Friday, March 21, 2008

Small is Beautiful

Back on the Benotto...

This morning while riding by the beach I noticed something small and sparkly to my right. I slowed down, turned around, and went back to look. A ruby red 6 sided die. In my pocket it went...

Though I can't speak for other bicyclists, I'm in the habit of picking up odd bits and ends whenever I find them. To date, I've found a pair of stretchy red gloves, a 10 foot PVC pipe (for jousting!), a bike light, bungee cords, a plastic toy bear head, and now, a pretty red die. It looks like a piece of candy.

This got me to thinking - Do drivers ever stop to pick up stuff they see on the road? Of course they do - only, they'd never notice a pretty red die or bike light. Driving a car simply removes one from seeing the little but sweet nuances of life.

This difference isn't limited to just the medium of the automobile. I notice things while walking that I never would have taken note of on a bicycle. True, on a bike, you're forced to pay attention to the road, the speed of the cars around you, but also the air, the smells, the sky. In a car, you're completely cut off from your surroundings and for all intensive purposes, traveling in a tank minus the turrets and cannon.

(As if to RIDE this point home - this afternoon I rode past a little caterpillar moving swiftly across the road, something someone in a car would never catch).

Marshall McLuhan's famous phrase, "The medium is the message" comes into play here as well as Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful." I'd prattle on about Thoreau's call to, "simplify," but I'll stop here and say turn off your computer and go outside.

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