When You Coming Home Dad
OOH …Here’s One Thing
by Jim Johnsen
When You Coming Home Dad, I Don’t Know When
I had a slight epiphany this past Tuesday morning. It was the first day back to work after a long weekend, and given that we had just closed two transactions the Friday before Labor Day, I felt like I owed it to myself to ride my bicycle to work as I do every so often. So as I left the main roads behind and tried to find some tranquility, I noticed that cars would come up from behind, see an oncoming car quickly approaching, and then floor it to get around me and hammer back into the right lane just in time to avoid a head on collision. This wasn’t just a one-off event. This happened 15 to 20 times in the span of an hour. Yes it was rush hour, and yes cars own the road, right? After several “Elizabeth I’m coming'” moments (reference to Sanford and Son for those who don’t remember Red Fox – https://youtu.be/stdi-1tIUhM), the light bulb went off. These people are in such a rush that they are willing to risk my life and their own just to gain few seconds of trip time. Stunad, right? (https://youtu.be/GBylfmOVRis …trust me this one in worth it)
And then the real thought came to me. We are ALL in such a bloody rush all the time that we end up doing lots of stupid stuff…EVERYDAY! I’m as guilty as the next guy or gal for driving 30 in a 20, or just taking a wink at the phone on the highway for a split second…or hitting the send button on that email before letting the anger attenuate and re-reading it.
What if we all just took a breath and slowed down ever so slightly? What if we asked ourselves whether it was really worth passing that cyclist by gunning it, crossing the double yellow and then swerving quickly back to the right to avoid an accident. Especially when there is a stop sign 100 feet ahead and the cyclist catches up at the stop sign, bangs on your window, tells you to roll it down and then just says to you, “Dude…WTF?”. Pretty embarrassing right? Was the juice worth the squeeze…or did you just forgot to think before you acted?
I think this Always On, “I demand an instant reply” culture has taken over the house while we slept. As prescient as Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” song off Verities & Balderdash was in 1974, its probably 10 times more relevant today. I think there is an argument to be made that we rush so much that perhaps we are forgetting to live.
“I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad”
Okay Johnsen, since you have all the answers what the heck are you going to do about it? Well for one thing I am going to make a little pact with myself to drive a little smarter and little slower. For another, I plan to go back and reread Thinking Fast By Thinking Slow, by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book: “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.” Good stuff, right? One of the central tenants of the book is the more decisions we can make from system 2 in our brain, the conscious, unemotional one, and the less decisions we can make from system 1, the dinosaur brain…the better our lives will become.
Speaking of bicycles, some friends of mine are rolling out a cool new piece of media real estate which I really like. The concept is to provide secure bike parking at key focal points in major cities and to subsidize this parking through the sale of large format outdoor. Here is the website. https://www.ooneepod.com. I hope to do a follow up on this outdoor play in the coming weeks.
Lastly, I got to do a 65 mile bike ride for a Lamar sponsored event this weekend, a fund raiser for the Smilow Cancer Center in New Haven. Its hard to meet a person who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some form. Thanks to Eric Lambert from Lamar for getting me out there! If you get a chance please contribute to his fundraising page at: https://www.rideclosertofree.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=19410
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