Friday, January 05, 2007

Thinking like a Woman

The Venus and Mars book is full of concepts that have become cliche's. Fact is, the title of the book is pretty much a cliche'. You can be in a discussion with someone else and regardless of your respective genders, one of you can say, "Oh, yeah. It's like in 'Venus and Mars' and the other will more often than not nod their head in emphatic agreement.

Of course, generally, the book over generalizes. Either gender can say things like, "You never listen to me" or "Why can't you learn?" and errors of thinking occur regardless of whether one is motivated by logic or emotions. The stereotype is that men are better at logic, and women at emotions. One good thing, however, is that we can all (generally) agree that it is good to have a diversity of people with diverse skills in our communities, and that it is good to have people skilled in either logic or emotions: science and art. Not that any of us can't be in a different frame of mind on any given moment of any given day.

Pre-checking a motorcycle for the ride is important. If you relie upon your dealer's maintenance to catch everything, then you're tires may not be at the best pressure for the riding that you are doing. The book number is merely a suggested starting point. Your weight and payload, weather conditions, the type of ride planned may all call for some deviation from the recommended pressure.

I'll admit that I don't check pressure as often as I should. My goal is to do so at least once a week, and for me it is more difficult due to the permanent, hard side bags and position of the disc brake on the BMW Cruiser. So, it was probably two weeks out of the dealer's last maintenance... okay, maybe three or four, before I checked my tires and found that the front one was about six pounds high. This would make sense if you looked at my waiste-line, my most-common rider, and all that I keep in the side bags and back box. I don't doubt that a helpful technician added those extra pounds out of thoughtfullness. Problem is, what if, for this bike, the manufacturer saw people like me coming and the recommended number is THE number to use? Well, it is.

With six fewer pounds of air, handling improved considerably. This is funny because I was having all kinds of mental drama about why handling had recently been so... problematic. More on that some other time.

At the same time that I corrected the tire pressure, I noticed that the left hard bag was loose -- jiggley. I checked the right bag. "Yep," it was secure. "Jiggeliness" was not part of the manufacturer's design. Long story not-so-long, the braces that held the bottom of the bag had broken off of the frame. More acurately, the part of the frame that connected to the braces had broken. Not the best design, the way screw holes weakened the frame instead of the braces. There were screws fixing the top of the bag to the frame, higher, so there never was any danger of the bags falling off, and the fact is that I could probably of put the bag back on without the lower braces and just not used it for anything, but Bob's pointed me to a good welder whose advice I will head so that the bike will end up good as new.

Meanwhile, the cruiser is missing the left side bag and I did not feel like riding an obviously-injured friend. That is why I was riding the Metro to work, this morning and found myself thinking: "Boy, the people who run this Metro system sure don't care about the needs of people who use it," thus extrapolating a brief personal annoyance into an extreme thesis.

(more to come....)


Of course the people who run the Metro System care about some people. They probably care some about all of the people they serve. Still with millions of people riding and paying one or two dollars each going each way, I have to be critical about those many important people who sat in conference rooms a few steps from adequate rest room facilities, but fail to provide the same for residents and visitors to our nation's capitol. Anybody can become ill, get hit with a flu bug, anytime.

"How much do any of us think about each other?" I wondered.

I chuckled to myself as the cliche, "You only love me for my money," came to mind. How true that is, sometimes. Hotels that need to make a profit in a competitive market make sure there is are rest rooms available to guests and generally there is one a few steps from the entrance. Who hasn't hurried home with that the first order of business.

As the day moved on, the cliche stuck with me. I sat at my desk, looking out over the Kenedy Center with it's grand American flags to Arlington Cemetery and a lone flag on the hill. Do we only honor the memory of our veterans because their lives afford us comfortable living, a modicum of wealth? Do we only love our country for its money?

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