Skip to main content

Driving and Riding

I spent yesterday not going out.

This was deliberate, because I spent Wednesday with way too many people trying to kill me.

Now, normally, I like to keep the number of people trying to kill me as close to zero as possible, excluding my ex-wives, but sometimes you have to leave the house and run errands or whatever, and when I do that I do it on my motorcycle. I have a Suzuki Boulevard C50T, which I bought brand new a couple of years ago and really love riding. It's comfy enough for daily riding, it's big enough I'm not worried about taking it up hills or on the highway, it's nimble enough that I'm comfortable in traffic, and it's small enough that I get pretty good gas mileage (on the order of a VW TDI, and it's easier to park).

Riding a motorcycle is great, even in the rain; if you're geared properly, the rain isn't even that big a deal: just take a little more care, give yourself a little more space, and be aware of your temperature, and you're fine. I committed to riding my bike in the rain when I bought it because I wanted to get my money's worth from it. If I didn't ride in the rain, I'd probably get to ride it 70 or 80 days a year; if I am willing to ride in the rain I can ride for 300+ days a year (this past February on the anniversary of my bringing it home I ran the numbers and I rode 311 days last year).

Riding a motorcycle is pretty relaxing, too; it requires concentration and attention, and so there's a focusing effect that even a short ride can have that's salubrious to the soul and restorative to the mind. By connecting yourself with the bike and riding with your whole body, you disallow the rest of the world permission from taking over your thought processes, and you get to think about what you want to think about, whatever that may be. Hopefully, it's mostly about riding the motorcycle. But sometimes, what you're thinking about is all the people who are trying to kill you.

Because a bike isn't a car, there are a lot of drivers out there who just mentally edit them out of their mindscape. And because driving a car has become something that most people do while doing something else, it gets dangerous. And I don't think most drivers recognize how dangerous. Even in slow traffic on surface streets during busy times, the average driver is still whipping around a four thousand pound box of liquid explosives and flame at 30+ feet per second. If a car hits me going 25 miles an hour, it's basically like I fell off a second-story balcony onto the car: if I'm lucky, I'll break something unimportant.

Wednesday, it was raining, and that makes me more cautious. So I was able to avoid the three people who tried to change lanes into me. I was able to spot and avoid the SUV which nearly ran me over. I was able to get out of the way of the hot rod on the highway who couldn't stop in time. But really, the average ride for me is a crapshoot when it comes to other vehicles on the road.

I imagine it's much worse for bicyclists, since they don't even have the protection of an engine, but the sheer entitlement of some drivers makes me wonder how there aren't more fatalities every day from traffic accidents.

I probably should try to make this about something, probably something in tech, but that would be a pretty big stretch, but let's try this: if you're designing software or software processes, you need to think about the bike riders: the careful, dangerously exposed, invested users. Try and make sure you're not accidentally trying to kill them. Maybe even add special lanes where the normal users (car drivers) can't go, so they can do what they're trying to do safely and comfortably.

Nothing like a bad metaphor to end a blog post about boring personal shit!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Occasional Media Consumption: Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

There is -- I won't say no trick, but perhaps -- very little trick to introducing the reader to a character and then making us like that character. An author can make it a bit harder for themselves by making the character somewhat disagreeable, at least at the start, but eventually we get to the bits where the character does something good and then we like them. An author can do this in reverse, too: show the reader a character, and them make us not like that character. Arguably, it's slightly easier, because we just see the character being an asshole, and then we don't like them. But there is a positive magic in the trick of taking a character, and making us not like them, and then changing our minds. It's a hell of a trick, too. We're introduced to a character, and then the do something disagreeable or assholish, and then we don't like the character. And then, little by little, the author peels back the layers, and suddenly we understand. The character was li…

Occasional Media Consumption: Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire

The most amazing thing to me, in a book filled with amazing things, is that McGuire never addresses the title choice of the book, and yet it was perfectly, brilliantly obvious from about a third of the way in. No, I won't spoil it; I'm not an asshole. But it is amazing, and exactly appropriate for the story being told. There are a LOT of things being juggled in this book. Pairs of characters. Solo characters. Histories. Magic. The modern world. Alchemy. The hidden corners everywhere in the world, and some of the people who live there. And the places that exist in the social unconscious, that are there but not there any longer.

It's hard to talk about this book without spoiling it, because many of the choices the author makes are so outside the norm of the genre that to give them away is to take away from the ingeniousness of the move itself. But in the same way, I've also read several books that leverage exactly the same tropes and choices in similar ways, to great and…

"My pain was selfish. Because it was never only mine."

Y'all, I am so, so tired.

I mean that in a couple of ways, of course. It's been hot in the Pacific Northwest over the last week or so, and it's continuing to be hot for the next couple of weeks. Not that this is particularly surprising, because the world is literally on fire (THE ARCTIC IS BURNING, Y'ALL, AND THAT'S NOT A METAPHOR), but one of the nicer things about the PNW before the current decade was that mostly, it was temperate; summers were a highs-in-the-mid-80s kind of summer. This new highs-in-the-mid-90s is making it hard for me to get to, and stay, asleep overnight. And because harsh summers are a new thing here, almost none of the houses (including ours) have a central A/C unit, so we're trying to make do with window units. Which generate white noise, which is nice, but are also loud, which is not so nice. So I'm tired.

But this last week especially has been more than the physical tired. I'm emotionally tired. Drained, existentially tired. T…