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The Wandering Man: Coasting

Aug 08, 2014 09:45AM ● Published by Erik Dittmann

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By: Tamon Mark Uttech

Onegishimasu, how are you? When I first began riding a bicycle out on country roads, I learned to appreciate the fine art of coasting. I learned how to read the roads, see which ones that looked level were actually rising and falling. I was not in a hurry to get anywhere, just to enjoy a ride without doing too much work. I did have a destination, but again, I was in no hurry because I had given myself plenty of time. If I got somewhere a half-hour early, that was all right. The bicycle I had, had shocks built in, and I learned to appreciate them in a hurry when I tried a different bike that had no shocks but a built-in butt crusher; one time was enough with that particular bike (I got rid of it). 

Recently, I learned how to study and practice coasting with my car. I felt like a third world kid discovering that something on wheels moves. The local library is three miles from my home but I found that I could coast, with my foot off the gas pedal, for a good two miles of it! It became a fun thing to do, more just riding in the car than driving it. You can speed up anytime if you have to, but times will appear when you can take your foot off the gas and just be in the rolling-along moment. Even the same route, the same destination, is different every time. When you find that you have coasted all the way somewhere and the needle on your gas gauge has hardly moved at all, you might feel like you have gotten inside some secret joke, and actually picked up something on awareness!

I am sure that getting older has had a lot to do with learning do-nothing type things. When one learns to be careful, one automatically has less to do. Time is something that older folks understand better than their younger counterparts because they have learned to understand time as a real commodity. It costs this and that. It is not free. It is not invincible. It is not infinite. 

The realness of time does give it a playfulness. The time you have is the time closest to you. Like right now. Try going somewhere where you can just coast in your car, ride in your car. Roll along in the moment.


It's true,

you are just another car

on the road.


In Print prose july august 2014 thoughtfullness

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