Letters to my mother, part 1, or why I feel justified in never throwing anything away

Sara and me, posing in our commuting costumes before heading home

Stored on my hard drive, I have 48,913 emails from my three different current email accounts.  20,259 of those emails are unread.  I also have a bunch of email saved from two other, now defunct, email accounts.  Jason has suggested that I go through the emails and throw stuff out, but I have resisted following his suggestion because it sounds like work.

This blog is supposed to be about my biking and since I have these emails, I decided to look through old accounts to see if I can find evidence of my first rides.    I started riding by commuting.  My commute was 3 miles in each direction and all technical.  The ride to work contained a difficult to navigate light that was on a hill.  I had to learn to unclip and restart on the hill, usually surrounded by morning commuters in cars.  At first I just walked up the hill, because I could not get restarted in traffic on an incline.  Eventually I got better and was able to do it.  The way home was in heavy traffic through highly congested shopping  areas  that had head-in parking, pedestrians, parking and unparking cars, and complicated traffic lights.  Eventually I got the hang of that, too.  The ride was only three miles.  I certainly did not gain any fitness from the efforts, but I got very good at dealing with traffic and I got over my fear of heading out the door.  I live in a city.  I needed to learn how to deal with cars and this commute taught me that skill.  These commutes lowered the activation energy of heading out the door on a bike and gave me the confidence to cycle regularly.

I was delighted to have found the email I sent my mom about my first commutes.  Apparently I practiced the route a couple of times before attempting it on an actual work day.  Jason went with me for the first week.  I started in August of 2003.  The letter described the amount of time the commute took, it described the hikes I had done with our particularly personable poodle, it described hawks I had seen, and it described an incident at work, an incident about which I had completely forgotten:

I fortunately have a lousy sense of smell. The other week, our morgue ran out of room in the refrigerators and a body was left out for a day. The whole third floor lab area apparently reeked, but I didn t even notice.

Me, dressed as a commuting pirate

Honestly, I do not think that anyone else is interested in this incident or the contents of this letter, but I was quite amused by it and I am delighted to have been able to relive these events.  I might follow Jason’s suggestion of going through my old emails, but I have no intention of throwing anything away.

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