Day 13. 763 Miles. Feen.

Shaving removes 10 years off my reflected appearance in the mirror. Not that I’ve been around many mirrors the last couples weeks. More Muir then mirror, fa sho. Riding removes about 12 pounds from my body. I’d like to keep going and get another 12 kilograms off. Trying not to put it all back on, I’m spending the day staying busy with various activities, like cleaning my gear, packing my gear and unpacking my head. That last one involves a lot of reading and swimming in the southwest Florida sunshine… lucky me.

I’m reflecting on how many roadside memorials I bore witness to throughout this state. Florida has a lot. A lot lot. Somehow more little shrines adorned with crosses or flowers or stuffed animals than whatever iteration of flag praising Cheeto Mussolini — and there was a butt ton of those. I make no mention of the memorials until now because I really didn’t wanna end up one. Didn’t pass a single one without thinking about whoever that person was that had their life extinguished by some fuck nut who doesn’t realize the automobile is as deadly as the firearm. You hardly see anyone texting and shooting and you hardly see anyone NOT texting and driving. It’s disturbing to say the least. I’ve heard many people say Floriduh has the worst drivers. This is the third time I’ve bicycled this state — more than any beside my home — and while I’ve been brushed past by a few and incredibly vroom vroom, I can’t say I’ve found the drivers to be much worse than elsewhere, though these memorials might say otherwise.

I ride 1/2 mile to the pool, where I’m reading Lin Yutang’s The Importance Of Living. Written in 1937, it has never ceased to be ever more relevant to the present day since it’s publication. It’s basically about enjoying life and “the noble art of leaving things undone”. Something I’m not very noble, artistic, or generally proficient at. Like most Americans, I value gettin’ er done. Like few Americans, I now realize how bullshit that value is. I’m on Chapter 11, The Importance Of Travel. Human beings get maybe 25,000 sunrises in our lifetime if we’re fortunate. I’m hoping to see 36,500 of them. I could on and on about this book; I’m not gonna, get yourself a copy. Reading is fundamental. And it also allows me to take pause and reflect on my own writing.

At least 4/5th of my thoughts never make it into this journal each day. Can’t text and ride very well. And if I stop every time I have something, I’d never get more than 20 miles. So many fleeting ideas and thoughts, I’m pretty certain that I’ve solved a couple of the worlds problems — or at least a few of my own — via pedal power, letting it then fade away once me feet are on the ground. Definitely. Probably. Maybe. I dunno. Somehow someway, I set an intention to find a way to bring that number down to 50% of my thoughts never being documented. At the same time I don’t want to forfeit my own experience by being too caught up in its documentation. Like tourists in an exotic land so preoccupied with taking photos that they never enjoy where they’re at and what they’re seeing. Like those basic ass bitches who only go somewhere to get some photo so they can put it on the gram and get likes. To say they’ve been there. Not to actually be there. I cannot be that basic bitch. I will not. Even if, like this blog, the documentation is primarily for my own personal remembering and reliving — I want to make sure I balance staying in the moment and capturing some part of it for future reference and enjoyment. Both, por favor.

Laying in the mid afternoon heat, I feel totally relaxed and I recall an interaction I had about a week ago, coming out of Indialantic and heading into Daytona Shores. It previously fell into that 80% forgotten, when something rings a bell in my head. So I’m on that wonderful non-motorized bicycle trail. 35 miles of it. At some point I come to a crossing with the road. Lots of truck traffic zooming by. I ease up and apply a slight brake, slowing myself down, allowing traffic to move along, waiting for a gap to pass. I’m in no hurry. There’s a police officer on the other side of my crossing, parked up in the grass. Maybe someone’s in there, maybe not. Out on long rides, I really welcome the site of the police. Typically just their presence calms traffic, even if it’s in an overseer sort of way. Slower traffic is my goal, speeding vehicles are my enemy. Sometimes my enemy’s enemy is my friend. As I’m slowly approaching, this particular cop in a car blurbs something over the PA. I can’t make it out because traffic is cruising hard as a pull up to the crossing. Whatever he’s saying, I don’t know and I honestly don’t care. One, I’m generally good at ignoring cops, or anyone who relies solely on some unfounded authority. Two, I’m very good at ignoring anyone when they’re doing a half ass job at something. In this case, both are applicable (and in many ways are the same thing!). Anyway. More indiscernible jargon come out of his speaker; more ignoring by me. Really, I can’t hear him and if he really needs anything from me he can get his lazy ass out of his AC’d car and exercise his authority in a respectful and responsible manner that benefits society. Otherwise, I can’t do nuthin for ya man. Instead I’m focused on the moving vehicular traffic; I negotiate eye contact with a driver who slows and allows me to pass. I wave and cross. Neither of us has to come to a complete stop to do it either. We both carry on. As I clear the other side and shift gears to regain speed, this fried breakfasty meat for a human being has the audacity to then blurb out “Bicyclist: use crossing signal”. Id call him a dough bag but vaginal cleanliness products would be disrespected by the comparison. Twelve’s windows are tinted, I give him the dismissive hand and a look that says you’re an unneeded tax expenditure at this point. I pimple on the ass of society, ready to be popped and drained. I pedal along, wondering why he’s getting paid to do that. Why he feels the need to exercise authority over something as stupid as this. And the most important lesson I take away is that the motorists and myself are able to figure it all out on our own without that cops help. All he did was irritate law abiding citizens and waste taxpayers dollars. I support community policing and I support departments nationwide taking long hard looks at how they can reform and revise how they operate, much is the same way Fire took on EMS work in order to maintain relevancy and positive work in the communities we serve. Once again, I said it and I meant it. We can agree to disagree; the beautiful thing is that’s exactly what democracy is. American flag emoji.

