On Your Left: The Passholes

You just know this guy’s a Passhole.

Though I tend to leave most of the cultural posts on our blog to our beloved contributor Jr. Worthy, every now and again I get so inspired, so ignited, so revved up about something that I find there is no other outlet than to write about it on Bums Logic. Whether or not my reader(s) even care about what I am posting (that is a whole other post in and of itself) is pretty much irrelevant. My motivation is simply to get my thoughts out to the world and in doing so, hopefully entertain you in some fashion; and if I am lucky, perhaps inform you.

Today I am here to inform you about a group of people I like to refer to as The Passholes. Well, “what does this term mean, Jaded?” you might ask?

I enjoy biking. I enjoy biking enough and find it such a positive in my life that I use my bike to commute to work on most days. I have been doing this in the Washington, DC area for over a dozen years now. I like to think I know the area pretty well and am a pretty able-bodied, seasoned rider myself. I know the “rules” of the roads and trails (which the DC area has some of the best in the country), though like most riders, I don’t always obey all of them. To me, a stop sign when no cars are present is not a stop sign but a mere reminder to look both ways before you cross the intersection. I sliver around cars sitting at traffic lights like water through a curly straw and though they might not always see me, I assure my survival by using my amazing powers of observation to avoid their suddenly open door. That, and using the side mirrors on the car to study the driver always helps. I ride way too fast–probably scaring quite a few motorists with my appearance our of nowhere–and I like to think that in general the roads belong to us and pedestrians, not the motorists. I don’t even need to go into the obvious benefits of riding vs. driving. But you know what? I will: It’s healthier, it’s cheaper, it’s better for the environment, and let’s face it, with traffic around here, it’s much better on your constitution (and probably a quicker commute).

Which brings me to The Passholes. I ride on the trails, I ride in the streets, but I NEVER ride on the sidewalks. The Passholes will. When coming up on a slower rider, or walker, or jogger, or family of three with a baby carriage the size of a small SUV, I always yell “on your left” from about 10 feet back. A fair warning. The Passholes do not. I will judge how fast to ride based on the flow of traffic on the trail. Saturday afternoon? 85 degrees out? Riding in Rock Creek Park? Yes, there will be tons of people out and about. So I won’t ride in full on Lance mode on this day. But The Passholes will. I will ride in my Van’s sneakers, white tee and shorts. The Passholes like to show you how they can spend $200 on padded bike shorts, $300 on a way-too-tight Tour de France wannabe shirt, and a $4500 mid-life crisis bike. Do you now know what a Passhole is?

The thing is (not to get too deep here but…) at some point in your biking life you are bound to be The Passhole at least once. It’s just a matter of time, like getting a speeding ticket or puking from too much Jameson on a Tuesday night. For me this happened the other day on my ride home from work. Cruising along at a brisk pace (based on there being no one else on the trail), I came upon a section where a street and sidewalk intersected with the trail. A blind spot, overgrown trees, a pizza delivery car, a small sidewalk, and another rider later, and I am head on with another biker. We smash into each other and go flying into the road. It was a massive collision because I was coming downhill and had no time to hit my brakes before I realized it was going to happen. Lucky for the other rider and me we both walked away with only some minor scratches and bruises and a no fault attitude on either side. But deep down I had that feeling. The utterly unique feeling of knowing something within yourself that others might not.

On this day, I was The Passhole.

Pass Me the Mic

Being a contributor to a blog that has a primary focus on music, it can be intimidating for me to step into the arena to discuss music from a non-musician’s standpoint. Any notion I had of being a musician was completely disabused in grade school after my third grade teacher took away my triangle and told me that perhaps my talents would be better suited for handing out the programs to the school pageant rather than performing in it. Looking back it was probably for the best. I have the neither the skills nor patience (read rhythm) to play a musical instrument so why try to force the matter from such a young age. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t strum to a time measure because I could sure as shit distribute leaflets littered with the names of other kids that could keep a beat.

Over the years I was able to reconcile with the truth and face the fact that I will never be a musician. To be perfectly honest, I am 100% OK with that. You see, to me music is very much like magic and I loves me some magic. Now I am not referring to made up magic like dragons and ferries and shit like that but magic that one might catch at a show at a casino on the strip in Vegas. Show me a card trick and I will probably be stupefied by your skills of slight-of-hand. The only problem I have with magic tricks is that I want to know how they are done so I will take to the youtubes and watch people perform a trick over and over again until I think I grasp  the basics of how the tricks was executed. This repeated viewing comes with an expense as once I understand the trick I become less fascinated in the trick and to a greater extent all illusions as a whole. If I were to study magic I truly believe that I would lose most of my interest because as it stands my fascination stems from not knowing.

The example of magic is one of the primary reasons I love music. I have sat in numerous conversations with musicians as they discussed things like ‘bridges’ and ‘breakdowns’ and all I can do is nod my head and wonder ‘what the fu…’ To me, not knowing how a piece of music is created is the same as fucking card trick. I feel like if I know how it’s done it will lose its luster. What I am saying, sometimes not knowing is awesome. Do I really want to know how Beck comes up with his compositions? How Radiohead decides on the arrangements of their synth sounds?  What was Hendrix thinking when he would sneak in extra notes in a solo? Do I want to know the answers to these questions? Hell yes and at the same time, never in a million years. In a way magic and music are the same things to me, both are mystifying and extremely fascinating.

However, on that note…
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A Music Confession

A few months ago Bums Logic’s own Todd Levinson Frank converted ownership of a wide collection of albums from various recording artists to me. My first confession: despite the fact that TLF had passed the music onto me months ago, it was only recently that I loaded the music on my iPod. While most people are quick to add new music to their libraries, for some reason it took me a few months to get around to it. On a side note, this is something that TLF knows about me all too well, as he once suggested a list of people to follow on twitter that I still have yet to ‘follow’ but I digress.

A waste of space.

I added this image in the hopes that you would read it and thus taking up at least five seconds of your time. Thanks for reading.

The list of artists in the collection that Todd provided is rather expansive and that stands as one of the reasons that I delayed the full addition to my music library. My point: if I were to add all of them at once, it is unlikely that any of the artists would be given the undivided attention that they deserve. Bands pour so much time and effort into their recordings and giving their work only a simple cursory listen is nearly equal to a slap in the face. Think about it. Suppose you spent time on a project of any particular discipline wouldn’t you be a bit put off if everyone simply provided it a perfunctory amount of their attention? I know I would.

I can imagine that many of you are thinking, ‘Wow, that is some confession. I hope you feel better after alleviating such a huge burden.’ Well as I stated earlier, that was my first confession.  You see there is more.

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