Yesterday kind of got out of control. I slept so shitty on Thursday night that I was useless until early afternoon on Friday. I went out for a ride with Bill and my brother Kris at 3. It was pretty nice out, nearly 60 and the wind was less than 15mph. We ended up going farther than I should have. Again. Something over 40 miles. I kind of ran out of juice the last half hour once again. We had nearly a 20 mph average. Again. When I got home, my lungs were toast. I had hoped to go to Lawrence early and have dinner with Brian (Jensen), but I ran out of time.
The Josh Ritter concert in Lawrence was at 7. Actually, the concert wasn’t until 8, but the doors opened at 7. The place was packed. The concert was great once again. Josh Ritter has been coming to Lawrence for over 10 years. He played a ton of different music than he did when I saw him in NYC last weekend. Towards the end of the show, Josh said something off the cuff like he could really use a beer. Catherine instantly asked me for some money and the next thing I knew, she was down on the main floor, standing at the front of the stage, handing him a cold Freestate beer. He downed it in about 3 seconds. He reached down to thank her, but she’d already taken off back to the balcony where we were sitting. Pretty funny stuff.
Anyway, toward the end of the night, he got into a little philosophical spiel about how great of a time we live in. He said something like, “Fuck nostalgia, we live in a great time.” It wasn’t quite like that, but it meant that. I started thinking about it while walking Bromont and I think he is pretty right. We live is a pretty great time. At least here in the US.
So here’s my little spiel about now-
We have it pretty good in the United States. We have heat in our homes. We have food. We hardly ever have to face the elements, unless we choose to. We don’t have to dig in the ground, again, unless we choose to. We have it pretty good. Our daily lives are much more comfortable than our grandparents were.
The only problem with our time is that everyone else on the planet is beginning to realize how we get to live. That wasn’t the case when I raced bicycles in Europe and elsewhere more often. Everyone then, just had this imagination of what the United States was like. Now, through the internet and television, nearly everyone on the planet can actually see, somewhat, what it is like to like in America.
That isn’t necessarily a good thing for us. Because, we’re living much better than the rest of the world.
I used to race a ton in South and Central America. On the road and MTB. I’ve race in Peru, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia, Guatemala, lots of places. I experienced a lot down there. I finally decided that I wasn’t going to race “South of the Border” anymore because of the inability of the locals to actually participate. I thought that the money my bicycle was worth could feed a family of 4 in most of these countries. For years. The sport of bicycle racing was completely out of reach for an average person that lives there. It didn’t seem right.
Then, a couple years later, I changed my mind. I rethought it and decided that it was okay to go back and race. I came to the conclusion that I was just entertainment for the locals. It was free entertainment at that. Most of the places I raced, there was a crazy amount of people watching. Unbelievable hoards. I decided that I was making their lives better by allowing them to leave their “normal” lives for a bit and see something not available to them. At a lot of these small towns, I was probably the first American that most of these people had seen. And they were curious. So it was alright.
But now, through the internet, most people throughout the world, now, have a preconceived notion of what America is. A lot is it is great. But, some of it seems wrong. At least to people looking in.
This time, right now, is an important time in human history. It is a time when nearly every human on the planet becomes cognizant of how every other human lives. It is super cool. I know more about the rest of the world, at this very moment, than I knew the first 30 years of my life. But, everyone else knows some about us. And it’s not necessarily the best things about us. That is the way it works. So, it doesn’t seem fair to a lot of people.
I’m not saying it is supposed to be fair, but the reality is that it isn’t. And, the problem with it not being fair is that there are a lot of people around the world that are not happy with us because of this unfairness. I don’t necessarily blame them.
Our lives are going to change a lot over the next couple decades. A lot. And we have some input to affect those changes. We need be compassionate. And knowledgeable about the rest of the world. We have an obligation to this. If not just because it’s right, then for selfish reasons. Unless someone comes up with some sort of cold fusion or a way to desalinate water, humans are going to have some issues with power and food. And we, as Americans, consume a lot of both of these things. Proportionally, way more than the average Earth inhabitant. And that is only going to “work” for so long.
If everyone’s standard of living is going to get better, then, most likely, ours is going to have to get worse. It already has. Prices of commodities are at all time highs. And they aren’t going to ever go back to “old” prices. Our infrastructure is going to be much more expensive to maintain. Prices of oil is going to stay high. So, the price of fixing roads and buying car tires, and lots of other stuff, is never going to be what it was a decade ago. Everything is going to cost us much more.
I’m okay with it. I don’t mind giving up a little of my standard of living if it allows a lot of other people elsewhere to live a little bit better. But, I’m not sure I’m in the majority here. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority. But, it actually doesn’t matter. It’s going to happen either way. It already is. We need to accept this as something that is going to be. Something like global warming. It really doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not. It is happening and we need to accept that. The same way that this is happening. And hopefully we’ll address it.
Let’s all remember that we got really lucky with the “roll of the dice” and were born in the United States. Let’s act accordingly.