Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

26 November 2010

The Cycles of Black Friday

No, I didn't go to any of the "Black Friday" sales today.  To me, they're like New Year's Eve in Times Square:  something to be done once, to say that you've done it.   Yes, I've done both.  No, I don't intend to do either again.

The simple explanation is that I don't like being among the BF or NYETS crowds.  Actually, I don't like being among crowds generally.  So what am I doing living in New York, you ask.  Well, I live in the Big Apple precisely because I don't like great masses of people, just as I became a writer and teacher because I was, and in some ways still am, shy.  No, I'm not being cute, contrarian or Zen.  Actually, I never have been any of those things, and Zen is the only one of them I have even the remotest chance of becoming.  But I digress.

It goes something like this:  the more I like people--well, some individual people, anyway--the more I dislike being among masses of them.   And the more I live with and by my shyness, the more I find to say and the more I have the need to say it.  Likewise, the more I enjoy shopping, the less I like to be part of the throngs who are hunting bargains.

All of this has to do with what led me to a lifelong passion for cycling.  When I first started to take long rides and realized that I would benefit from a bike with gears, pedaling while astride two wheels when you were old enough to step on a gas pedal and accelerate four wheels was still something of an act of rebellion, at least in the US.  Also, counterculturism and consumerism were still seen as antithetical to each other:  Birkenstocks weren't yet a brand, or at least a consumer tag.  I still believe that good consumer choices might save you money, but they're not going to save the planet.  I also realize what a position of privilege it is to be able to make choices according to a company's "carbon footprint" or to be a locivore.  Maybe that's the reason I never was a liberal and never will be a hipster.

Anyway, I have my own bragging rights.  I once moved myself from one apartment to another entirely on my bicycle.   Black Friday shoppers, including the one in the photo, had nothing on me(!):


  1. I like the analogy between the sales and Times Square. I look at snow skiing on the 4th of July that way. I just wish I'd kept the lift ticket...

  2. Steve: If you find it, I'd love to see it!