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THE DREAM AND LIE OF A CYCLISTS’ SOUL

Turn off the computer. Switch off the light. Drag on the, still-damp-from-the-morning-commute, kit with a shudder and step out into the crisp, cold evening – the cars in the car park, belonging to those haggard and knackered people who work in central command next door, just beginning their night-shift, still glistening wet from the earlier snow shower.

Softly open my mouth in the cold: The evening commute, a time to hit the road home and brush off the accumulated fat of the day.

There’s no switching off these days. The accumulated fat, writhing with maggots turning into flies that irritate and pester a frazzled mind. It was, almost, more bearable with the threat of redundancy looming, at least you could switch off then. Now, that survival has been assured, the gruesome ‘bigger picture’ reality; the job is to help keep a failing system afloat – civil servant mugs churning in the great mixer with those sweeping reforms and austerity. Austerity and political ideology. The pinch pinch of budgets and services. No one talks about it, but it’s there. £20billion (10%) “efficiency” savings by 2015. 2015 is here. Cut, snip, chop. 32,000 jobs cut from the “bloated bureaucracy” since 2010 with the “efficiency” savings pushed further down to frontline – rash decisions made by those few left to keep the thing stitched together. £20billion efficiency savings. The Treasury has walked away. Get on with it they say. You’re being sold down the river, trust me. There, some political and social comment – it’s a time I can’t make any sense of and the commute is offering no solace.

This evening I tried to concentrate on the rhythm; the pedal stroke – but it made me horribly aware of my frozen feet and I begun to feel nauseous. Back to those nagging concerns, then.

January and it’s cruel brumal clinch. Air that chokes the lungs full of sputum and energy levels dip. This time, our time, is relentless. Selfish. Self regarding. Spiteful. Sold the lie; the cult of productivity and self-esteem.

The commute is fraught. Physically demanding. Cold. Wet. Lonely. Sensually hindered. Mentally unrewarding.

My brother would look up at me through his big-brother eyebrows and say “why bother, then?” And I would nod and say “indeed, why bother”.

Further works

Radiohead – Seperator

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