Thursday, October 26, 2017

Truth and Fiction

When I was young, I remember being fearful of little white spots that appeared on my nails. Known in medical circles as leukonychia, I had been told by some friends that these small white areas were physical signs that I had told a lie, and that each little spot represented a deception. As someone who regularly had many of these on my nails, you can likely imagine my horror. I was often concerned that everyone I encountered thought I was constantly being deceitful.
Of course, the real cause of leukonychia is most often a physical mark left by trauma to the fingernails or nail bed, but as a kid, we tend to believe much of what we are told. I was not fearful of the white spots themselves, but rather of my parents thinking that I was telling them a lie (which, I could very well have been guilty of on occasion, only furthering my terror of these little marks on my nails).

In reality, I was a very clumsy child, so I have no doubt the majority of marks that appeared were self-inflicted. Today, even though I am cognizant of the origin of these marks, there is something that strikes me when one of the spots appears on my nails. For a brief moment, I flashback to childhood and can't help but smile remembering my young friends convincing me that my body was producing visual representation of untruths I had spoken.

In today's world, I sometimes wish that there were indicators of truth and falsehoods that we could physically see on other humans. It seems as though that would make communication a bit easier at times -- though I can see how it would make some conversations far more challenging.

Recently, our household has run into some motorized transportation issues. Having dealings with mechanics along this journey to repair, I can't help but wonder at times how much of what I'm being told is truthful. It helps that Sam is a mechanically-inclined sort of individual (and who generally performs needed repairs/maintenance) so he can help decode the mysteries and wade through the reality versus fiction, as well as the severity of the problems. Still, it would be much easier to trust that what I'm being told is absolute fact.

I suppose it is also possible that there are levels of truth in many instances. After all, there can be truth found in falsehoods, just as reality can convey pieces of deceit. Sometimes, as in the case of a  non-operational car, a mechanic may be truthful about a need, but perhaps not as forthcoming with how long a part may actually last, and costs for repair can be wildly inconsistent. Whether untruths are made as a form of control, financial gain, out of fear, or for some other reason, learning to read between the lines and having good detective or analytical skills can be crucial.

These are the moments though when I am particularly grateful to have a bicycle. While bicycles can also have mechanical issues at times, generally those problems are far less expensive and easier to deal with quickly. Roadside fixes are often simple enough, and even if a fix isn't completely repaired, it's usually enough to let me limp home and deal with the issue properly.

Such a utilitarian machine, the bicycle. One of the best creations that humans are always trying to modify or change, and yet rarely is the basic concept improved upon. As I was reading recently, "A bicycle means simplicity, and simplicity means happiness." If only everything in life could bring the same joy!


  1. I love this. I feel the same way about car repairs, especially knowing that women are consistently charged more for the same repair than men are. With the bike, I feel confident that I can make all repairs myself. But if I choose not to, I would definitely know if a bike mechanic is feeding me a line.

    I have a 15 year old compact car with just 86k miles on it. The low mileage is largely due to my use of the bike as transportation. My plan is to drive that car until it dies — hopefully not for a long while — and then not replace it. With increasing access to public transit, services like Lyft and Zipcar, and good use of my bike, I shouldn’t need a car.

    1. That is awesome to have a 15 year old car with such low miles, and is truly a testament to your commitment to riding! Having public transit helps keep those miles down too, I'm sure. At the rate you're going, you'll have that compact car for many years before it goes, I'm sure! :)


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