Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rules Nobody Can Live By #4

Photograph taken by Mag of the classic 2007 photograph by Kurt Jambretz.

Rule: Remain Calm.

The very essence of cool – ask any hipster you happen to see – is cool itself: mellowness, low blood pressure, relaxed expression, willingness to handle what’s coming next in life, and, most importantly, willingness to enjoy whatever’s going to happen next. If a person continually behaves like a lizard on a hot griddle and yells, “Holy fuck, I’m gonna crash!” this person will never be considered by cool people to be cool. Of course, if a person behaves like a hot-griddle lizard and cool people think that’s funny, then we have a different situation: We have a temporary cool-people-approve-uncool-behavior situation, which is the sort of thing that happens in the entertainment business but not in real life because people in the entertainment business, because of the desperate nature of the entertainment business, are not capable of being 100% Cool-certified Cool.

Or maybe nobody is. Or maybe that’s too easy to say.

Yesterday, I went for a bike ride along the Los Angeles River in the rain – a heavy rain by standards almost anywhere: blasting downpour, lightning, thunder, gusty winds – and because the rain was intense, because I knew for a fact (owing to message board lurking) that in intense rainstorms here in L.A. most cyclists don’t venture out for a spinner, you guessed it: I thought I was the coolest, toughest cyclist in this whole gigantic city. The temperature was 55 degrees. Visibility: gray to black. And I had the Hard Man of Flanders thing going: no gloves, knee warmers, arm warmers rolled down, ear-to-ear grin on my face. Seriously, I was the coolest person in the world there for a few minutes. I pretended a documentary crew was following me and that the narrator to the documentary was commenting on Mike Magnuson’s tremendous level of motivation and toughness and how this next cyclocross season, by fucking God, Mike will show people something special. You just wait, friends. Magnuson will be a force. Needless to say, I picked up the pace and imaginary epic music played inside my brain.

I saw a bridge ahead on the bike path and multiple shapes under it: homeless folks waiting out the rain, maybe fifteen guys with shopping carts and what have you. I was happy to see them because that mean somebody was seeing me riding my bike, such a tough guy in the rain, such a person worth admiring. I slowed so as to pass them in a respectful form of review. I smiled at the fellows and nodded at them with as cool a nod as anyone has ever nodded. I said, “Hey, guys. How’s it going?”

One of them, a guy so weatherbeaten it was hard to see his eyes within the wrinkles of his brow, said, “Shut the fuck up.”

I remained calm, which is what a cool person is supposed to do, and rode safely out from under the bridge and back into the rain. The guy was right. I should shut the fuck up.

1 comment:

  1. No, you shouldn't. Just keep yammering your yammer. There are a bunch of us who are listening.

    John Sutton


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