Skip to main content

Driving and Riding

I spent yesterday not going out.

This was deliberate, because I spent Wednesday with way too many people trying to kill me.

Now, normally, I like to keep the number of people trying to kill me as close to zero as possible, excluding my ex-wives, but sometimes you have to leave the house and run errands or whatever, and when I do that I do it on my motorcycle. I have a Suzuki Boulevard C50T, which I bought brand new a couple of years ago and really love riding. It's comfy enough for daily riding, it's big enough I'm not worried about taking it up hills or on the highway, it's nimble enough that I'm comfortable in traffic, and it's small enough that I get pretty good gas mileage (on the order of a VW TDI, and it's easier to park).

Riding a motorcycle is great, even in the rain; if you're geared properly, the rain isn't even that big a deal: just take a little more care, give yourself a little more space, and be aware of your temperature, and you're fine. I committed to riding my bike in the rain when I bought it because I wanted to get my money's worth from it. If I didn't ride in the rain, I'd probably get to ride it 70 or 80 days a year; if I am willing to ride in the rain I can ride for 300+ days a year (this past February on the anniversary of my bringing it home I ran the numbers and I rode 311 days last year).

Riding a motorcycle is pretty relaxing, too; it requires concentration and attention, and so there's a focusing effect that even a short ride can have that's salubrious to the soul and restorative to the mind. By connecting yourself with the bike and riding with your whole body, you disallow the rest of the world permission from taking over your thought processes, and you get to think about what you want to think about, whatever that may be. Hopefully, it's mostly about riding the motorcycle. But sometimes, what you're thinking about is all the people who are trying to kill you.

Because a bike isn't a car, there are a lot of drivers out there who just mentally edit them out of their mindscape. And because driving a car has become something that most people do while doing something else, it gets dangerous. And I don't think most drivers recognize how dangerous. Even in slow traffic on surface streets during busy times, the average driver is still whipping around a four thousand pound box of liquid explosives and flame at 30+ feet per second. If a car hits me going 25 miles an hour, it's basically like I fell off a second-story balcony onto the car: if I'm lucky, I'll break something unimportant.

Wednesday, it was raining, and that makes me more cautious. So I was able to avoid the three people who tried to change lanes into me. I was able to spot and avoid the SUV which nearly ran me over. I was able to get out of the way of the hot rod on the highway who couldn't stop in time. But really, the average ride for me is a crapshoot when it comes to other vehicles on the road.

I imagine it's much worse for bicyclists, since they don't even have the protection of an engine, but the sheer entitlement of some drivers makes me wonder how there aren't more fatalities every day from traffic accidents.

I probably should try to make this about something, probably something in tech, but that would be a pretty big stretch, but let's try this: if you're designing software or software processes, you need to think about the bike riders: the careful, dangerously exposed, invested users. Try and make sure you're not accidentally trying to kill them. Maybe even add special lanes where the normal users (car drivers) can't go, so they can do what they're trying to do safely and comfortably.

Nothing like a bad metaphor to end a blog post about boring personal shit!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Organizing And You: Lessons from Labor History

    I made a joke on Twitter a while ago: Do I need to post the Thomas M Comeau Organizing Principles again? https://t.co/QQIrJ9Sd3i — Jerome Comeau says Defund The Police (@Heronymus) July 15, 2021 and it recently came back up because a member of my family got their first union job and was like "every job should be offering these sorts of benefits" and so I went ahead and wrote down what I remember of what my dad told me. My father had many jobs, but his profession was basically a labor union organizer, and he talked a lot about the bedrock foundation items needed to be serious about organizing collective action. Here's what I remember.    The Thomas M. Comeau Principles of Organizing -- a fundamental list for finding and building worker solidarity from 50 years of Union Involvement. This list is not ranked; all of the principles stated herein are coequal in their importance. Numbering is a rhetorical choice, not a valuation. 1) Be good at your job. Even in an at-will

Activision, Blizzard, Game development, IT, and my personal role in all of that.

 I'm pretty sure if you spend any sort of time at all on Twitter and/or spend any sort of time playing videogames, you are by now at least aware of the lawsuit brought forth by the State of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing versus Activision Blizzard, Inc., et al. From this point on, I'll add a Content Warning for folks who are sensitive about sexual assault, suicide, and discrimination based on sex, gender, and skin color, as well as crude humor around and about sexual assault , and what the State of California refers to as "a pervasive 'frat boy' culture" around Act/Bliz, especially in the World of Warcraft-associated departments.   Just reading the complaint is hard rowing, even with the clinical legalese in place. The complaint itself is relatively short; 29 pages laying out ten Causes of Action (basically, "these are the legs on which our lawsuit stands"). I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to properly express how a

Money and Happiness as a fungible resource

Money really does buy happiness. Anyone who tells you differently has a vested interest in keeping you poor, unhappy, or both. I know this because I grew up on the ragged edge of poor, and then backed my way into a career in IT, which is where the modern world keeps all the money that isn't in Finance. So I am one of the extreme minority of Generation X that actually had an adulthood that was markedly more financially stable than my parents. And let me tell you: money really does buy happiness. To be clear: at 45 years old, I'm now in a relationship and a period of my life where our household is effectively double-income, no kids. I live in the city, but I own a house, and can only afford to do that because of our combined income. We also have two cars -- one new, one used (though neither of them is getting driven very much these days) -- and we have a small discretionary budget every month for things like videogames, books, and the like. What my brother used to call DAM -- Dic