Tag Archives: cycling

gains and losses

The biggest things that happened today:

  1. My friends Jeff and Katina had their baby! Welcome to the world, Stella Jean Miner! I heard the stats of 6 pounds, 5 ounces and 18.5 inches, though I cannot confirm them. I can, however, confirm that she has the same birthday as my dad! Yay!
  2. My bike got stolen. I’m kind of surprised I have not encountered any bike-loss mishap previous to this during my 3+ years in San Francisco, so in a certain sense, I feel like I was due. But it still doesn’t take away that feeling you get in your gut when something important and valuable, that you have paid for and invested in, is physically taken from you.

I realize that these two things are not really on the same level — bringing a new life into the world is one of the most incredible and truly life-changing experiences there is, while losing a moderately valuable possession due to a poor choice about where to lock it up is not a huge deal — and I feel kind of strange drawing a parallel between my friends’ newborn child and my filched bicycle, but the reality is that these are the most important gains and losses in my world today. I guess I’m seeing it as proof that on some level, good always balances bad; loss in one area is canceled out by gain in another, and there’s always that ebb and flow that balances out our lives. It was funny, as I was riding over to the sandwich shop where my bike was stolen, I actually thought to myself, “I don’t want to be anywhere else other than where I am right now. I am happy, right now, where I am.” It’s been a while since I’ve thought that, and it’s going to take more than a petty thief to bring me down from it.

I’m super, super excited for Katina and Jeff. I know this is going to be a huge challenge for them, but I also know they can do it, that they will grow from and through it, and that their kid is going to be totally awesome. Stella will be the first baby I’ve known since birth, and Katina and Jeff are the first friends I’ll know before and after having a baby. Selfishly, I’m excited to watch them go through this process and be a part of it, supporting them and learning myself.

I’m mad about my bike, but not as mad as I thought I’d be. Realistically, I haven’t been riding as much lately, so the timing could have been worse. I don’t have the money to get a new bike right now, but I also don’t really need a new one right now. I’ve probably spent over $1,000 on the bike in the last few years, but I wasn’t incredibly emotionally attached to it. It just sucks to think that there are people out there who purposefully and consciously steal things that aren’t theirs. My bike was locked up (with a U-lock) to a post that was connected (via nails and 2-by-4s) to two other posts. That means whoever stole it had to rip off two 2-by-4s (presumably with his bare hands!) and then lift the U-lock (and attached bike) up about 7 or 8 feet in the air to slide it off of the pole it was connected to. This is not something a passerby does on a whim — this takes dedication and some expertise and some Hulk-like strength. It is also likely that my bike is being ridden around right now with the U-lock still attached!

Fortunately, I had the bike’s serial number in my files (it’s times like these when being super anal about keeping records comes in handy), so I filed a police report, registered it with the SBR, and posted a plea for help on Craigslist. Despite having heard some fantastic stories about happy reunions, I’m not optimistic about ever seeing it again. I do know, however, that I am looking forward to seeing lots of the minor Miner in the future — hopefully as soon as the family has had a chance to recover. So, you know, there really isn’t too much to complain about. Life is good.

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Independence

Here’s what is getting me through this breakup: (1) doing things that I really enjoy doing but that I have not done very much during the time that I have been in a relationship and (2) doing things with friends that I previously thought I could only enjoy doing with a boyfriend.

Let me clarify:

(1) I am not in any way resentful of the time I have spent in relationships. I do not feel in any way that I have been pushed or tricked into “giving up” things I enjoyed doing for the sake of the relationship(s). But it is just a fact that when you (okay, maybe this needs clarification, too, so for now I will say I instead of you) — when I am in a relationship, there are always certain things that I would somewhat like to do, but if the other person doesn’t like to do them, it isn’t a dealbreaker for me. I’m flexible, and at the end of the day, what’s most important to me is companionship, no matter the form.

But still, when I am alone and making decisions for myself and myself only, there are things I like to do. Recently, as I have been remembering what it is to be single and independent, I have found a lot of enjoyment in those things. Biking instead of taking the bus or train. Biking around just for fun. Really, just biking. Heading out to a show at 10pm instead of going home and going to bed. Doing random things with friends, even if it’s a gamble as to whether or not the activity is going to be hugely fun. Not caring what time it is or what the plan is or what else I need to do and just going with the flow. Um, hello, blogging.

