Suicide cycle

13-reasons-why-5-stills-released-see-here

A lot about suicide going on this week.  Both Esha and Gavin are in the Cycle Against Suicide tomorrow from Rockwell College Cashel to Ursuline College Thurles.  So they are cycling from Gavin’s school to Esha’s.

In work people are registering for the “Darkness into Light” walk raising funds for Pieta House, which has a huge role in addressing self esteem issues in young people.

The  big hit TV series is “13 Reasons Why” the Netflix show which follows the set of cassette tapes recorded by a teenage girl before she commits suicide.  Teenagers are eating it up.  I watched it myself and really enjoyed it.  But.  Sorry…BUT (it’s a big but).

As one commentator pointed out tonight on the radio, they are young,  they are downright hot, they are so cool, they are all good looking, well dressed, highly alluring. The production is glossy, the music is fantastic, there is a teenager driving a Ford Mustang for goodness sake.  They are the teenagers that teenagers want to be.  They are the fashion queens, the sports jocks, the cheerleaders, the smart kids, the ones who matter.  When the teenagers your teens want to be are killing themselves in a form of revenge ritual you need to be concerned.  Maybe the reports are anecdotal, maybe not, but all suicide and self-harm agencies are reporting a rise in incidents.

So to my newest favourite poet, who has just released a new poem.  Not about suicide, but about the very opposite.  I just love this sentiment.  It reflects what I believe about social media.  When you are having fun, put the phone away.  Live in the moment.  It doesn’t last long.  Celebrate the NOW.

 

Blink and You’ll Miss It: by Esha Hourihane Clancy

Unlike a million other things, happiness is a choice.
A choice we all have and one we all make,
make for ourselves but for others we fake.
Fake a smile, fake a laugh,
whose to know, or much less care?
When you smile the world smiles back.
It can’t see past the façade we wear.

I cannot be bought by the wealthy nor donated to the poor.
Who am I? What am I for?
Why do plays and poems celebrate the aching and breaking of hearts?
The rolling of heads and the rolling of tears precede and interrupt the happier parts.
I guess poets and playwrights know all too well
that it is best to write when you are drowning in hell.
It’s easier.
What a sin it would be to pick up a pen while laughing.
To interrupt joy in such gross kind, you would certainly scare it away.
A deer in the woods isn’t so hard to catch.

Document the sad times, the sloths and the snails.
Fill oceans with tears and draw great blue whales.
Sing sad songs ’til the cows come home
but don’t ever try to write a happy poem.
Lions and tigers are too fast for your flash.
Reach for your pen and off they’ll dash.
Don’t worry about forgetting it
because it’s going to get forgotten.
Just enjoy it now, before it’s gone.

Look!

 

Cycle

Biker Gang

Cyclists

When you drive you drive alone.  When you ride you are part of a tribe.

As I cycled through Dublin earlier this week I observed something profoundly interesting.

A lady on a bicycle had an accident.  She caused the accident in fact.  She broke a red light and cycled into a taxi that was turning right.  She hit the front of his car from the side, tumbled over the bonnet and landed hard on the road.

At this point I hopped off my bike, placed it against a lamp post and ran over to see if she was hurt.  She was fine, just a little shocked.

Then I looked around and realised that five or six other cyclists had done the same as me.  She was surrounded by a lycra clad, high viz vest and bicycle helmet gang.  The driver of the taxi stepped out of his car.  Although he was totally in the right he was visibly nervous of the situation.  He was in the right but alone.  She was blatantly in the wrong, but she had a gang.

Other drivers did not get out of their vehicles to support him.  They were frustrated at the stoppage.  They just wanted the accident cleared so they could get to work.  One driver even began to honk his horn.

This little moment highlighted for me the key difference between cyclists and drivers.

Cyclists are engaged in the real world.  We are in constant danger from drivers and we can’t rely on the drivers to look out for our safety.  Our lives are in our hands.  As a result we are wide awake to our environment.  We are not enclosed from the world, we are out in the open.  We can make an easy transition from cyclist to pedestrian and back again.

If something happens nearby the cyclist is part of it.  If someone falls over they may check to see if they are OK.

Drivers are enclosed in a glass and metal box.  They are in their own private world.  They look at our world through a window.  They see it but are not part of it.  They are physically and psychologically disengaged from the reality of life outside.  They are possibly elsewhere, on a phone call, or listening to the radio.

If someone falls nearby they observe it as though they are watching it on TV.  It is not a part of their reality.  Besides, it is a lot of trouble for a driver to disengage from the vehicle, to become a pedestrian, to walk over to the person who fell, and to see if they are OK.  And if they do that the other drivers will get frustrated with you leaving your vehicle.  They will honk at you to get moving again.

It is easier to sit in your vehicle and wait for some passing pedestrian or cyclist to check out the situation.

When a driver has an accident the other drivers nearby do not empathise with the driver.  They do not get out of their cars and stand around in a group, unless it is a particularly unusual situation.  in the normal day to day world of fender-benders you stay in your car and wait it out.

If a cyclist is in an accident the situation is very different.  Other cyclists seem to appear from nowhere.  They come in droves.  They are like white blood cells racing to a point of injury in the body.  Before you know what has happened there is a gang of yellow, pink and orange people in strange space-age outfits.  They identify with each other.  They are a flock, a band, a gang.

What is true for cyclists is doubly true for bikers, and may explain a lot about why biker gangs seem so threatening.

Life should not be a journey to the grave

with the intention of arriving safely

in a pretty and well preserved body,

but rather to skid in broadside

in a cloud of smoke,

thoroughly used up,

totally worn out,

and loudly proclaiming

“Wow! What a Ride!

Hunter S. Thompson

The Cycle of Life

bike-rain1

Took on a new contract last week, and found myself back to commuting on my bicycle.  January in Dublin is not the loveliest time of the year for spinning the pedals.  We are going through a cold and wet snap of weather with cold rain and hard sleet.

That aside, it is great to be back on the bike.  It gives me a great sense of freedom.  When you cycle to work you get a workout in the morning and the evening, so you don’t need to go to artificial environments like Gyms to get exercise.

It has been three years since I did a cycle commute and the break has robbed me of a lot of fitness.  The first two days were torture.  I thought I would have a heart attack.  It’s amazing how quickly you get out of condition if you are not taking regular vigorous exercise.

Today, Saturday, I can feel the pleasant sensation of hard muscles tightening in my thighs.  My cycle yesterday was a vast improvement on the first two days.  I begin to feel in control again.

Going Down Hill on a Bicycle: A Boy’s Song; by Henry Charles Beeching

With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:—
“O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

“Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!”

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.