I'm going to try and remember the post I came up with 8 miles ago on my ride.
On June 7th, Glenda Taylor, an art professor from Washburn was killed while preparing for the KS State Championship Time Trial. I never met her, but I bet our paths crossed at some point during my racing days. I'd like to think I smiled at her if our eyes met, everything I've read about her tells me that she had a good aura. She was selfless, often taking younger female racers under her wing. Lots of the people I'm friends with from my racing days were shell shocked to hear of her passing.
Far too often I come across a news story about a racer getting hit and killed. Steve Tilford (who has an excellent blog), has hypothesized that there are just more people these days. More cyclists and more drivers. Cyclists sometimes ride like jerks, and sometimes drivers drive like jerks too. I hope I haven't been a jerk with either activity, but it happens.
Actually now I remember an incident a long time ago when I was leaving UMKC, and the weather was snowy. I think I was trying to pull out onto Rockhill in my car when a commuter was coming down the hill on the sidewalk. I had inadvertently pulled out in his way so I could see the traffic, but obviously caused a bit of panic for him. He flipped me off and went on his way. I wasn't totally in the wrong, but the thought running through my head was that "hey, I'm one of you". I wasn't some asshole driver, but I guess that time I was.
I was totally paying attention in that moment, but still about took this poor dude out. I could have hurt him bad, but I'm not sure if I could have done anything better. On the other hand, Glenda was killed by someone who may have been distracted. He was charged with 2nd degree murder, among other things. Some of my cycling friends feel a bit vindicated with the severity of that charge. Often cyclists are killed and the driver gets a plead down to a misdemeanor or involuntary manslaughter. I can appreciate the fact that some feel vindicated. On the other hand, it's not easy for the driver either. Maybe he was checking his texts, or messing with the stereo, or spacing out. But now he is going to jail, maybe for a long time. Think of the ripple effect of his poor choice of not being focused whilst driving. 5 seconds of distraction.
Cars are getting away from the driving experience and being more about being entertained. Taking the driver out of the equation. I think that is a terrible mistake, but probably necessary to get us to the point where people no longer drive cars. Until cars can drive themselves, and safely, this kind of thing is going to continue to happen. Especially with Facebook, Twitter, etc and the connectedness of things. Social media is going to be the death of humanity. Connecting through a computer is disconnecting us spiritually. And I don't mean God type spirituality, I'm talking about the bonds of humanity.
The bonds of humanity are what will keep us on this rock. Selflessness, which is the highest form of existence, doesn't come from us burying our noses in our phones and iPads. I see drivers driving around on 70 degree days with their windows up and a/c presumably on. We cushion ourselves from living. We let other people climb mountains on "reality" TV while we sit on the couch and numb our minds and souls. I think I've said it before, but no one is going to give a crap at the end of your days if you watched 50,000 hours of TV. People that will be missed are those who seek out life, who reach out to people and touch their souls. The more we separate ourselves from living this life, the more we subscribe to the "me vs. them". There isn't a "them". It's an "us".
We all are on this rock together. We all want to be happy, to live our lives with some control over the outcome. What is better, an individual looking out for themselves or that same individual living for everyone else and everyone else living for each other?
Regardless of your spiritual belief, most major religions recognize that Jesus was a human in perfect form. He embodied selflessness, and tried to teach others that the path to salvation is by forgetting yourself. Whether you are a Christian or Jew or Muslim or an Atheist, I think if we tried to live a little more selflessly, the world would seem a little more livable.
Sorry for the rambling post, but I had a lot on my mind. Now get off your device and do something.