I was a child today, for a brief moment in time. 

The moment I placed my feet on the black pedals I shed fifteen years of time and pressure.  Nothing mattered.  There was no work, no kids, no ex, no nothing.  Just me and the bicycle, as if I had never left it.  It was not my old bicycle, this was a way more sophisticated machine.  There were  two knobs for gear shifting which took a little getting used to at first, but soon I was gearing up and down effortlessly. 

The wind tore past me, and I knew I was quickly over extending myself, but I didn’t care.  It felt so good.  I felt completely and utterly free, like I was let out of prison and smelling the air outside for the first time.  I rolled into Cedar creek park comfortably pedaling in fourth gear, feeling my legs start to tighten up and fill with blood in earnest.  I decided I would take the black bike trail around the park, and pull off at the far end of the hills so I could run up and down them as I usually do.

Instead, I discovered a little trail down on the right side of the park, named after some woman, Ellen something or other.  I decided to go down it and explore a bit.  Turns out, this particular trail led down the wantagh parkway to jones beach.  I was ecstatic, I was going down to the beach if it killed me.  Halfway down, I took a breather and stepped off the bike for a moment.

From my vantage point on the floor I could immediately discern two clear facts.  One, my legs were not working properly, and Two, I should probably head back the way I came, very slowly.  So, I stepped back on the bike, ratcheted the gear down to about two, and slowly started pedaling back.  Periodically, I would glide with my legs stretched out, to test them.  After a short while, I found that they were not as bad as all that.  And I decided to continue up the path and complete my circuit of the park. 

I went around and walked my bike up the hill.  Turns out, my legs might be working again, but they were in no condition to jog up and down steep inclines.  So I went to the hilltop and did leg lifts, twisting crunches, and some pushups on the patch of gravel people use to picnic on.  I am cutting down on the pushups however, as this exercise is not to build bulk, it is about trimming down.  I have no intention of building large muscles.  Strength yes, and quickness, but no heavy bulging annoyances.  Those are merely for show, and serve no purpose but to inflate egos, attract females with impaired cerebral circulation, and to waste precious tattoo ink on foolish, meaningless patterns wrapped around various over-muscled portions of anatomy.

Once again, I must give thanks to the almighty.

The almighty, thats what I like to call Apple inc.  That little Ipod can hold all the long sets of amazing techno/trance I need to get me going for hours on end.  Perhaps I’m showing my age right now, but I can clearly remember the inconvenience of having to carry around a bulky walkman.  You had better have a kick-ass mixtape handy, or else most of your workout was on your finger pressing fast forward or rewind.  I will not even get started on CD players, shock proof my ass.  And once again, that better be a hell of a CD in there.  But with the nifty Ipod, you get none of that nonsense.  And it’s so small and it clips right on to my shorts.  Even my clumsy self can’t lose that thing. 

I thought about the idea of god again, and the idea of love, and several things occured to me, that may not be wholly original revelations, but they were to me.  I was wondering about the connection between god, and love.  And then it hit me while I biked down the path to the beach. 

Both, are extreme idealizations of things that human beings desperately want.

God, or, a god, is an almighty, lofty ideal.  Something that most major religions teach once a week or so that we are unworthy of.  It is an ideal that we should reach for, but one we could never come close to attaining, no matter how hard we try, or how pious we are.  The pulpit hammers home the idea of inadequacy, and fosters the impression that we are imperfect, and bad.  If it appears that I am focusing on christianity, then please be aware that I am doing exactly that.  But humans want to believe so badly that there is more.  That we are not merely specks of life on this planet, here for a while, and then gone just as quickly.  We want immortality, so we sell out to the highest bidder, and indoctrinate our young the same way, so as to preserve this idea of “living forever”, and therefore avoiding the awful reality of death.  Ultimately, we will do and say foolish and irrational things to keep this belief alive, this, in a nutshell, is religion. 

Love, is much the same as god.  It is the most extreme form of caring about another person.  Now, please bear in mind, I will only get into the romantic aspect of it here, but I firmly believe love can be as destructive and misleading in it’s other incarnations as well, and when I can, I will devote some time to explaining that as well.  We humans want to be cared about.  We want to be wanted, and we believe, that we want to be loved.  The modern pulpit, being the mass media, tells us what love is.  It is the beautiful story, capped by the passionate kiss, and the perfectly delivered emotional line (eg: you….complete me…  really, I have to give kudos to the screen writer, I thought great and silly love proclamations had died decades ago, yet he pulled it off with style and panache, bravo sir or madame).  So, we humans, being the silly hand-fed lot that we are, watch this rubbish and predictably begin to harbor hopes and secret expectations that we will meet someone just like that.  And things will happen just like that as well, almost as if scripted.  Gentlemen, take a girl on a date, and take precautions to set up several romantic ‘coincedences’ throughout the night, provided you do not have the disposition of Bobby Knight and the appearance of quasimodo, you will not only go home happy and possibly with company, you will have guaranteed yourself at least a months worth of dates/sex.  But how dangerous it is, to ‘love’.  Because ultimately, the ideal cannot hold up.  It is naivete and foolishness to believe that life will unfold as a series of romantic interludes, at some point, the facade comes down, and you are forced to deal with the slowly rotting bag of flesh and plasma before you, who is not quite as exciting as he/she was what seemed forever ago.

Ah, but all is not for naught!  For one can, in fact, learn to embrace something with more meaning, with lasting power.  That, is deep caring.  That, is the old couple sitting on the bench at 8pm on a summer day watching the sun go down, not speaking a word to each other.  That, boys and girls, in genuine affection, there is no love there.  All the love is gone, now there is deep caring, an affection that cannot, and will not be broken until they are both dead and buried.  Want to spend the rest of your life with the one you ‘love’?  Stop loving them, immediately.  Try caring about them instead, quietly.

So today, I decided to let go of love, and god.  Nature is grand enough, and wonderful enough, to not cheapen it by adding a grand ‘lego-maniac’ into the mix.  And people are wonderful enough, and worthy enough, to not have to ‘love’ me, and I to not ‘love’ them.  But some, I will care deeply about, and one, I will sit next to, and watch our local star sink slowly into the bay until I breathe my last.

And when that day comes, should I be lucky enough to be given time to reflect, I will be ok with not ‘being here’, or anywhere else. 

Most of you subscribe to some religious sect, or believe in a god.  So, I will merely ask of you this.  Try and pretend it was wrong, and there is, in fact, no god at all.  No one judging you but yourself, and whomever is within range of your actions, or words.  Just picture it.  How would you act?

I have decided to be good.  Even though I know, there is ‘nothing in it for me’.  It is a difficult thing to admit to oneself.  That you are frequently good, not just “for goodness sake’, but for fear of divine retribution, either in the here and now, or after you have been struck down by your,  loving?  vengeful?  god.  I am no longer confused on the matter.  I will preach the gospel of humanity, because once you push past the gloomy trappings of dogmatic thinking, there is nothing else left.

For once, my catch-phrase strikes a relevant chord,

.

Live it, Love it,

-Tobas

(p.s.  Jesus flew by and raised me from the dead….hey, cmon, you didn’t really think I wouldn’t leave room for some humorous blaspheming did you?  ‘course not lovely  ;-)?