Again, I’m not saying that relationships have forced me to not do things I like to do. However, I know that I have often made the choice to fret over how another person is feeling and allow that to influence my own decisions. When I am committed to someone, I put him first — even when he doesn’t ask me to and maybe would even prefer that I didn’t.

(2) There are many things that, in my head, I see myself ideally doing with a significant other. “Date” things: brunches, walks, neighborhood wanderings, other outings. But really, the majority of the things I have, in the past, enjoyed doing with a significant other, I can also enjoy doing with friends. A revelation that many people have already realized, I know, but it really hit me this weekend. I don’t have to mope around and feel sorry for myself that I don’t get to do X and Y things because I don’t have a boyfriend to do them with. Of course, there are certain exceptions here. . .but on the whole, this is true.

Tonight, I ate sausages and drank delicious Czech beer and had three hours of great conversation with a friend I don’t see often enough. We talked about how to find the balance between allowing yourself to be influenced and molded and changed by a relationship, while also retaining your independence and your identity. Both have value, and I think both are essential, but this is something I have yet to do successfully. I’m getting better — I have done this increasingly well in each of the relationships I’ve been in. But I’m not there yet.

I think part of the difficulty for me is that I am committed and loyal and serious. But I’m also very trusting of my intuition. In all honesty, I won’t spend more than an hour with you, one-on-one, if you aren’t someone I see myself having a real, meaningful friendship and connection with. And even moreso for relationships — as much as I want to dismiss the whole “you know when you know” thing, I do know. I haven’t gone on more than one date with anyone I couldn’t see myself with long term. It’s crazy, arguably — but I feel like if I’m not invested as much as I can be invested in something or someone, it isn’t worth being a part of in the first place. I don’t know how to not be committed, how to not give of myself fully. I was spoiled by a long relationship where I was loved that way in return, but in the past year and a half, I have (painfully) learned that this is not how everyone operates.

But really, I don’t think this is something I should change. I don’t advocate anyone living a guarded life. The fact that this is how I operate, emotionally, means that I may get hurt more often and more deeply than the average person; I have learned this. But I’d take that any day over half-assing any relationship or friendship.

So, I’m not sure where that leaves me. I keep trying, I guess, to find the healthy balance. I remember whose house I live in. And until then, I lean on my friends, and I trust myself to learn more about who I am and what I need.

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“Every day is a struggle, from the trough to the crest. Waves keep crashing forever, and only death brings us rest. Sometimes we drift on a current; sometimes we wrestle the rip. If I’m not waving but drowning, promise to not lose your grip. And we will fight against the tide, going under side by side. And if our lungs give out, we will breathe without, and heaven’s gates will open wide. . .” – Or, the Whale

Calm

This past Saturday, I had a meeting to attend at 8am. I set my alarm for 6:45 in order to be there on time, which is probably the earliest I’ve gotten up in months. I don’t get to work these days until around 9:30, 9 at the earliest.

I biked over to the coffee shop in the Dogpatch, and instead of taking the circuitous, more mellow route with less traffic and more bike lanes, I braved the Cesar Chavez way. It’s more direct, but depending on the time of day, it’s pretty terrifying because you’re sharing the lane with lots of highway-bound, fast-moving cars, with no space of your own.

I had forgotten how amazing the City is early on weekend mornings. Biking on this road normally makes me feel like I’m taking my life in my hands, but at that hour on a Saturday, I had the whole thing to myself. There were no cars out — everyone was still sleeping or enjoying breakfast or doing things other than driving like maniacs. It was great.

Biking used to be a pretty big source of stress for me. I allowed myself to get really, really angry when cars cut me off or didn’t respect me on the road – I would yell, bike frantically after them, make a waving-arms-scene in their rear-view mirrors. I biked in constant fear of getting hit. It was no way to spend close to an hour of each day, and the effects of that stress and anxiety rippled out into other aspects of my life.

Somewhere along the way, in the last few months, I stopped getting mad, and I stopped being afraid on the road. I bike defensively, for sure, but I’ve taken on a very calm mindset about my daily commute. Not only has this allowed me to enjoy biking much more, but I feel like that calm has rippled out into the rest of my life, too, replacing the anxiety and anger that had been there before.

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“. . .honey, you cannot wrestle a dove.” – The Shins