Of all things, biking is a new and altogether unexpected discovery. When I decided, upon returning to Albuquerque, to ride my bike everywhere in an effort to save 1) money, 2) the environment, and 3) myself from my terrible driving skills, I didn't expect to hate it, but I certainly didn't expect to love it so completely.
Space is expansive on a bike; there is so much more space than you would ever think possible in a car or crowded subway. And it's so quiet. No radio, no voices, no incessant chatter of your own thoughts. On a bike, you only think of two things: where you are, and where you are going. There's a peace, a simplicity, a communion with oneself. On a bike I feel wholly myself and wholly my own.
But it's not just a communion with oneself, it's also a communion with place. I'm grateful for all the moments I've spent on my bike for how intimately it's allowed me to reacquaint myself with my hometown. I don't just get around the city, I see it. I see every dip in the road, every blade of grass poking out from the asphalt. I see every house, every storefront, every park I pass. I see the other bikers, the people on the sidewalks and those in their cars. I feel a part of this city, not just something moving through it. The first time I stepped on stage, I felt at once utterly alone in the universe and completely connected to everything in it. This is sort of like that.
A little over a year ago, a boy I used to work with was hit by a car and killed. I've dealt with death before; maybe it was that he was so young like me, or living so far away from home like me, but ever since I saw that boy lying in his coffin, I've felt the knowledge of death bearing down behind me. I go about my business - nothing has changed, really - but I always feel it, it's always there. On my bike, though, I'm not afraid of death anymore. I would be okay, somehow, if these were my last moments. Strong and active and proud of my commitment to myself and my world.
It also occurs to me how many problems would be solved if we all just biked everywhere. The obesity epidemic, for one, oil dependency, climate change, and, based on my own experiences, maybe even depression.
Is it just me? Or is this really important? It feels important.
So I've contacted BikeABQ the local advocacy and education outreach group. No, there's no paying job in it and it's not where I intuitively feel comfortable spending my time while unemployed. But that's the point.
I offered to volunteer in any capacity needed, but especially event-planning and marketing and communication because of my theater experience. The organization emailed me back immediately and said they could definitely use my expertise as an event planner. It's the first time someone has said they have use for my particular experience and skill-set in a long, long time.
And it felt so good.