Existential Gravity (Definition #1)

27 December, 2005 Temperature: 32 degrees

It was tough to go back to work after four days off. Our holiday was a nice balance of rest and riding, however, so I shouldn’t complain.

Friday through Sunday were spent with my family, doing the things we do every Christmas. My daughter is getting older, and now she wants to be a rock star when she grows up. So my parents bought her this obnoxious “Barbie Guitar” device, which makes the most gawdawful noises in approximation of some Britney Spears banality.

By Monday morning, I could stand it no longer, and I went out riding with my buddy Mark, as described in that horrible poem yesterday. See what watching your daughter perform pop music will do to your sanity?

But today, it was back to the grind. The roads were dry and mostly sand-free. I was wearing my new Darien jacket with the Kanetsu electric liner underneath, and those provided all the heat I needed. It was an easy ride.

Work really dragged. Much of the work force is on vacation, and it is hard to get anything done without encountering a missing link in the chain, usually indicated by having to leave a voice message, or not having your email returned.

Headlight  Dogs.

So maybe this is a good time to explain something I mentioned in a previous entry: Existential Gravity.

Now, I see this term bandied about these days, mostly in reference to theater or other arts, but I want you to know that I coined it a long time ago to give a name to a phenomenon we all recognize.

Existential Gravity takes effect as soon as you walk into the door of your workplace, assuming you would rather be somewhere else. Your body suddenly feels heavier, your mind sags under the load, and time slows down to a crawl. It remains this way for the duration of your workday, and doesn’t stop until you swing a leg over your motorbike to begin your ride home.

Start that engine, and time speeds up again. A huge weight is lifted off your shoulders, and your mind regains it’s customary alertness. This is because you are about to do what you would choose to do any other time you aren’t working: Ride!

Does the same thing happen when you get into your car at the end of a hard day at work?

Not so much.

Why? Because you are probably facing an hour or more stuck in traffic, inching along in the queue, raging at other drivers, or tuning out by yakking on your cellphone or listening to the radio. Not many people would choose droning along in a box, in traffic, as one of their favorite activities.

The car guy, the box-person, is going to jump on the freeway, because he can just pick a lane and then stop thinking. Eventually he will wake up when he reaches his exit, but until then, he just zones out and wastes another precious hour of his life.

But the motorcyclist is going to wander the sidestreets, poking around, exploring here and there. This is what we do every weekend for FUN! When we ride to work, we get to do it twice… every day.

If, for some reason, we have to get home in a hurry, we can still do that much more easily on a motorbike. I honestly can’t understand why this isn’t much more common. What is wrong with these people? It’s almost as if they have been sucked so far down the well of Existential Gravity that they cannot find their way out again.

Do you think that’s it? Quick, somebody… get a rope!

6 Responses to “Existential Gravity (Definition #1)”

  1. Dan Jones Says:

    What a blast! I’ve been following your blog since the television coverage. You seem to be having almost TOO much fun.

    I live in Plymouth fairly close to your sponsor’s dealership. I’ve been eyeballing the Baron scooters for quite a while–the PM 150 specifically. I’m wondering how you like riding a scooter as opposed to a motorcycle. Do you find the handling to be significantly different? I’d appreciate any comments you might have on the differences… or similarities.

    I’d be using mine mainly for errands and pleasure riding. Retired so no need to commute.

    Happy New Year!

  2. mnscooter Says:

    Hello Dan, welcome aboard.

    I like riding the scooter just as much as riding my motorcycles, because of both the similarities and the differences.

    Let me `splain…

    I ride this scooter much like a little sportbike on dry pavement, minus the monkey-crouch riding position. When traction is in doubt, I ride it like a short dirtbike, throwing the foot out there in the turns. Since the scooter weighs less than most motorcycles, it is more forgiving when you get out of shape. It really is quite a hoot!

    With the step-through design and the absence of foot controls, you have more riding style options. Steering is much quicker than on a motorcycle, because of the 13-inch wheels, but that is easy to get used to.

    The Baron PM sounds like a perfect fit for how you want to ride. Please keep in touch and let us know what you decide?

    Ride well,

  3. Brad Says:

    Existential Gravity - what a great catchphrase. When people ask me why I ride to work, I usually tell them that I’m getting in my daily recreation time. But I don’t do the winter thing, even though I enjoy reading your blog.

  4. Kurt Layman Says:

    I like the concept of existential gravity. I find when I ride the world is lighter and everything has a heightened acceleration. This makes my ST1100 an anti-e-gravity machine! The more people ride the less existential gravity? Could this be answer to the scientific conundrum of the acceleration of our expanding universe? I think there could be some big government grant money in this…

  5. mnscooter Says:

    Hmmm… government grant money, you say? From THIS government? Not unless we can develop it for weapons applications, I’m afraid.

    Besides, they already use E.G. as a weapon, against everyone currently in prison.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to get all heavy on you. Existential Gravity was what the guy was talking about when he said, “We just want to be free to ride our machines, without being hassled by The Man.” We all know what it is, I just gave it a name.

    Thanks for writing, Kurt and Brad.

    Ride well,

  6. irondad Says:

    Man, you hit nail on the head! That is exactly the way I feel at work! My ride home is where I feel exactly what you expressed. It’s what I call my rejuvenation time. I get my personal empowerment back, my good mood back, and when I get home I am ready to wrap my wife and family in my arms and rejoice that they are there waiting. This would not be nearly the case in a “cage”.

    P.S. mnscooter, go back to the “chili” section and look at my reply to you.


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