Get away from my Fish

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Back in the 80’s, when I was sponsored by Levi’s, I was walking through Ghirardelli Square in S.F. I was out there with Michael Fatka and Andy Paulin, who lived South was with us too. It was kind of late at night and the square businesses were closed. We were just window shopping and there was a guy walking around, checking to make sure the doors were locked on all the businesses. He was talking on a radio. I noticed that he kept going by this big bag on the ground and messing with it. When he was checking another door, I walked over to where the bag was, and laying there was a huge manta ray fish. I called over to Michael and Andy to come over and look. Right then, the guy comes running over and starts yelling, “Get away from my fish!” I backed up and realized that they guy wasn’t a security guard, but a street person. He was just talking into his fist, acting like he was talking on the radio, making static and all. The guy really didn’t want anyone anywhere near “his fish”.

I’ve been on my back working on the Isuzu for the past two days. It is close to the worst thing I could be doing for hurt ribs. Hurt ribs and concrete are like oil and water. This morning, when I was out in the driveway, I noticed a parked car in front of my house. There wasn’t anyone in it. I was wondering what the car was doing parked in front of my house. And I was mildly perturbed that someone, I didn’t know, was parked there.

I think it is really strange how Americans, or maybe people from other countries too, take such a stance on possession. I don’t really understand why our society has strayed so far from reality when it comes to “our” stuff. I’m guilty here too.

When I was a kid, I lived in a pretty active neighborhood. Lots of kids on my end of the block, older people on the other end. But, other than maybe one house, there wasn’t a yard that I couldn’t go into. There wasn’t a house, that if I hit it with my Frisbee, that I would be worried about the people coming out and yelling at me. I knew them all by name and they knew me.

When I first started riding bikes seriously, there weren’t any other cyclists on the road, other than school kids. No one would ever honk their horns. No one yelled, pissed that I was getting in “their” way, using “their” road. Now, we all know how that is.

Now, I’m not sure why, but it must be through a slow evolution, people tend to be exactly opposite. They don’t want anyone on their property, no matter what.

Kansas has less public land than any other state, I believe. I think it is less than 2% public. Somehow, people in Kansas think that they should own everything where they live. What they don’t realize, is that each and everyone of them/us, are just temporary tenants on the land. That all of the time, the land out lasts us, and most of the time, our houses do.

Unless you live in brand new construction, you are living in someone else’s house. And someone else is going to be living in it eventually, most likely before you die, but nearly for sure after you do.

So, I don’t get why we are so protective of something that we really don’t owe forever. We’re just care takers.

This all came about because I was running Bromont around the block and some guy yelled to me about Bromont cutting the corner through the guys yard. I stopped and talked to the guy and eventually it was alright. But, still, why get all worked up because a medium sized dog runs through your yard. It wasn’t like he stopped and left something there. Bromont was just bending over the guy’s grass, at Mach 5.

I can’t imagine how pissed the guy would have gotten if it would have been a few school kids walking there. Even if that was the case, it’s not like they are doing any damage. It isn’t like the people that live there don’t walk on their own grass. It seems to just be the principle of the action.

Another example is our cars. Cars get dings in them, it is part of the deal of car ownership. And every time that someone, by accident, opens their car’s door and happens to ding mine, it pisses me off a little. But, come on, do I really expect anyone to leave a note and their phone number? I don’t and they shouldn’t. It’s inevitable and just part of life.

Somehow, we all need to change our mindsets about our possessions. We, this generation, has more stuff than any previous generation of Americans. There are more cars, more houses, more of everything than there were just a few years ago. And lots more stuff than there was a generation ago, not even addressing two generations ago. What is hard to understand is why people were less possessive of their stuff two decades ago, when there was less stuff around?

