Driving season is grinding me down the way it always does. Sitting behind yet another ambling piece of flotsam as I'm trying to get the hell to work on a two-lane highway with lots of curves and steady traffic, I pine for the freedom of bike commuting. The vast physical, emotional, and psychological benefits outweigh the little bit of death fear that always accompanies cycling among motor vehicles.
Every year, I explore the motorist mindset. I absorb and radiate the impatience of the throttle-pusher forced to curtail speed because other legitimate users are on the road. The idiots staring at their phones, who somehow think that their weaving and speed changes aren't totally obvious make me wish I had a device with which to break in and blast them with a loud reminder to pay attention to piloting. One guy was so bad, I flashed my high beams at him repeatedly whenever I saw his face turn downward toward the touch screen. Flashflashflashflashflashflash! It seemed to work. He may have hated me, but at least the finally gave up on his phone until our paths diverged.
Critiquing other road users has become more dangerous this week, since New Hampshire did away with concealed weapon permits, releasing any gun owner to carry a concealed weapon with no restrictions or oversight. Hell, everything became more dangerous. Gun lovers like to say, "an armed society is a polite society," but fear creates reticence. The idea that anyone might be armed means that speaking up when you see an injustice now calls for a higher level of courage. No one need fear that they will be stopped and questioned because law enforcement caught sight of a corner of a gun butt.
I've considered packing heat in the past. I had a concealed carry permit under the old system, but I did not renew it when it expired. Now I don't have to worry about the permit, but the reasons to forgo armament remain. If you pull it out, not only do you have to be ready to use it, you will have increased the chances that you will have to. Anyone even catching sight of a weapon you are carrying may use it as justification to take preemptive action. And guns weigh a lot. I'll be better served by an extra bottle of water.
Speaking of water, I've been hydrating desperately since the kidney stone. Unable to afford the defective product known as health insurance, I have to treat myself for things as much as possible. When I consulted my primary care provider a couple of weeks after the stone passed, because I still had residual twinges and wanted to get at least a cursory examination, she did not recommend investing in the expensive and inconclusive imaging procedures that might detect remaining stones until I had pursued many weeks of assiduous hydration. I had told her that the twinges were gradually subsiding. They ramp right up when I let myself worry. Those with the most to fear in America's pay-to-play health care business have the most incentive to suppress those fears, so that stress does not trigger the illness that will ruin everything.
The good news is that beer turns out to be a health beverage. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
Lacking the resolve of my younger years, I find it hard to get my 10,000 steps a day. We're about two weeks away from Daylight Relocating Time. Depending on the weather, that may enhance exercise opportunities attractive enough to overcome my depression. I have to hope that the hits have outweighed the misses in this hit-and-miss winter, when I begin to lay down a more regular rhythm of effort and recovery on the bike.