A fellow blogger periodically waxes philosophical about the meaning of time and space and our particular place therein. Some theorists suggest that time and space are more flexible, possibly involving multiple parallel universes in which we simultaneously exist, yet in which our actions (at any point in time) vary minutely thus offering an infinite number of life scenarios, endlessly repeated.
Personally I like to think there’s only one of me, occupying my own little corner of space and time, all by myself. And I expect my friends and relatives would likely agree that one of me is just fine, thank you. Or to put it another way, I am unlikely to be near the top of the list as they create perfect clones of perfect people to some day send to inhabit Mars, or undertake some other such futuristic endeavour of heroic proportions.
And I like it that way because when someone else enters my space, bad things sometimes happen.
We needed a few grocery items – small stuff that would easily fit in my saddle bags and not get vibrated to mush on the way home like fresh picked strawberries would (trust me on this one). And since it was another nice day I decided to forgo the nearest store (20 miles away) in favour of one that is about twice as far, figuring that if you have to go out anyway you might as well make the most of it.
Thus was set the stage for today’s tragedy.
I wouldn’t normally have been on the road between Burnstown and Renfrew today. That’s not to disparage the route as it’s part of one of my favourite riding loops. With little traffic, a few hills, sweeping curves, and well-tended farms and orchards on both sides of the road it’s a great escape from the major highway and a perfect place to practice the art of Zen riding, of being one with your bike.
Squirrels are curious creatures. I don’t think I have ever seen a squirrel not running. Sure they sit still when they’re emptying the just-filled bird feeder, or digging up the freshly planted spring bulbs in the garden, but when they move they run. They don’t walk. They run. Flat out. And they’re about as unpredictable as Microsoft Vista running on a machine with 256Mb of main memory – that little pea-sized brain quickly overloads causing the squirrel equivalent of the dreaded blue screen.
Today I saw this particular squirrel dart out of the ditch ahead of me, flying full tilt across the road. I immediately snapped out of my Zen trance and did the appropriate space-time calculation determining that he would safely cross well ahead of my front wheel. Which he did. Whew. But no sooner was he clear that he had his own blue screen moment and turned back. Thump..Thump.
That’s the kind of bad thing that can happen when you get into someone else’s space and time. Which proves… something, but I’m not sure what. Perhaps it’s that one person’s great riding day may turn out to be not so great for everyone involved.