Unnecessary Problems

Cartoon owl holding a bike wheel by OpenClipartVectors on Pixabay at https://pixabay.com/en/owl-animal-bicycle-bike-bird-158413/
Cartoon owl holding a bike wheel by OpenClipartVectors on Pixabay at https://pixabay.com/en/owl-animal-bicycle-bike-bird-158413/

Dear guy riding your bike in the rain while smoking a cigarette,

It seems to me that riding a bike in the rain presents a host of difficulties.

Certainly you considered an aspect of visibility before you left the house, as you had on a reflective vest.  I noticed, however, that you wore glasses.  As a fellow bespectacled human, I know firsthand that while wearing glasses in the rain may correct your vision to 20/20, your ability to see anything is completely compromised by the raindrops on your lenses refracting light all over the place.  And that’s a problem if you’re riding your bike through morning rush hour traffic.

The second problem I perceive stems from my inadequacies as a cyclist.  I don’t ride much, and I don’t ride well.  Therefore, seeing people ride in traffic scares me, because I know that if they are like me, they may fall into the street at any moment.  Seeing people ride bikes in traffic on streets slick with rain and oil and who knows what else simply terrifies me.  I am so worried for you and all of the problems I envision for you, whether they are based in the reality of your riding ability or not.  In short, you might fall, and that’s a problem.

If cycling is your primary means of going to and fro, these first two problems may be unavoidable, but you could completely circumvent an admixture of problems that you heap on your perilous pursuit, if you only wait until you arrive to your destination to smoke.  I would prefer you not to smoke at all, but if you must, don’t do it while riding your bike, because that’s a problem.

There you were, at the stop light, fumbling in your pockets attempting to retrieve a cigarette and a match.  A match?  In the rain?  Wouldn’t a lighter be easier?  But I digress.  You got your cigarette and your match and you tried to light up in the rain.  It didn’t go well.  You got frustrated.  And you missed the light turning green because you were preoccupied.  Not staying with the flow of traffic?  That’s a problem.

Finally you got the cigarette lit and took a puff.  Then you pulled into traffic, a little after the flow had begun once the light changed, and you tried to steer your bike with one hand while holding the cigarette with the other.  But alas, you also needed to return your package of cigarettes and matchbook to your pocket.  I’m impressed with your ability to steer a bike with one hand; see traffic despite your glasses being covered in raindrops; hold and puff on a cigarette with one hand; return a package of cigarettes and a matchbook to your pocket with the hand that is holding a cigarette; and remain balanced, upright, and alive, as you pedal though the morning rush hour.  Wow.

You returned the matchbox to your pocket, but you simply dropped the match; so its elimination wasn’t part of the wonder of your cycling feats.  I realized at this point why you used matches instead of lighters.  You don’t have to worry about fumbling in your pocket quite as much.  You also don’t have to worry about putting something hot and potentially flammable in you pocket.  You can just litter by throwing the match to the ground.  I imagine that would be easier, and dare I say safer, for you but not necessarily for the person who has to come behind you to clean up.

So sir, while I laud your dedication to cycling, I feel like, at least today, you have also entrapped yourself with so many unnecessary problems.

Stay safe out there,

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