Thursday, October 23, 2008


I find myself becoming frustrated when I "put things out there" and don't get a response.
whether it be an email, a letter send via snail mail, a phone message, a request, a thought or wish or prayer, a plea, or even a wave hello: when these things seem to go unacknowledged I struggle.
and perhaps that's why yesterday I got pissed off at the umpteenth cyclist in a row who didn't wave back at me.
it was a perfect day to ride: clear, vibrant blue sky, golden leaves and crisp air, sunshine pouring down everywhere. so the weather can't be the excuse.
visibility was a good ten miles, so it can't be that they didn't see me.
and it was just emigration canyon ~ not a grueling, all-encompassing climb or descent ~ so there wasn't much of an excuse that they were too focused on their cycling.
there was something in the air. something that either made them grumpy, or caused them to be so inwardly focused that they were truly oblivious of me.
and I of all people should allow others to have an inward focus. I spend half of my own life there, so I should be understanding of others' desires to be there. so if anyone I passed on this ride was doing the inward-focus thing, I forgive them their lack of friendliness.
but for the rest of them: pooey on you.

it's difficult to deal with sending things out and not getting responses in return. it can make you feel slighted, ignored, ridiculous. it can make you feel insignificant or superfluous. it can make you feel that your ideas are worth less than those of others, or that you aren't a necessary part of the whole.
as a writer who has sent perhaps a hundred query letters and submissions out over the years, I well know the feeling of being ignored or, better, told no-thank-you. I will take a "no" any day over being ignored completely. but just because I send something out, must I expect them to take the time and effort to respond in return? am I expected to respond to each piece of mail I receive, even those I don't know who ask me for financial support?
and having teen-aged children helps one work through the whole rejection scenario: when one hugs a teenager, one often receives a stiff posture and stoicism in response. yet one knows there is still love inside that body. one must be wise and patient to know it's all about the teenager, not about the hugger.
if I extrapolate outward from these examples, then I should be understanding of all those (#&*$!) cyclists who ignored me yesterday, shouldn't I? perhaps they are just overwhelmed by the number of cyclists trying to wave hello to them, unable to put out that much effort to respond back. perhaps they are in their own inner world, and need to stay there for sake of their mental health. perhaps they are emotionally just surly adolescents who can't acknowledge friendliness for fear of losing face.
now that I have given grumpy, unfriendly cyclists some good excuses for their behavior, I feel a little better. I will hang on to these reasons, and stop picking on them.
but I won't stop waving, because one in ten cyclists is just as friendly as me, and I'd hate to be labeled an emotionally crippled, surly, weak, relationship-challenged person.

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