Cycling – the long ride, and other expenses of time.

Happy fourth of July, everyone. Nothing stranger than forced, blank nationalism while our country disintegrates from the collective vote of a dry drunk imbecile for President. If every douchebag who hung a flag on their porch was an educated voter the country could be proud of something. Usually we watch the Culver City fireworks from our apartment, but since last night was Friday we always spend Fridays with my in-laws. It was an even more odd night. Odd because we went to a friend of my in-laws house for Shabbat dinner, which we almost never do. It was in Venice, site of fireworks and handgun shootings. We’ve done smarter things. Still, it was a lovely dinner, with great people, and only one unexpected landmine.

Our host made a lovely tsatziki soup, a full-on ocean of dairy. I’m off dairy completely, and have been for a few months. But we didn’t send a list of our wacky food restrictions (which we often do, as annoying as it makes us) so when a bowl of lactose was placed before me I pulled up spoon and dove in. I am not an ungrateful guest. Internally I’m laughing. How did I get to be this person? Worrying about the fat content of a bowl of yogurt? It was delicious, harmless! Then our host says, really – it gets better, the host says, “the secret is I use whole fat yogurt. With the heavy cream!” Fireworks explode outside as the rabbinical student next to me smiled innocently, shoving spoonfuls of soup into his mouth.

A weird night, capped by being waylaid by our next door neighbors who were chilling outside smoking and drinking post-fireworks. Someone once told me not to make friends with neighbors because then you wind up having to talk to them. I’ve tried to maintain my mean face as much as possible, but it’s hard work. I’m basically a nice person, but I get angry at little things, mostly people who waste my time. I spend a lot of time in the car, angry because I have to wait for the idiot in front of me to think and make simple decisions. But I bottle up that anger, I don’t release it because I don’t blame others for my own negative reactions. There’s a line somewhere I haven’t found. I don’t believe the hippies are right in being pleasant to everyone and just letting things go. When someone wastes your time they’re stealing parts of your life you’ll never get back. Those people should be billed and punished for being stupid, annoying, and useless. And yet, I don’t want to make enemies. An idiot is the worst enemy to have because it’s still engaging with them and they’ll steal even more of your time. I just want that magic ability to extract myself from people so I can get on with my life while still being open to meeting the occasional good person (it’s rare, but it happens). Until then, I wind up talking to people far too long looking for an out. And how it usually plays is what happened last night. Four drunk guys shooting the shit, and one was talking about how he sprained his ankle in a construction ditch and wound up seeing a chiropractor who “fixed him up”. He waggled a finger at me and said the words – I’m not making this up – “don’t see a real doctor, see a chiropractor!” In that horrible moment I was split. Engage him and try and fix his clearly misguided thinking or just run away. Like I said, I’m a nice guy. I realized that he was drunk and that was not the time to begin a critical discussion of quackery. We wound up making nice and it took my wife coming downstairs with the dogs on leashes to extract me. The boys are very friendly, even if they stay up until 5am drinking and partying and are completely misguided about medicine which one day will kill them. They really are the nicest bad neighbors. Getting sidetracked by them meant I didn’t walk the dogs until late, which means I didn’t get to bed until 1am. Perfect, the night before a long ride. See? Time theft is life theft.

I flew solo on the ride, 56 miles from home, down and around Rancho Palos Verdes, and back. Really hot, too, and I was sheeting sweat the whole ride. Definitely noticing the push up routine is leaving my shoulder and neck really sore. I am a monster of co-contractions, useless expenses of energy that don’t help me get the work done. When I do a push up I must clench my neck muscles and then I have trouble turning my head for days. On the bike I’m all too aware that the frequent change in position, handlebar gripping, and ass adjustment is less energy I’m putting into my legs. There’s always something to think about while riding. Good thing, given that I’m almost completely caught up on all my podcasts and will have to start listening to The Brothers Karamazov on my long rides!

The heat, lack of sleep, and beach traffic congestion resulted in a 56 mile ride that took almost 4 hours. Way too long. I want to do that ride in 3hrs 30min or better. Nothing left to do now but graft my ass to the couch and rest!


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