This post started with an e-mail from my friend Dean W. Here's what he said:
"Lesson: After applying SIPDE, let it go, man. Just let it go."
This was a preface to a news story from Canada. Here's the story quoted from the CBC News website:
Two people are dead after a motorcycle crash in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.
Police say the crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. PT Saturday on the Nanaimo Parkway, between the Jinglepot Road and College Drive exits.
The 17-year-old driver of a pickup truck went to change lanes when he spotted a motorcycle in his blind spot.
The driver of the truck corrected, police say, but the 51-year-old motorcycle driver pulled up beside the pickup and glared at the teen inside.
During this exchange, police say, the motorcycle driver failed to negotiate a curve in the road and crashed.
The motorcycle driver and his 40-year-old female passenger were taken to hospital where they both later died.
Isn't that often how it goes? I'm deeply grieved by the fact that two people died in this incident. I can almost see myself in this situation. Trying to scorch the young man with my hot glare. Focusing my laser beam eyes so intently that I miss important stuff. Like the upcoming corner.
I'm a bit aggressive and borderline combative by nature. Thus I have to continuously remind myself of one of my mantras.
"The Anger Demon, once unleased, can often turn upon he whom freed it."
On the off chance that you're not aware of the term SIPDE here is the quick explanation. It's the process for gathering good information and making good decisions while riding.
Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute.
Notice that four of the five parts are mental skills. The objective is to use the 80% that's mental to make small adjustments ahead of time, thus staying out of critical trouble. Which goes along with our definition of an expert rider.
"An expert rider is one who uses expert mental skills to avoid using expert physical skills."
Successful riding is mostly mental. Which means attitude is almost everything.
Katie and I found ourselves in Washington State on Friday and Saturday last week. I've always wanted to stop at one of the big Cabela's stores. I've seen two. One on the Washington / Idaho border on I-90 and one at Lacey, Washington just off I-5. We stopped at the Lacey store on Saturday. What a place!
Thinking of this post I snapped some shots with the G11.
We share the road with some lumbering creatures who seem to be in no hurry whatsoever. They don't have to be large sized in actuality. They simply have this attitude that blocking the pathway is their right. These creatures are usually found in the fast lane going the same speed as those in the slow lane.
There are those who think they become invincible in their vehicles. These ones do things that they wouldn't do outside of a car. In other words, face to face with us they would shrink in horror. Somehow they've convinced themselves that they are shrink wrapped with impenetrable armor. I always have to fight the impulse to drag them out of their vehicles and smack them around a bit.
A lot of drivers just seem like dumb herd animals. You can see their eyes but it's a sure bet there's nobody inside there. Weirdly enough, this kind of driver is pretty effective at hitting motorcyclists. They disguise themselves as left-turning drivers. We should all know better but still seem to trust eye contact. Pity.
It's so easy to get pissed off at those who show such selfish stupidity. Stupid and Selfish are the two traits that get me the most riled. Yet, they are also the two that are least likely to be fixed. You know the saying. "You can't fix stupid."
Yet, I can't bring myself to say that there's nothing that can be done about it. Ninety percent of the drivers seem to fit into one or both of those categories. If I shrug my shoulders in a gesture of giving up, what does that say about the human race? So I keep on getting mad and frustrated. It has to stay inside, though. I'm more than capable of being like the lion below and letting it show. The lion's got a pretty fierce look going, for sure. Trouble is, all his attention is on the intended victim.
That's when we miss stuff, though. Nothing important. Just things like oncoming traffic, cars itching to pull out in front of us, and upcoming corners!
We certainly need to be assertive. On the other hand, we have to keep it in check when appropriate. I like to think of it as controlled aggression.
One choice we might make is to rear up like this bear. Intimidating and dangerous. Sometimes the danger is to us, though.
The best choice is to be like this seal. Thick skinned and letting stuff slide off like water on its hide.
The trick is to not actually look like a seal. Chill the attitude and keep the cool. After all, we still gotta look good!
Miles and smiles,