Sunday Advice Column #37

bike dream.jpg

I grabbed the above picture from a bike camping site and I’ve been looking at it everyday. Everything about it is compelling. I’m not really a bike person, but the minimal gear packed and the design of the bike reminds me of the motorcycle and Vespa trips I’ve done.

On those trips I always wished I could slow down in some parts. Motorcycles are fun, but sometimes speed gets in the way of scenery. Bike camping has really captured my imagination lately. Something about going your own way under your own power just seems cool. If you eschew all the goofy high end gear you can get into some adventure for a very low cost.

Right now I just have a basic Diamondback Hannjo that’s more than paid for itself in the money I’ve saved on bus fair or owning a vehicle. Eventually I think I’ll upgrade to something a little more tour-worthy, but for now I’m enjoying my short bike commute. Fortunately there’s little traffic and a bike lane so I don’t get into any of those lame bike vs car altercations.

Having a bike is pretty cool if you want to save money and maintain ok shape. My ride is short, just 2 miles door to door, but I always arrive at work and home in a nice clear frame of mind. Sometimes I try to beat my time getting home. I imagine doing that two or three times a week would be about all the high intensity interval training you’d need.

On to your questions.

I’m totally freaking out about this election. What should I do? 

Whatever positive thing you were planning to do before Clinton lost, do that, but with way more intensity. If you’re paying off debt, go nuts. In school? Study hard enough to get As. If you’re already getting As, take more classes. Double your time in the gym.

What you’ll find very quickly is that no one gets in the way of your hustle like you do. There are for sure some things to be concerned about, especially if you’re liberal. Hell, even conservatives don’t really know what’s going to happen.

But no matter what, a stronger, better you is going to have a better chance with whatever bullshit comes down. Put your house in order, then keep an eye out for what needs to be done outside it.

Is selling your girlfriend’s dog while she’s away for work, and telling her it ran away, ethical?

I stopped writing this sentence just now to yell at a bad little dog my wife brought into our life. I love that little devil, but sometimes I want to put him on Craigslist. So I get wanting to get rid of your four legged companion. Unfortunately, they’re basically family members so you’re kind of stuck with them.

To be clear, your plan is highly unethical. The sad thing about a dog running away is that you don’t have closure. Does he live with new people now? Did he get eaten by a coyote? That sort of thing can keep you up at night.

What doth life? 

It doth a heap of bullshit. Everyday. Until you die.

What is the most soul satisfying thing you have ever done in your life? 

There’s a few things that come to mind.

I know it’s sappy, but my wedding sure did feel good. Just finally marrying my sweetheart and having our friends and family there was about as magical as my life has been. The only things I would’ve changed are I would’ve invited about ten more people and squeezed them in to the mini-chapel and gotten a brass band to walk with us to the reception.

The next best thing I did was give an old lady in a wheelchair a $100 bill. It was after a shift at the bar and it was raining. I was on my motorcycle and hadn’t really made much that night and was feeling pissed off about it. I saw this woman, soaking wet, sitting at an intersection and I just felt like a total piece of shit.

I was lucky enough to make a quick easy $100. And I didn’t have to do shit the next day. I rode up next to her, gave her the bill I made, didn’t say anything, and rode off.

I’ve never told that story before because I kind of believe in the concept of giving that comes from The New Testament. In Matthew 6:3 it says “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” I’ve always took that to mean you should keep quiet about the charity you do because other people’s praise is not what you’re after.

I mention it now because it’s been a long time since it happened and it illustrates the kind of giving I think we should be doing more of. I haven’t done anything nice or kind for anyone in a while.

What poem/song/book/movie would you choose to encapsulate your feelings surrounding Trump’s election?

Probably Gremlins 2. It’s basically a neoliberal dystopia that touches on our battles with progress vs nostalgia, mysticism vs science, the ethics of genetically modifying animals, and gentrification anxieties. Plus there’s a character that’s supposed to be Trump.

At the end he realizes the damage his capitalist excesses have caused on the world and he decides to embrace the small town charms of middle America.



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