Non-Social Distancing

What was it like before, a few short weeks ago when public contagion was not the only topic on the news? Were we a friendlier people then? No, but then our faces passed with sufficient closeness to discern the colors of each other’s eyes. We passed each other on the way with nods of recognition or the curls of smiles on our lips. Nothing more than civility and manners expressed in joint respect for those with whom we share a bit of space for just a breath of time.

We Are Here

We are here, both you and I,
and we shall pass in peace,
as busily we fill our separate days
with striding forward toward 
our not indifferent ends.

We have been emphatically and emperiously asked to maintain a six foot buffer between ourselves and others while in public. This is wise, good, and voluntarily we comply, but the act of walking out of our way to avoid a fellow human strikes a blow to civility. We cast a shaddow of shame or feel ashamed ourselves, or both. So, now the nod, the brightened lifted face are not enough to overcome the added distance we have put between our faces. Social Distancing requires now addition of a verbal cue, a crisp, “Hello!” “Good morning!” in addition to the smile.

I step around you now with widened berth, but not because I think you harbor any threat. Well, yes, I do, but know it isn’t you. So, trying to make up for less than social distancing, I say, “Hello!” to each and every one of you I skirt. I wear an even broader smile just let you know, “I see you and we’re all in this together aren’t we?” Gladly I extend these Collateral Benefits,* for just as good and wise it is to lift your heart, to sweep away the fear as ever it was to keep you at arms’ length.

Paul Guernsey, © 2020


*Collateral Benefits: a term coined by Hans Eisenman on his 2020/03/28 Facebook post [from @TheSconeAge]:
‘I’m officially coining a new (?) term: #ColateralBenefits thanks to the coronavirus.
Example: a lot of people we run into seem friendlier than usual right now. They make eye contact a bit more as if to say “I see you and we’re all in this together aren’t we?”
What collateral benefits have you noticed, if any?’
– Hans Eisenman

Born on a Wednesday, and Born to ride One

Josh Patterson‘s “Surly Wednesday review” is just the comparison I needed to decide between the Wednesday and Surly‘s Ice Cream Truck. My mind is now made up. I was born on a Wednesday, and born to ride one. Here are the boxes Patterson’s review helped me check:

“The Wednesday is a very different machine. Yes, it’s still a heavy weight, at 35.2lb / 16kg, but it’s better suited to the type of riding the average rider is looking to do. ” [✓]

“With the axle pushed back in the track ends, the Wednesday can fit 4.6″ tires, 95% as wide as the ICT’s stock 4.8” Bud & Lou.” Close enough. [✓]

“The narrower bottom bracket stance gives the Wednesday a noticeably narrower Q-factor. ” [✓]

Plus, a couple things I figured all on own:

$1550 [22% less than the $2000 ICT] [✓]

Blue Monday is a great color and matches my new Ford Ranger. [✓]

The F-Word

[Question]
What is it with you and the F-word? [0] You’re just like my father the way you object to it.

[Answer]
The F-word is coarse. It debases everything around it, but mostly its user.

If art is the process of communicating ideas or feelings, [1] the F-word is the artistic equivalent of a slap in the face. The quality of doing, the process [2] employed by its user is a brute force attempt to infuse importance into the idea or feeling communicated. The word’s intent is to startle and shock the listener into agreement. This is not Understanding. It is Acquiescence [3] in the face of unwarranted forceful emotion. It is disparaging, disrespectful and dismissive of the listener’s choice to evaluate the communication and assign his own importance to it.

Users of the F-word, please know this: Upon hearing its use I apply a Reductive Filter to the whole communication, including its source, stripping them of any unearned importance or validity. Additional points are taken off for repetition and increased volume.

Paul Guernsey © 2020


[0] applies also to most curse words.

[1] art 1. something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings; a piece of modern/contemporary art; It’s a remarkable picture, but is it art? 4. an activity that is done to create something beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/art

[2] “Art resides in the quality of doing; process is not magic.” – Charles Eames
https://www.treehugger.com/culture/eames-appreciation-world-through-common-objects.html

[3] Acquiescence: passive acceptance or submission
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquiescence