate is our job.)Tony Frank, Denver Post, August 4, 2019
Caldara, predictably, missed the mark completely. Not having paid much attention to Tony Frank, I don’t know but will speculate that his response was entirely predictable, too. I was surprised to read that he is personally sickened by discussion of how the word “America” is used.
So much for the part about “free and open debate” being part of his job on a college campus. Let’s hope Frank feels better soon and begins to think more clearly.
How ironic that the president of a Denver “think tank” would rather the citizenry not think about the words they use.
In a column in today’s Denver Post, Jon Caldara derides efforts to promote the use of inclusive language by Colorado State University and others with an ignorant, offensive rant that includes this:
For those offended by our president’s vile use of words, you might wish to consider Trump was the inevitable reaction to the truly offensive indoctrination from the likes of CSU, public broadcasting and the educational establishment.Caldara, Denver Post, July 28, 2019
So forget the bogus claim that Trumpsters became Trumpsters because of economic anxiety rather than their misogynistic hate for Hillary Clinton, or their racism, or their fear of others.
Caldara’s explanation pins it on their offense at the idea that we would do well to use our words carefully. He thinks we’re all better off remaining ignorant. Hogwash.
My first reaction when I saw the headline on this piece was to laugh.
Some throwback male chauvinist pig, I thought, yearning for the good old days when women knew their place, barefoot-pregnant-in-kitchen, etc.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the writer is actually a female chauvinist, someone who believes in her own inferiority. The nerve of her, evolving so far as to think she can write like a man.
Turns out there’s nothing to laugh about here.
My legs shook as I stood in front of the others in my 6th grade class to deliver a mandatory speech, every bit as hard as they shook the first time I stepped onto the high diving board at a swimming pool in West Des Moines.
The sheer terror of being in front of an audience somehow evolved – slowly, so slowly – into nervous excitement at the prospect of talking about something I love to do. The debilitating fear of heights is now a healthy respect for the law of gravity that keeps me a safe distance from sheer mountain cliffs and other high places.
Lately I’ve found myself actually going out of my way to get in front of people as an author, to do some readings and even sell and sign a few books. Three more events scheduled! Details sometime soon.
I’m surprised at how much fun it can be.
How about you? Are you comfortable in front of an audience or not so much?