Empty Headed

You may wonder how the following relates to a cycling blog. Stick with it, I have a point eventually, you just have to sift through some ranting. Keep in mind there is surely a dose of hypocrisy, preachiness, and anger even though in my head it all makes perfect sense. Read at your own risk, or feel free to read something not a crap cycling blog. It’s totally your call.

Over the past few months I haven’t been sleeping very well. There are many “might-bes” and “could-bes,” which include such things as too much coffee, not enough riding, worry that my family’s entire world could come crashing down at any moment, and an ever-growing affection for nihilism. No matter the cause, counting sheep, masturbating, counting sheep masturbating, and masturbating while counting sheep only gets one so far, and I’ve found myself with time to think. This is both good (the time has allowed me to put some creative wheels in motion), and bad (see much of this paragraph). However in addition to all of that I have also had some thoughts that hover in the middle grounds between fond memories, existential ennui, and the want for simpler times.

Some of the thoughts brought me back to something I mentioned in the post Not Resolutions Part II earlier this year, the part about disconnecting from social media. I have done reasonably well with staying off of Facebook and Twitter, but I did crack a few times here and there over the past 31 days. Outside of a couple of self-promotion posts to let people know of some photos I took, and a couple Likes, and Re-Tweets–that in my opinion–were just too good not to acknowledge, I have laid fairly low. Much of that was due to the extension FB Purity to my web browsers (hopefully void of viruses). FB Purity allows you to remove a shit ton of crap from your Facebook feed including the trending news, game requests, photos of your uncle’s vasectomy, etc., But it also allows you to filter out stories that could potentially make you drink gin at 6:04 AM, make you angry, or have you lying awake at night thinking of sheep and/or the hot teller that works at the bank, and all the self-gratification that comes with.

Here are the words and phrases I have utilized to help purify my feed: 

President Trump
Donald Trump
White House
F*ck Face Orange Nazi Mother F*cker
FOX News
Huffington Post
Right Wing
Fake news
These filters are/were doing a pretty good job at keeping me blissfully ignorant on Facebook and limiting my news feed to nothing other than bikes, photography, soccer, English bulldogs, and music. I obviously don’t hate all of the things listed above, but Facebook is sort of like your 75-year-old father at the dinner table; if you mention a movie you saw, he will be reminded of a different movie, that starred an actor/actress that he hates because of their politics. He will then proceed to launch into some tirade about religion or politics even though he knows you don’t care, or share the same views as him. Keep in mind this tirade started because you dared to mention you saw Mall Cop II and how it didn’t come close to the cinematic masterpiece that Mall Cop I was.

I’m not proud of this attempted ignorance, but don’t be fooled, I am not uninformed. All this helps me avoid being brought down by “Friends,” friends, or family before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee or taken my first shit of the day. I like to view my news the way it was meant to be viewed… on NPR.org and drunk as f*ck.

Now to finally get to how this relates to a cycling blog….

During one of my bouts of sleeplessness I recalled my pre-Facebook days of mountain biking back in Pennsylvania. I used to ride with a group of folks once or twice a week that encompassed a wide variety of ages, income brackets, races, religions, sexes, sexualities, jobs, and levels of education. No one talked politics, about how much, or how little, money they had, or religious beliefs. We rode bikes, we talked bikes, we would share meals and beers together, and we would socialize off the bike on occasion. We just had a good time together. If someone crashed, someone was there to make sure he/she was OK. If someone broke a derailleur (that would usually be me), someone was there to make sure he/she got going again, or made it safely back to their home or car.

Sure, I got along with some more than others, but usually that was down to age, riding ability, or personality. No one was a dick and no one talked shit on others (other than what was required to bust balls or the female lady parts equivalent). We got along because I liked bikes, they liked bikes, WE liked bikes. I swear there were folks I rode with for years and had no idea what they did for a living, whether they voted red or blue, or worshiped God, dog, or nothing at all. I didn’t care, and I still don’t. I was more likely to know how much their bike weighed!

To be completely naive and idealistic, all of that is sort of how America the world should be. You don’t have to love everyone, but we’re in this together, like one big group ride. Do you SERIOUSLY care what religion or color someone is? If you crashed your car on the side of the road and a stranger stopped to help, would you refuse their help because they were wearing a hijab? Would you refuse help from someone wearing one of those God awful ugly Make America Great Again hats? If you answered yes, you’re probably an ass-hat. If someone’s hurt, you help them out; someone’s down, you pick them up; someone’s trying hard, you give them words of encouragement, if someone’s country is having the shit bombed out of it, you give them refuge and make sure they’re OK. It’s pretty f*cking simple. Please note that I fully admit that this has NO relation to the aforementioned growing love of nihilism.

I admit that I am as guilty as anyone of falling into the social media opinion wormhole (this post included). You most likely came here to read a blog about cycling, or at least a reasonable facsimile of what used to be a cycling blog, not to hear me rant about things like politics. I apologize for that. So to get back to my non-New Year’s resolution about disconnecting, I promise that I will no longer talk about my hatred of the current Nationalist regime on this website or within social media. No likes, no comments, no re-Tweets, shares, or rants about the bad-haired blow hard [I urge you to click that link, you won’t be sorry]. From now on if you come to this blog you will see talk of cycling, outdoor activities, fitness (and the lack there of). There will also be a dose of food, beer, soccer proper football, music, and photography. And if things go as planned with that PornHub affiliate program, you may also start seeing some hardcore pornography. Joking.

Let’s get back to bike riding. Let’s get back to hating things that truly matter: shit bikes, crap race course, flats tires, broken spokes, bad beer, and horrible music.


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