one of my yoga teachers was hit by a car on Friday. she’s ok, and even taught us Saturday morning.
while she announced it at the beginning of class there was a ripple of tension as bodies froze and we thought, oh my god. are you ok? i can’t believe this…
but, perhaps predictably given her line of work, she was calm and smiling.
she explained how biking gives her perspective car folks cannot access. even the most benevolent of drivers is still encased, while she’s content in nature, with the wind and sun on her skin.
and once you consider that most "drivers" are really maniacal speed-demons, her rational road presence is even more notable. she meets their stress with the peacefulness of someone using her body and slowly but steadily progressing toward her destination.
instead of joining the fray of steel boxes she’s become an observer of the futile struggles in which drivers engage (i.e. cutting someone off only to beat them to the red light in order to “teach them a lesson”).
i am always grateful for and impressed by her but as she spoke, i felt that even more. i mean, who handles getting hit by a car like that? and i decided,
i’m going to drive like a cyclist. a gentle, careful, little cyclist driver am i.
by that i mean forgiving, accepting, aware of the bigger picture, and with a relaxed jaw. i’m trying. the battle is uphill but i’ll get there.
however, i doubt i’ll join her on two wheels anytime soon. despite the liberation biking might provide, the idea of doing so in LA makes me uneasy.
plus, i’m lacking the mental fortitude and general peace of mind needed to stay calm as a city cyclist. let me illustrate.
the first time i visited my childhood friend monica after her move to the suburbs i received a shocking opportunity. her new bucolic lifestyle included getting to ride bikes in the street, which naturally was verboten in philadelphia. this is going to be amazing, i thought.
but whenever a car appeared on monica’s empty residential street i’d immediately freak out and careen into her bike. maybe i did it for protection, thinking a blob of two kids plus two bikes is harder to hit? or maybe to build an impromptu sense of community? invariably, she’d yell at me to stay away from her. (this is the same girl whose hand i bit in preschool when she beat me at a board game, so perhaps there’s a connection…)
in any case, with that kind of personal history who knows what would happen if i were let loose alone on the streets of LA?
some day i’ll possess the fortitude to cycle calmly on city streets. in the meantime, join me in driving like a cyclist.