When the weather cooperates, I ride my bike to work. I gather my things, my backpack bulging on my back, and I ride over the Manhattan bridge. The first moments of my morning are spent looking at the skyline of lower Manhattan. The Hudson River glistens underneath the sun. And you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. I see it all again in the evening as the sun sets in the sky.
Lately, I haven’t stopped to take it in. Because I am just trying to get where I need to go. And, the past few weeks, it seems that everyone is on edge. Even more so than usual. The traffic is maddening. Other bikers are not paying attention. Cars are whizzing past me like I am invisible. People are smacking their cab doors into my hand and I am left purple and bruised.
I am not a reckless biker. I follow the rules. I stop at lights. I use the bike lanes. I try my best. But it seems I’m not getting anywhere.
And I watch other bikers as they ride the wrong way down the streets, as they cut in front of cars, ring their bell through intersections where they don’t have the right-of-way. Yes, it’s dangerous. No, if I were them, I wouldn’t test it.
But, you know what? They are getting somewhere.
As someone who has spent most of her life trying to do the right thing, I wonder about this. A lot.
How can you be seen and heard and still follow the rules? How do you get somewhere and still play it safe?
When I write, I think: here is a place to take risks. Here is a place to be reckless.
I don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself why I write. There is no real answer, I’m sure. But I think that must be one of the reasons. And I hope I am taking enough risks there. I hope I can find other places in my life to take the right risks.