Saturday, February 21, 2009

Frustrations and Injustices: A Hard Word Lingered

redcliffs said...

I always find your posts interesting. That said, the title of your blog promises advice, yet most of what you write is just whining about the frustrations and injustices of your chosen life. What gives?

Red, I am not a whiner. Accusing someone of whining is a snide tactic we use these days to shut someone up for various reasons. It's a barely veiled insult, even when preceded by apparent praise. I resent it. If you did not mean it that way, you should know how it came across. If you did, you know what you can kiss and how often.

Every life has frustrations and injustices. I have tried to live a consciously good life in my transportation and recreation choices. What seemed like clear benefits to me have been completely ignored by vast numbers of Americans, leading to more congested roadways, gigantic cars, aggressive driving habits, obesity and a whopping sense of entitlement. A massive consumer lifestyle has led to all the environmental, social and economic problems we face now.

Frustrated? You bet your ass. Frustrated by injustice? Who wouldn't be? Aren't you?

A person should be able to be a cyclist in addition to other aspects of life. Every rider shouldn't have to be a committed advocate and road warrior against the forces of motorization. Yet the frustrating unwillingness of this country to accept cycling completely into the transportation mix has led to what are basically battle lines.

That does make me editorialize quite a bit. Now go make sure your tires are fully inflated and lube your chain just the right amount, not too little, not too much. Always ride with traffic and use LOTS OF LIGHTS at night.


The Donut Guy said...

Good answer. If someone doesn't like your blog....tell them to stop reading it.

Anonymous said...

I confess, I'm surprised -- I thought we'd covered this and put it behind us in an exchange of comments over a month ago. I confess I'm both a bit dismayed and a bit touched that I would stick with you for so long.

That said, if you felt like I was snidely attacking you, I apologize -- that was not my intent and perhaps, in light of that, whining was not the best choice of verbs.

Let me begin by saying that I agree entirely with what you've said in this post - except, perhaps, that accusing someone of whining is an effort to get them to shut up. I have no interest in seeing you shut up, and in fact would see this small corner of the internet lessened by your absence. That would be true no matter what I thought of the whining/not whining question. Take care with who you accuse of wishing to limiting speech -- it's a serious, serious accusation.

Returning to the content of your supposed whining: as I said, I agree entirely with what you've said here. I too am routinely frustrated by the choices others make, as I too feel that I make great efforts to live intentionally and in a way that minimizes my impact on our shared world.

What I was referring to more was what seemed to me to be your irritation with your customers, who made what you seemed to feel were foolish and unsound choices.

Since first posting my comment, I have thought more about those posts and realized that you also take aim at the major bike corporations that market such bullshit to the uneducated customer. Although I prefer my shifters joined with my brake levers, rather than on the down tube or bar ends, I agree entirely with your objection to this product of our must-have-the-newest consumerism.

All this having been said, one last thread I noticed in some more recent posts (and I have not been reading your blog for very long) is an understandable dismay at the difficulties of keeping a bike/ski shop afloat, not only in our current economy, but in our society in general. Although I can not empathize (not being a bike shop owner, or even a businessman myself), I certainly can sympathize and regret that this is so. Nevertheless, your customers have no moral or ethical obligation to support your business and so aren't to blame.

I'm sure that I could be fairly accused of whining about many of the things you have mentioned over time (whether or not you are whining); for sure, that is true of my views of those who don't "see the light" about biking and life choices as I feel I do.

My approach is two-fold: first, I figure it's the other guy's karma, not mine -- all I can control is the choices I make; two, when I am able, I try to offer positive solutions to those who ask. (I'm sure you do the same, by the way, and your blog, which necessarily "preaches to the choir," is a fair place to vent your frustrations.)

And by the way, speaking of insulting: "taking a leak" on me? Really? Is that the best response you've got for someone who offers a criticism of you, whether you feel it fair or not? I didn't insult you or slur you in any way, nor did I offer any sort of degrading view of you or your writing. Seems a bit beneath your elevated view of yourself and the world.

cafiend said...

Red -- Sorry about that. I'm going through the unsatisfactory resolution of nine years of a tough job and that word "whining" really started to get to me. I appreciate your present comment and apologize for the "leak." Your comment identity provides no real contact follow-up for you, which unfortunately strikes a nerve with the nine-year stress I mentioned. Anonymous people making harsh judgments of me bothers me more than usual at the moment. I will be better in about a month when that whole segment of my life winds down.

I apologize again.

shw said...

You don't need to apologize -- the last part was kind of poking fun (though rereading it, I see that it wasn't so funny, so sorry about that!) and like I said (or tried to say in my own long-winded way), the more I read the more I see a lot of different things running through your posts -- one of the reasons I genuinely find them interesting, even in the times that I may not agree entirely. And although I don't own a bike shop, I have some friends who do and I know it's rough going. It's true that your customers don't *have* an obligation to support you, but that doesn't mean they can't choose to see an obligation -- I know I try to support independent bike and skit shops whenever I can. Here's hoping that 2009 is happier and more prosperous than 2008.

Oh, and if there's a way to do it without posting it directly in the comments, I'd be happy to provide my email. I'm not trying to be anonymous, I just don't have a blogger ID.

shw said...

Actually, I take it back! I just realized I can sign in through Google. Now I know...

Ham said...

And about "lots of lights", can I add "at lots of levels"?

On my commute, I occasionally come across a guy who has fixed a batten across his pannier rack and fixed four full width cat eyes that is seriously attention getting. Then, I noticed how easy it was to have them all blocked out. I'd advocate at least three at different levels. I use the pannier, on the post below the seat and on the rear of my helmet.

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