It was a perfect day. No clouds in the sky, no clouds in my heart. I was biking on a sidewalk and spotted a pedestrian with a dog from a distance. As I approached them, I gradually slowed down and stopped. I was planning to let them walk and then continue my ride, as I usually do with pedestrians on sidewalks, but the man with the dog waved at me signaling that I could go first. I nodded and rode my bike slowly past him. At that moment the man said, “You should not be biking on the sidewalk.” Stunned, I blurted, “But there are too many cars on the street,” and left the scene.
I continued to argue with the stranger in my head. If only he knew….I never bike fast on a sidewalk and when I see pedestrians I slow down. But, no. He had to have the moral superiority.
This sidewalk is located off a parking lot (the parking lot of the T Bar & Fusion Cafe for the locals) and seldom has the pleasure of anyone walking on it. I was on the sidewalk because the street design favors cars and puts bicyclists at a disadvantage. At this particular juncture, I had to cross at a zigzag to get on my desired path and I missed an opportunity to do so. I stayed on the sidewalk hoping to cross when a second break in the traffic happened.
“And how did he come to this deserted sidewalk?” The unanswered questions bombarded my head. “He probably was driving. DRIVING! The act of sitting behind a wheel in a metal can fuming carcinogenic concoction, heating the asphalt, assaulting my ear drums with the-right-to-do-whatever-I-want semblance of music, featuring American flags and “impeach the president” bumper stickers…”
Of course, he did not have a problem contributing to my allergies, the wonderful dusty air quality, and global warming (assuming that he is a driver…but how else would he come to a deserted sidewalk in a city that nobody but homeless, students, or immigrants walk?)
The man with the dog was long gone, but the sour taste and the unresolved debate in my head remained.
And so the story begins…It is on this hot July evening that I have decided to make my internal dialogue public. I am nervous and, at the same time, excited at the opportunity to share my thoughts with the rest of the world.
It is probably the anxiety from the approaching U.S. presidential election, the nasty discourse raging in the virtual world, the negative public reception of the Health Care Reform and the recent Supreme Court’s decision to make it permanent, the apathetic pedestrians on the nearly empty Chico streets, the global warming deniers, the feeling of isolation in an American mid-size city that made me want to start a blog.
Whatever the motives I hope this journey would lead me to new discoveries about myself, about society and humanity as a whole. I hope you would share your own thoughts on the subjects that would be discussed here. A new dialogue would then emerge to uplift our spirits.
Thank you for listening.