Some stuff about my bike commutes or whatever

When I was in college, I took a course on the philosophy and writings of the 20th century Jesuit mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. It was weird. And complicated. And far too dense and obscure for an 18 year old with little inclination toward the immaterial world. Luckily, however, Teilhard had enough inclination to the material world that some of what we covered somehow and sometimes remains with me, in spite of the years that have passed and the overall shallowness of my initial comprehension. Anyway, this is all a long run up to say that yesterday, I took the Metro to and from work (with Bikeshare rides serving as parentheses from the office to the Metro station and from the Metro station back home) and this Metro ride made me think of World War I. But why? Subway tunnels as trenches? Noxious touristic body odor as mustard gas? Surly WMATA employees as spiky helmeted Huns? Dulce decorum est pro patria to report suspicious and unattended bags? No, it was none of these things. It was about the mass movement of people, united in cause (the cause of going somewhere) and a sense of belonging to an immeasurably larger group and a feeling of being united some way with and in this humanity. And this is kind of Teilhard thought about World War I (based on my vague and cursory remembrance of The Heart of Matter (I think?). Which is sort of whacked out, since the masses of humanity moving as one were united in the cause of killing of other masses of humanity. But hey, whatever. It made sense to him and it more or less makes sense if you're thinking about noogenesis and the noosphere, which, as a rule, you probably shouldn't think about because it's sort of crazy. So, what does this have to do with anything? Not much. But there's a kind of solitariness and loneliness in bike commuting (and in driving, I think) that's isolating and there's a kind of togetherness and common purpose in mass transit commuting that's exciting and dynamic and many times I prefer solidarity to solitariness. It feels like I'm a real commuter and like I'm participating in city life rather than gliding past it unto myself. Like I belong to something bigger. But you know, it costs like $3 to ride the Metro each way, so I'll probably keep biking.

I rode to work this morning. We're on the cusp of spring. It's like we're at the edge of a black hole. May the super-gravity of spring suck us inward soon.

My bike chain is rusty. I've become one of those people. Don't make me turn in my WABA membership. I promise to address it. Eventually. (I'm the worst)

Bicycle Space- Bicycle Snob. Should be fun.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't there some saying about how you're never as alone as you are on a crowded train at rush hour?

    I rode the Metro the other day, and we stopped between stations for maybe 2 minutes. The car was ABSOLUTELY SILENT. It was to the point where I nearly remarked loudly about how quiet it was, and I'm really not the sort of person who does things like that.

    Contrast that with my stopping to chat briefly with a fellow bike commuter the other day about the odd battery pack he had strapped to his rear hub, and then seeing him again the following week (he said hello and I think something else, and I replied).