I don’t know how to fix the problem. I guess, for a start, it would be great if everyone tried to meet their neighbors. Maybe even know the names of the all the kids in the block. But, that isn’t going to happen quickly. I, for one, am going to try to be much more tolerate of people. try to not get so worked up about something that is very small in the big picture. I think this is going to have to be a conscious process. Somehow, we’ve all be brainwashed into where we are now. We’re going to have to try to ignore some of our greedy initial reactions and logically think it through. Let’s let other people look at our fish some. It doesn’t hurt anything.

12 thoughts on “Get away from my Fish

  1. AP

    Interesting thoughts. The only problem I see is with people getting to know each other. This is a great idea, but nearly impossible when everyone is buried in their phone at all times ‘connecting’ with the world.

  2. Doug P

    I guess that’s why I like the West so much…we had so much “worthless” land here a few generations ago the rail and mining companies decided to give it to the govt. Now we have national forest land that covers a huge percentage of the West.

    In France where I spend summers there are woods all around which belong to the local communities. I ride my bike in these woods and I am struck by the open nature of these parks. They seem to invite the cyclist, walker or jogger to use them. My dog and I spend hours together, him running and me riding, for miles and miles without seeing anyone except a few farmers at work. It is hard to come back home when I realize our runs have ended for another year, and he will be on the leash again. So I wait for summer to come again, and the opportunity to ride the hills of Burgundy I have come to know and love so much. And, Steve, if you come through France one of these summers, you will be welcome at the house.

  3. Formerly Jim

    I don’t agree with the car door thing — it’s a fundamental sign of disrespect. The cutting corner thing is just normal. Depends on your car I guess. I don’t want people throwing their bikes against mine at the bike rack either. I like my bikes. My car has no dings in it but for the trunk. A girl ran a stop sign on a bike. How ironic. She was carrying her wheel on a borrowed bike with steel rims and slammed into me in the pouring rain. She was bloodied and crying so I offered to meet her at the shop with her wheel, which did not fit in my car’s trunk. So I walked there in the rain while my wife drove the car. She was still crying there so I gave her a hug and she cried even more. So I got my friends at the shop to take care of her. Later I found a dent and called her. We had a nice chat, she offered to make some glass ware for me but I knew that was a dead end. The worse part was she was very cute but stunk to high heaven so it took a few washings of my jacket before her smell was gone. I don’t regret helping her though, and I hope she appreciates it. I think of her sometimes when looking at the dent. Her name is Annika.

    My wife saw a ray the other day while riding her bike, same bay. Bike riding is awesome.

    A car was in front of my next door neighbor’s house for 4 days. No one cared, thinking someone was having a guest. Our houses are close together. My neighbor’s nosy friend came over, started looking around. I had noticed the windows were rolled down. He said there were bullet holes in the passenger’s side. I said your imagination is running wild per usual. On the other side there were 4 holes plugged up with paper towels. They were brown to match the color of the suv. Then we noticed the windows weren’t rolled down they were shot out. ok.

    A day later someone shows up from parking; turns out the vehicle had dropped someone off at the hospital two weeks prior after the shooting. The driver must have tried to camo the car but the lack of windows and paper towels made it too conspicuous so he dumped it here, but was courteous enough to curb his wheels on our steep hill. He did a great job getting in very close to the curb perfectly parallel. It’s not as easy as you think. Anyway I was sort of glad he did it because had the thing rolled he would’ve hit something in my yard or my car, which would’ve been a headache.

    The previously has been written in the style of Steve.

  4. burnt

    This is why I read this blog. I come here for the racing insights (which are superb) and every now and then Mr. Tilford writes a post like this one. Keep up the good work, sir.

  5. chuck martel

    Simply touching someone else’s vehicle is an enormous affront, making a mark on it is even worse. But it’s OK to splash mud all over it. I don’t get it. The other day a bituminous truck sprinkled rocks all over in front of me and one chipped my windshield. I contacted the paving company but there isn’t any cooperation from them. I haven’t seen one of their trucks yet so I could break the headlights out.


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