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The Tinkered Mind
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February 17th, 2019
The horizon was just beginning to split sky and land, glowing blue above and darkening the flat plains. Lucilius was peddling a bicycle to his own gentle rhythm, having cycled all through the night simply to see the sunrise, after having started several weeks prior.
Lucilius was at a transition in his current life and decided to take a long trip by cycling in a single direction, day after day.
The glowing horizon brightened, growing gold and pushing the blue higher and higher into the starred night sky. Soon enough the sun pierced the shadow and lit the land, giving form and color to the long road ahead, stripping everything of shadow save for the low and subtle hills that held their short trains of abyss.
Lucilius rode on into the day and the road began to busy. Occasional cars passed, but mostly huge 18-wheeled long-haulers roared along the road, whipping up powerful backdrafts. These trucks would often come terrifyingly close as Lucilius rode along the edge of the street, but sometimes, when they had the room, they would give him a wide berth by dipping into the oncoming lane.
During these weeks of riding he had spent a good deal of time thinking about these truckers, men far from home, sitting in a cab, at the wheel for so many hours at a time. He imagined himself in their position and wondered if they were perhaps lonely. The thought had lead him to begin waving at all the trucks that came down the road in the opposite direction. He found out quickly what kind and lonely hearts were travelling these roads as almost every single truck he waved at, he got some kind of response, whether it was a wave back or a short signal with the horn.
Later in the day Lucilius came across another cyclist at a stop consulting a map. Lucilius stopped as do all cyclists in such circumstances. The two were going in the same direction and shortly decided to ride together.
That night they camped and cooked steaks over a fire talking about a whole wealth of topics. And at one point the conversation veered towards the daily travails of riding.
“Those damn trucks,” Lucilius’ friend started. “They come so close, like they’re trying to see how close they can get. All I think about is climbing up on their cab with a .357 magnum.” The man gestured the weight of a gun in his hand while he said it. “Just give’em a piece of my mind and maybe a little more.”
Lucilius briefly marveled at how much trust he had unconsciously granted all these passing truckers, having not felt any of the fear he was hearing described.
“That’s interesting,” Lucilius said. “I just wave at all of them that pass by, because I imagine they’re lonely and bored, and I figure that eventually they’ll be coming back the other way, and when they do, maybe they’ll feel just a little bit more, I don’t know, happy and compassionate when they see a cyclist and give that cyclist a bit more room when they pass. Even if it’s not me, I figure it might help.”
Lucilius’ new friend stared long listening and then turned back to his meal. “Interesting,” he said.
The next day the two rode together. Lucilius started out trailing. And when the first truck came rattling down the road, Lucilius noticed his friend raise a hand and wave.