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• You're Different
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• Aaron
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TTOK[sic] thoughts from the artist

Is It Fear or Comfort? (09/13/20)

“The jungle beckons, but the cage comforts.” - T.D. Jakes

A strange thing happened when I decided to make a change in my life, and ‘who’ I worked for. For almost 40 years I have worked for ‘others’, as in the typical boss, office, on the payroll.

As everybody that knows me is aware of, I have always been a hard worker, smart worker, innovator, and have done well over those 40 years. But as I came to realize I was no longer ‘appreciated’ in the job I was in, I decided the time had come to try something new, and I choose to dabble in the art world, utilizing my skills, talents, and work ethic to make a go in the creative world.

At least I knew my hard work and work ethic would be appreciated!

Now go back ten years. I was in a car accident, and was unable to drive after the accident. Up to that point I had done the hour each way commute, drove everybody I knew everywhere we went, switched between three cars - I drove a lot. At first I thought not driving was going to be the end of my life. But made a decision to try something new, almost out of necessity, and began biking to work.

The office was only a few miles away from home, so the ride was nothing major, but I was always at my desk at 4 am each morning and would leave between 2-4 pm each day - times when the weather was at its extremes.

In Southern California, weather extremes are really not all that ‘extreme,’ so the coldest I ever rode in was 28 and the hottest around 115. OK, those temperatures were outside immediate comfort levels, but I became very accustomed to the weather changes and the ride was an easy one.

Our office though, was in a location where the roads between my residence and office were not the most favorable - gang activity, prostituion, homeless, and wildlife - if you call coyotes wildlife (I think they are just cute versions of a canine!).

Some of the things I saw on those streets at 3 am on my way to work would scare the crud out of most people, but I became accustomed to knowing what was around me, knowing where my safe havens were, and 10 years of riding never had any real issues. I was chased by a group of  coyotes one morning, but that was because I was heading towards a den of newborn pups, and once I veered the other direction, mom and her ‘crew’ stopped chasing me!

So now that I am no longer biking into the office and working for myself from home or the studio, I no longer need to travel in the heat extremes, nor am on the road at 3 am in the morning.

I don’t like going outside if it is below 60, and don’t enjoy going outside if above 90, and I no longer venture from safety by myself in the dark! 

What is that about? That was never an issue for 10 years, but is now… I needed to figure out if that change was fear or getting used to comfort? Have I really gotten that soft? That comfortable? Or is it fear? Is there a reason I have now been avoiding my surrounding environment early in the morning?

I was now September 2020, had been 8 months since I last ventured out at 3 in the morning to bike to the office, so was there really anything to be worried about, or was the comfort of no longer needing to be out at that time just settled into my psyche?

One morning I got out the bike, put on my gear, and off I went - it was around 3:15 am on a Thursday.
All I can say is “wow, things have changed!” 

There was about the same number of people on the road as before, but the ones out at this time of the morning, during our period of Covid, are, well, not the same group that were out pre-pandemic. I was approached twice by guys in totally blacked out cars, who, well, had products to offer. 

The homeless that had always been in the area and active early in the morning, were now far more aggressive, vocal, and willing to make an attempt at stopping me while I was riding.

There were also far more abandoned vehicles, and vehicles on the side of the road with 'transactions' in progress.

And the thing that bothered me the most, the places that I had tagged as being my ‘safe havens,’ were closed - Covid collateral. Which meant the further from home I got, the less possible it was to find a safe place where other people were at 3 in the morning in order to avoid safety issues with those out to do me harm.

Unscathed, I got to the old location of my office, immediately turned up the street and sped my way home on a different route, one that I knew would be more populated - fire station, 24-hour gas station, and hotel that is currently open (even if by the hour!)

Needless to say, I’m happy to have made the change, for many reasons!!

#biking #Covid #feary #comfort #coyotes #safety