Had the Quickbeam down off the hook, rigged and ready to go. Had just finished lubing the chain with some new wonderslick stuff which I’d been wanting to try. The winds were already up at 8:45, blowing the branches around and confusing the heck out of the early season fruit buds.
I’d laid out the rain jacket, the Rainlegs, my warmer hats, shoe covers and a pair of wool gloves. Then I just stared through the kitchen window for a few moments as the rain began. Thicker clouds to the west, which is the way storms usually come in around here. Thought and pondered a bit. Sighed. Walked outside. Rolled the ‘beam back in and wiped off the raindrops.
Pulled the plug and invoked the Costanza Rule.
I’ve used this to guide me over the past year. It’s easy to let enthusiasm overwhelm reason. Which means it’s relatively easy for me to throw a leg over the bicycle and go, even when I’m beat down exhausted. Serves one well when out on the course on a 200k, but it tends to get me into trouble when trying to balance life.
To clarify, my application of the rule popularized in a long-ago episode of Seinfeld has roots in the idea that George Costanza tended to - um - mess things up with unerring consistency. So, he decided to do the opposite of whatever idea came into his head, with truly impressive results. It was a brilliant bit of writing, funny and true.
So, when dummy me wakes up on Saturday morning at around 10:45 am (normal wakeup around 6:30-7 am), still feeling exhausted, naps a bit in the afternoon and generally pokes around, then decides he really wants to ride the new wheel he’s set up on the Quickbeam on Sunday, even though he’s not feeling absolutely on top of the world, some shred of coherent sanity pulls the lever and the Costanza Rule bell goes off.
While I was standing at the kitchen window, watching the rain fall, it struck me that while I wanted to ride. I didn’t feel like riding.
Which is probably a pretty good indicator.
It’s been kind of a crazy pace. Been auditioning like mad the last couple weeks. Hammering to work and back. Hitting the yoga classes. Getting some new entries up on the Gallery pages. Looking back now, I can see how it was a pretty brisk tempo.
But, the only reason I realize that now is because I took the step back and didn’t roll out today.
Because if I had headed out, I’d be that much more ground down before the start of the week. Which would have been easy to do. Once out there, the muscle memory kicks in, then the endorphins make you feel good. The heart starts pumping a bit more full, and the breaths come deeper. You are free and rolling, stripping away the thoughts and the indecision. Most of the time, that is great - no - restorative. But sometimes, like today, it’s destructive.
We all, perhaps, crave that which is a bit bad for us.
And it takes the conscious act to pause. Breathe. Not make the action.
And there’s a time when that is the right choice.