Over the weekend, three cyclists died, two professional in Europe, and one college cyclist in Washington state. Daan Myngheer died of a heart attack while racing the Criterium International. Antoine Demoitie died at Gent-Wevelgem after being hit by a motor bike, that was unable to stop after Demoitie crashed. The collegiate cyclist, Randall Fox, died after hitting a guard rail on a descent. He was racing for Oregon State University. It appears that no one is to blame in any of these incidents. As most of you know, I was recently knocked off of my bike by a driver who admitted that he did not see me, and felt badly for it. Those are the forks above from the bike I was riding. The driver's insurance gracefully replaced the bike, and a wheel that was also destroyed. In most ways I am back in one piece, at least physically. However,...
It still bothers me that this man did not see me, and the result. Being hit by a car hurts. The pavement hurts. My shin, and ankle, while mending, still hurt some. Even worse is the psychological damage that is not so quick to heal. Since that day, I have had two serious incidents with drivers. One guy rolled through a stop sign in front of me. He was very apologetic, but also clearly did not see me. Another guy took an intentional run at me after I objected to his doing a U-turn in the intersection I was about to enter. He turned around, and drove right at me at speed, only pulling off at the last second. This is the person, and those like him that I am concerned about.
And there are many.
I am getting old, have lived a lot of years, and seen so much change. I grew up in a town of about thirty thousand people in the Midwest. We didn't usually lock our doors, even at night. I knew my neighbors, and what to expect from them. This is no longer the case.
So much of humanity, especially Americans, in recent years has become angry, easily threatened, quick to retaliate, and here is the worst part: "just don't give a crap about others." Let history disprove my words.
I don't blame anyone for being the way that they are, even this way. We have been programmed, mainly by media, to be this way, a bomb waiting to go off. And ego has always been, at best, a necessary evil. But, My God, where did we misplace our compassion, our care for others.
As I was telling someone recently, all of us, when something goes terribly wrong in our lives, temporarily setting aside the anger that it provokes, are plagued by a very similar thought. That thought is: "It's because I'm not good enough," or some such variation, such as "I'm an idiot," or "I'm so stupid," or worse yet a very loud "You're so fucking stupid, you're never going to amount to anything." This is a certain equality, like death. Yes, in truth we are all very much the same.
And yet, some of us respond to adversity, or continuos adversity, by hardening not only our hearts, but our very being. Our society encourages crude behavior, anger and fun making at the expense of others. Is this what we want to be known for, what we want printed on our grave stones? And surely it will be. We are all destined to suffer until our darkness is removed.
If we are all the same, at some deep core level, let us begin to see that each person or animal that we encounter is just that. Let us see that person on the bike, or in the car as just that, you, me, one.
Please rediscover that part that gives a crap.