Mom’s Sage Advice

The thing my mother told my sister and me most often as children was “pay attention!” Sometimes it was a scold. “Pay attention! You’re about to spill kool-aid on the rya rug!” More often it was a suggestion, aimed at making the world more interesting, at making us more thoughtful. A fair amount of the time, I’m sure, it was simply exasperation.

As we got older, my mother added specific exhortations to each of us. The one directed at me was “More isn’t better; it’s just more.” She’s right, to a large extent, although I tend to retort “I don’t want more choice! I just want nicer things!” (roughly minute 3:30-5:00). You see, paying attention tends to make you notice the times when more actually is better, in addition to being more. Whether it’s god or the devil in the details, the nuance is where the things that matter are.

At any rate, I’ve been commuting by bike now at least a couple days a week (I’m only in the office three days a week) and I find myself dreaming about a new bike often. Not that mine isn’t both perfectly serviceable and really comfortable to ride. Not that mine isn’t, actually, kind of cute (even if it’s not the color I wanted, just the color that was in stock). But I need fenders because sometimes I ride through puddles. Also, the only basket I could find which would mount to by handlebars blocks the place where my headlight should be. Maybe a rear rack would be better. Plus, a chain guard would be nice because I bike to work in my work clothes. And I really did want the other color.

I can, of course, adapt the bike I have to my growing requirements, no matter how much I like the brain chemical rush of a new thing. And anyway, isn’t that rush why I like riding my bike in the first place. Biking, and walking, bring an awareness of your surroundings which make your neighborhood–or your route to work–regularly new. You can’t help but pay attention.


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