Friday, April 27, 2012

cotton eye joe

I love stories.
and I am curious.
and my mind is always going, pondering, conjecturing, creating, supposing.

I have two daughters learning how to drive.
this allows for many great conversations, as well as observations of those who drive... well, we'll just say less well than others.
the other day someone sped past us at a good twenty miles over the speed limit, changing lanes constantly (and without blinkers) to find the fastest path.
"geez, what a stupid driver," my daughter said.
"I like to think there's a reason for that," I replied, "like his wife's in labor in the back seat and he's got to get her to the hospital."
"oh, right. or, he's just a stupid driver."

I like to make up stories that paint us all in the best light.
except not always when I'm biking.

here's the thing about biking: when you pass a cyclist---or get passed by a cyclist---you have no idea where they're coming from, where they're going, how long they've been riding, where they started, when they'll end, none of it.
you can guess by looking at how many water bottles they have, what they're wearing, and how much (and what) stuff is in their back pockets, but it's always conjecture.
you can't know.
so . . . you can't say
"oh, they're going so fast because they just started/they're doing sprints/they're almost home."
"they're going so slow because they've been out for five hours already and they're just finishing up."
"they probably got a ride to the middle of the hill so they could make it to the top without dying."
and on and on.

I can still make up stories---it's hard to make me stop---but I can't know if someone is on their first 5 miles or their last 5, if they're halfway through a seven-hour grind or halfway through a one-hour spin.
maybe it's a recovery day, and that's why they're going so slowly.
maybe they're doing sprints, and that's why they're inconsistent.
maybe they're having a great day, maybe it's a crappy day.
I can't know.

now the big ah-ha:
all of life is like this.

we can't know where someone has come from, where they're going, if it's a great day, if it's a cruddy one, if they're focused on a goal, if their mind is a hundred miles away. everyone out there is a cotton eye joe.
the best thing we can do is wish them well along their journey, offer them a little prayer of Godspeed, and dance, anyway.

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