Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I complain a lot.

Sure, it gets cold and rainy and windy. Sure the bus arrives late or not at all. But really, complaining about it just makes it worse.

Sometimes paying for a monthly Metro pass is a pain in the posterior. Sometimes? It's a little too much to spend every month (in theory, in reality, etc.). I live somewhat close to an Orange Line station, and to be honest I should be grateful for Metro when it is punctual. So complaining about it, although at times completely justified, isn't really necessary.

Sometimes I don't feel like riding my bicycle to the grocery store because the street inclines ever so slightly and I feel every inch of road working my tired body (something often considered after a long day). Although the ride back is somewhat downhill, getting there is the worst part. But complaining about it? Really isn't necessary.

Sometimes people drive like idiots. Sometimes our inner road rage demon gets the better of us - yes, even when on a bicycle. Does it really do anything? (Does a driver revving his engine as he/she passes on the right, expressing his/her general dissatisfaction with a cyclist in the road do anything? ...The answer is no.) Reacting to someone's thoughtless decisions by encouraging your blood pressure to raise really doesn't help anything.

Also, there's that kind of headwind that you can feel, but not see. All of you who ride bicycles regularly know what I'm talking about. I know you technically can't 'see' wind, but you can see it moving street signs, leaves, or the wayward plastic bag. The most annoying headwind the universe can dish up is a wind that outwardly does nothing, but as far as you're concerned, it pushes back, pretty harshly, but in a way that only you can feel and could really use it to your advantage (two words: resistance training). So - you guessed it - complaining about it doesn't help anything.

Unless you've won the lottery recently or you really are making over $100K a year, times are pretty hard for most everyone. And even if they aren't things are annoying and obnoxious and rest on the nerves. The thing is that those things would be annoying and obnoxious and would rest on the nerves whether or not we have the chance to experience it, so if anything, a tweak in perception might, in fact, help where complaining won't. A few suggestions:

If it's cold, rainy and windy, getting on a half-hour earlier bus will allow for traffic and if it's toasty inside, all the better. (If it's an every-hour bus, I apologize. Take it up with Metro. I'm serious. Write a letter.)

Sometimes, I wonder whether or not I really need a monthly Metro pass. Sure, it can be considered a bit of insurance, since until April we're at least guaranteed some sort of precipitation that will bring May flowers. However, since I primarily ride my bicycle during the week and occasionally bus it on weekends, I have found that for the most part getting a monthly pass (at $75/mo. for cut lines and lessened local service) isn't fitting my life right now. $6 for an 'emergency' day pass? $3.00 for a pre-determined to-and-from errand? Rarely (aka never) adds up to the full amount of a monthly pass, at least not the way I've aimed to work it.

Is that the same for everyone? Not at all. The point is examining your personal situation and justifying the expenditure is all you can do. Check to see if you qualify for reduced fares. Carpool, or see if your place of work or school provides a subsidiary of some kind. But whatever you do, make sure to buy a pass of some kind. Per Metro.net, failure to do so (and when caught; I saw a guy in handcuffs for this the other night) "may result in a fine up to $250 and 48 hours community service".

And finally, whenever I don't feel like riding my bicycle at an incline or in a slight headwind that has the gumption to push back, I just count it as the aforementioned resistance training for the day. Birds, meet stone.

Our thoughts stay with us, our minds being the one place we can't and won't ever really escape, not even in sleep. If I could suggest one thing on account of this post (a reminder to myself if ever I've read one) it would be to try to fill one's head with as much positive reinforcement against as many realistic backdrops as possible. And when it comes to dealing with the relative and sometime blatant carelessness of others, it's good to at least try to get along with others in general, because everyone has their day, and for the most part, everyone wants a tomorrow...

That said - glass, half-full. Frown turned upside-down. It is, in fact, possible.


  1. Sometimes paying for a monthly Metro pass is a pain in the posterior. Sometimes? It's a little too much to spend every month (in theory, in reality, etc.)

    I get around with monthly (Vancouver) transit passes myself. The Canadian government pushed in a tax credit program for monthly transit passes a while ago - 15% of their value, I think. For me, that always made them worth it. It's unfortunate that a similar deduction program doesn't seem to be in force in the States, or at least I can't find any; something like that would probably make monthly passes a lot more attractive.

  2. I'm trying to fill my head with the positive and it's been a real challenge lately and had to remind myself several times over the course of this week that I need to try and get along w/ others. The challenge started right before we went on vacation and my husband said, "Remember we are going on vacation". Heavey sigh. At least vacation was San Francisco. I took my folding bike and distracted my brain w/ successfully pedaling over steep hills, a reminder that I am a strong, competent woman. I through caution and vanity to the wind and biked through rain, proud that I had overcome a major mental barrier. Best of all, I was spending quality time with my husband doing things we enjoyed. The bummer situation from the week before will eventually become nothing more than completely forgotten but the long weekend in SF will never be forgotten.

  3. @Andrew That's great that the government assists in such a way with passes; it's an encouragement and beneficial for the environment, easing up on congestion. LA and other areas are so depleted right now that such credits don't seem available anymore, if they were at all. I'm so glad that you're able to benefit from that! I'd love to try the transit elsewhere sometime... it'd be refreshing, to say the very least.

    @She Rides A Bike I wonder why it can be such a challenge to get along with others, but I'll tell you, I feel ya. Pockets of day-to-day just end up doing that sometimes, among other factors. I love hearing how being on the bike really helps with that strength factor, that belief in self. Look at you! That's so rad. I'm glad you had a great weekend in San Francisco. Those hills... mein goodness. :)

    And in a related news bulletin-like scenario, I 'need' a folding bike. It would make travel so fun!