Speaking of flags. The American flag stands out as symbol of singularity. I’m not about to praise the flag or pretend like everything is great. I will posit that the single flag on the back of my bike is a giant fuck you to all the multi-flatters out here. Why does anyone need so many other flags. If your front yard competing with the UN? What’s the basis? Y’all eat pieces of shit for breakfast? I like to believe that one flag is enough. If it’s not, maybe feel free to go live somewhere. That’s what it always come down to right? Love it or leave it? That’s such a false equivalency, as if staying and contributing to make something better is not an option. Only a Sith deals in absolutes, young Obi-Wan. Plus isn’t that sort of “cut and run”. I heard we didn’t too that? I do sincerely hope my bike USA flag is a traffic calming agent; maybe motorists will slow down and not kill me out of a sense of patriotism. More than anything, the flag represents people. And the people are the only thing I’m pledging allegiance to. You know, the “We” in the preamble. The true power lies within the citizenry, or at least it used you. When we say We the people, we mean it. When we say all power to all people, you best believe it. Get past the rhetoric and propaganda you might associate with that. Because the only power is in all people; Human is god. Not some mysterious god all those Baptists and Catholics and Muslim and Jews crowd buildings over on weekend. There’s no Heaven and there’s no Hell. Just us on Earth. Power in us. The people. The proletariat. Not the pig. That fact won’t change, no matter how much power and individuality we confer to corporations. It’s purely numbers and energy.

So now I’m chatting with my father and stepmother about the news. Like the news on TV. Not something specific. All they do is watch the news. Talk about the news. Even the non news news. Celebrity gossip. The weather. Media today is a waste of time. News media or social media. Immortal Technique would call it the 4th branch of the government. Maybe. I’ve stopped watching the news altogether years ago and I don’t feel like I miss anything important. I spend maybe an hour on social media per week and read the newspaper once a week. Get everything I need. The idea of watching the weather man on TV Instead of just going outside turns my stomach. I’d rather be alive, doing something rather than receiving whatever “information” some multi-national conglomerate deems most profitable to deliver upon my mentals. More propaganda. I don’t care if you call it left, right, or center. Liberal or conservative. I’m with none of them. What a waste. Basura. Straight garbage. I implore that they try to cut back on digesting the news cycle; they’re more concerned with this “cultural analyst” on CNN talking about the Oscars. First off, who cares about award shows anymore. Second, what in the actual fuck is a “cultural analyst”. What sort of degree is needed to call yourself that? How does one even step out of being part of culture in order to professionally analyze it? And most importantly, why would anyone on Earth want to do that? Sounds much lonelier and exhausting that any cross country bicycle ride. My 15 minutes sharing this journal on Instagram also reveals the same wave of Oscar based bullshit content. More clever, cuz less Boomers. Equally annoying. Same shit. Different toilet. Fucking “Influencers”. Fuck you. Now I’m all pissed off for nothing.

After some tasty shrimp, I calm the fuck down and realign my priorities. Notably, I’m an addict who needs a fix on my most expensive of habits. The fact that coffee prices are out of control not withstanding , I jump on the now fully unloaded All-City Space Horse. Destination: 11 miles east to the Howl Gallery in Fort Myers. And with the wind out of the west, I finally catch a tailwind! I average 24 mph over those 11 miles and meet the talented Andy Howl, who has agreed to stay par closing and proceeds to provide me with what he calls “a banger”. Its what I call a souvenir in the form of a permanent skin artwork via needle trauma. Viva La space horse! A tried and trusted steed on the ranch.

Howl Gallery is an awesome space where it’s not just tattoos and piercings, it’s also framed art and a live music venue. Super fucking cool and so is Andy. I tip him extra because he calls me a weirdo. And he ain’t lying. What a wonderful ending to a memorable long ride.

In the morning, it’s crisp and cool and moist. Like many of my favorite things. There’s fog and dew everywhere and it’s literally misting out, rather than raining. These light, fine micro drops of precipitation hang in the air. I can see it like a thin veil and it’s the perfect opportunity to go for an outdoor run, something I ain’t done in a while. 2.5 miles. I hit and quit it. Like a fiend. Feen. Fin.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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