Wednesday, December 31, 2008

books and bikes for '09

Oof. Time to dust off the ol' blog, huh? Sorry to be away a while, but chances are you were too. I have been experiencing the Human Fishbowl Time Effect, which means that my stuff-to-do grows to fit my day. A regular workday might (occasionally) find me writing, working out, mentoring and getting groceries (and, granted, I'd probably be kind of sleep deprived and grumpy the next day). But while on vacation, a whole day can be devoted to going to the ATM and microwaving some soup.

Actually, I can't think about soup too much right now because it was the last thing I ate a few days ago before getting slammed (again) with the stomach flu. You would think that at least I'd be very skinny by now, but unfortunately a little thing called Christmas, a.k.a. Cookie Season, happened between flues, so they more or less canceled each other out.

And now we arrive at Resolution Season, which is as appealing and dangerous to the OCD brain as a plate full of cookies. As soon as you make one and start visualizing the perfect specimen of humanity you might be on your way to being, it's tempting to make another, until keeping them is such a hopeless task that you give up and drown your sorrows in a plate of cookies.

That was then, though--for the past few years, I've learned to make resolutions a la my friend Heather, who one year resolved to join MySpace: compact, quantifiable, doable. This year, while I still secretly hope to become the epitome of fitness, creativity and compassion, what I'm actually resolving to do is:

1. Restart my book club: I read an article by Jean Hartig in Poets & Writers Magazine about how, after finishing her MFA program, her writing really suffered not just from a lack of feedback, but from a lack of regular conversation about meaningful ideas. I remembered how much I also liked that about school. And while the folks in the salon-type-thing Jean started sounded uber-brainy, I thought maybe I could start by convening a handful of people to eat potluck and talk about Nick Hornby books.

2. Start riding a bike: AK is a bicycler chick and has been encouraging me to start riding for a while. I haven't forgotten how--what they say is true. And there are a million good fitness and environmental reasons to do it, and a variety of L.A. bike cultures--eco or wholesome or punk rock or self-righteous (and I do enjoy being self-righteous)--to choose from.

But there's one good reason not to, and that is cars. I'm scared to drive next to half the people in L.A., let alone teeter next to them on some pedestrian/vehicle hybrid contraption. Unlike many, I don't think L.A. drivers are any worse than drivers in any other city, but because car culture is so prevalent, and bike lanes are so few, drivers are ultimately the most self-righteous ones of all on the road. In other cities, mobs of pedestrians mosh through red lights and cars have to wait. Here pedestrians skitter apologetically across crosswalks after waiting 20 minutes for some kind-hearted driver to finally stop.

So it's going to be a while before I start cycling to work (plus that's like 20 miles, and I don't think Jamie wants to sit next to that kind of stink), but it would be great to ride to the Gold Line or Antigua or the library. Baby steps, right? Baby pedals?

Happy new year, y'all.


Tracy Lynn said...

pedestrian/vehicle hybrid contraption. That is AWESOME, and I may steal it for a post title. Dude.

Peter Varvel said...

Pedal-pushers! Wear 'em to do it!
I actually got a jump start on my cardio activities, last month.
I think I shocked my body into rebellion and protest. "Too much too soon!" it told me. "I'm going to break down and get sick on you - take that!"
I love soup, even for breakfast.

Cheryl said...

TL: In which case I will be incredibly flattered.

PV: I've been thinking of rocking the LL Cool J one-leg-o'-the-pants-rolled-up thing.

Jesi said...

i'm going to start smoking crack. ha!

i think ny's resolutions should be things that are bad for you.