Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Pecan, the Geese, and the Ferrari: Decision Time

Yesterday I had to put gas in my car. I drive a car sometimes, but because I've been riding my bicycle so much lately, it's been a long time since I had to pay the petroleum piper. So as I was standing there watching the dollar-o-meter spinning its crazy dance, and breathing in the perfume of gasoline, I was thinking about the choice I was making. I am not completely anti-car, but I believe that we would all be better off if more people walked, bicycled, or took other means of transport than a car, particularly in crowded cities, particularly for trips of about five miles or less. This belief lead me to feel reluctance about gassing up. But as I mentioned I haven't given up the car, and it didn't make sense to me to leave it parked in the driveway empty or to run out of fuel somewhere else. But there was reluctance, doubt, concern, questioning that stayed with me. Yes I had to haul stuff that would have been essentially impossible to manage on the bike. Still, it grated on my nerves to be locked up in a shiny metal box in mighty pretty country on a mighty pretty day*.
*expression once used by a man on a horse near Peter's Canyon in the Superstition Mountains to describe where I was about to hike. He was correct.

This morning while commuting by bike to work, I came across this pecan posing on the pavement. When I stopped to take its portrait, I had no idea what I would do with the photo, but it interested me anyway. Possibly a continuation of the consideration of the comestibles that can currently be found on the ground around here. Just as I clicked the shutter release, some of the geese that winter in Phoenix and spend their summers around the Madison River in Montana flew low overhead. I assume they were part of the migratory group of geese that David Quammen wrote about in The Flight of the Iguana, although I have no tracking or other evidence for that, it's my blog and it pleases me to believe so, and it's not really material to where I am going with this. I paused in my commute to listen to the haunting honking of the geese, who were probably just flying from where they spent the night snuggling with their mates-for-life to where they were going to spend the morning eating. Just as they flew out of sight, a Ferrari F430 rolled by. I didn't take a picture of it, partially because I was in awe of its mechanical perfection and mesmerized by the musical purr of its engine, and partly because this is not a car blog. I knew there would already be plenty of other, better images out there anyway.

I mentioned my feelings about filling up my car the day before to give you an idea of my mindset when I encountered the pecan, the geese, and the Ferrari. When I pose the question in just a moment, though, don't get me wrong: that bright red, shiny F430 took my breath away. The mere sound of its engine kicks my heart rate up a notch and I don't think that can be helped. As I watched it drive off down the street, a question posed itself to me. I remembered (don't ask me how these things work, I have no idea) that in Mexico the word for both pecans and walnuts is nuez. The question: if someone offered you a free Ferrari F430 OR a free, fresh nuez right off the tree, which one would you accept? Wow. Crazy question, right? Totally obvious? And if you don't choose the car, how to explain that to pretty much anyone: you chose what??? Maybe I just needed an espresso at Chestnut Lane or Trailhead Bike Cafe to think it over. But no, these choices lose impact, authenticity, if delayed, so I made my decision right there on the side of the road, got back on my bike, and rode into work with a smile on my face. Get up. Go ride.
  Better than a Ferrari

4 comments:

  1. those look like my Pecans. Little round ones.

    I've been driving my truck all week to work. Love my truck, but I like riding my bike more. Just doing it because that baby could come any day now. Driving saves me five minutes of commute each way. It IS amazing how much more it costs to drive and my truck does not get bad mileage.

    If I won the lottery, probably the first thing I would get for myself would be a new Titus FTM. More fun than a sports car. I don't need to impress women anymore either. Yup, give me a Titus or two. Maybe that Yeti 575. Something like that.

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  2. FraSiec good choice in case of lottery victory! I recently read about mountain biker Brad Duke who did win the lottery. The magazine had a great shot of all the bikes he bought, although I don't see it online.

    http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s1-6-12-21482-1,00.html

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  3. Ferrari FTW!
    Wouldn't even have to drive it. Just park it in the garage and admire it.

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  4. limom as I was snapping the "Friday Lean!" pic, an Audi R8 whooshed past. Although time did stop for me for an instant, I'm still going with the nut. Or like Fra an FTM + Yeti 575 FTW.

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