Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Joe Joe Eco-Friendly. Go Joe!

One of the things I may or may not have mentioned about my new job (which really isn’t that new anymore, but it’s not old either so whatever) is that I can bike to work instead of driving. This is something that I was super-excited about when I first got the job, back in the summer! SUPER excited!! Save money on gas and maybe insurance too, cut way-down on my killing of polar bears (and I super-duper love polar bears, by the way), and even get some exercise.

Exercise tangent that may be a rerun for some of you: I hate to exercise. I don’t hate getting exercise, but I hate taking time out of the day just for the sole purpose of painting on spandex/grippy clothing that make me look the worst I can possibly look and then running around or lifting heavy things or any other task that is only to get exercise. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the willpower and I really HATE DOING IT. And frankly I feel very stupid while I’m doing it. However if I can find things that either I enjoy doing, and which coincidentally make me exercise (like tap dancing or laser tag or paintball or attempts at tennis which are mostly me chasing tennis balls all over the court) OR that I need to do anyway and which coincidentally make me exercise (like biking into the work) then I’m perfectly happy to do it. And so? I bike to work. End of Tangent/possible rerun.

I will guarantee you this: everyone who has ever decided to walk or run or bike to work always reached this decision during nice weather. It’s June, sunny, 72 degrees and there are bees and butterflies and fluffy clouds in the sky. You’re sitting in your car, possibly in slow or stopped traffic, and someone zooms by you on their bike, all dashing with the air flowing through their hair and with a tan and a spandex biking shirt with rippled muscles and they look light and happy and everything around them is kind of rosy and warm and pleasant. And you think to yourself “Hey, I could do that! I have a bike and it would take about the same amount of time (what with this crappy, slow- or not-moving traffic!) and I would get exercise and not pollute and everything. I’m gonna do it!” And the next thing you know you’ve dropped $150 on having your bike checked out and getting a new helmet (because your old helmet has apparently become a planter or back-up shovel) and a basket and a light and that spandexy bike shirt (turns out the rippled muscles? Some assembly required.) and you’re zooming past slow moving or stopped cars in traffic on the way to work and it’s GREAT!

Now fast forward ahead about 6 months. It’s January, 16 degrees and there is sleet/snow/super-cold crap falling from the sky. Some dude is sitting in his car, possibly in slow or stopped traffic, with their defroster and heater running and warm buns courtesy of a heated seat and the radio is telling stories of ice-related car smash-ups on the freeway and possibility of full-on blizzard around lunchtime. You zoom by them on your bike, w/ rain pants swish-swishing and the bright green raincoat over the fleecy liner and the wooly scarf and gloves and goggles and earmuffs and good LORD it’s still cold! And they think to themselves “I am so glad that I am in my car right now.” And you think to yourself “I hope that dude gets 4 flat tires and has no jack. And where the hell is the spring?”

Don’t misunderstand: I’m extremely pro-biking to work and kind of wish that everyone was doing it because I think I already mentioned that I totally love polar bears and it amazes me that my whole generation is going to let that entire species become extinct rather than STOP DRIVING SO MUCH. I hate the oil companies and absolutely believe in global warming and think Al Gore looks better with a beard. My most hippy-dippy side comes out full-force when you’re talking about the environment, and so why not bike? And I’m trying to do it every single day because honestly there’s no reason I can’t.

But I’m wimpy.

I know other people who bike everywhere and they’re so awesome. It rains and they go “Eh – it’s just water.” The temp plunges and they go “Eh. It’s just cold.” A plague of frogs falls from the sky and they go “Eh – it’s just frogs.” And get out their frog slicker. I so wish I could do that; be all stoic and cool about winter weather biking. But I confess: I hate biking in the rain. I really do! I hate wearing the rain pants, both because they have a most unfortunate impact on my figure (think Michelin Man covered in motor oil) and all that damned swish-swishing! You get rain in your eyes, in your eyes, which sucks. So then I got some clear glasses (safety goggles) and now my eyes are rain-free, but after about 6 seconds in the rain I can’t see anything. (because yes, the safety goggles are covered in rain. Which I was actually surprised about the first time. Because when I bike I turn off my brain, apparently.)

I have to battle with my hood always because in order for it to not blow off in the rain I have to tighten it’s opening smaller then my face. But then I have no peripheral vision and can’t look right or left. OK, I CAN look right or left, but then all I’m doing is looking inside the hood. Like “here’s what the inside of the right side of the hood looks like, and over here is the inside of the left side of the hood. Thanks for asking.” And there’s just no point in “doing my hair” in the mornings before work because it’s going to be either wet or a great tangled mess by the time I get in. Plus who wants to start every day with prune fingers? Oh! And the Runny Damned Nose! How I hate that!

I should probably also mention that in the grand scheme of winter weather here in Hippyville we get about 28% cold, about .2% snow, about 6% hail/sleet/frozen crap and about 347% rain.

Do not despair: my love of all things polar bear will not allow me to backslide. I will continue to bike through the winter weather and I know that eventually there will be glorious spring and even more glorious summer (and then eventually that really hot winter time, where I’ll post about being sweaty and sticky and stinky and seriously, who came up with the idea of a big ball of lava in the damned sky anyway?) and in the meantime I’ll keep watching my mail for that Nobel Peace Prize I’m sure I’ve got coming.

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