It’s time for some more navel-gazing. Specifically gazing at the navel in the middle of my flat stomach.
In order to be fully self-actualized as a Northeastern Liberal Elitist, I need several ways in order to feel smug. Using a bicycle for most of my transportation needs helps with the smugness quotient. On top of that, I don’t have cable (in fact my TV is banished to a guest bedroom where it is barely used), I hardly eat meat, I have a compost bin in my basement, I use a tankless water heater, I have a dual-flush toilet and oh yeah, have I told you that I don’t own a car? So, all-in-all, I am one self-congratulating prick. If you happen to meet me in person, I suggest you try to steer the conversation away from one of the above topics before you are overwhelmed by my self-satisfaction.
Although I am obviously living a far more ethical lifestyle than anyone I know, and thus have the right to total smugness, so far, I have only tried to quantify my smugness in one realm – transportation miles. Using a spreadsheet, I dutifully record every mile I travel by various means. I can then compare how much I am biking vs. how much I am using automobiles. Although I do not own a car (have I mentioned that?), I still am occasionally reliant on one for a specific transportation need. That or I just feel like bumming a ride. Also, because I live in the gentri-sphere, I have access to Zip Cars. This means I can rent a Prius by the hour and look virtuous in comparison to other drivers. Meanwhile, I feel like I am sinning because I am not riding a bike. (The whole renting a Prius thing really throws my internal smug-o-meter out of whack). Since August 21, 2010 (the one year anniversary of when I got rid of my car), I have biked 939 miles and used a car for 970. I have also walked 37 miles, and traveled 109 miles by transit, so I guess that means 1085 miles I can feel smug about and 970 I can feel guilty about (this is the flipside of Northeastern Liberal Elitist self-satisfaction: it comes with a healthy dose of guilt.) Then I flew to Austin TX and back, but we’ll just leave that out of the equation.
After visiting my doctor for an annual physical recently, I now have something else to be smug about: in the last year of car-free living, I’ve lost 5% of my body weight. My physical was actually over a month ago, but I’ve been sitting on the news for a while, because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it with everyone. This is another part of the whole smugness thing, I don’t really want to brag (maybe that is due more to my Midwestern upbringing), and talking about how I’ve lost weight seems to be a somewhat distasteful way of bragging. I mean, I’m happy to brag about all the money I save, but losing weight? That just seems so déclassé. Or maybe it just seems un-manly. Anyway, now I’m talking about it, so get used to it. I was pretty darn skinny to begin with, but as I approached 30, I could see that I was starting to develop a gut. Due to Spouse’s positive influence, I began eating better and exercising, and that kept the gut at bay for the first half of my 30′s and my weight pretty much stabilized around 150-155 lbs. In my first year being car-free, I certainly biked more than in previous years (though I’m not sure how much) and I increased the frequency of my yoga practice (could there be a more smug phrase than “my yoga practice?”) At my physical, I weighed in at 146, 8 pounds less than my last physical. I could start keeping track of my weight along with my miles, except that along with not owning a microwave (nor, have I mentioned, a car), I also do not own a bathroom scale. That’s how smug I am about my weight – I care so little about it that I only need to check on it once a year.
So now I weigh less and I can be a jerk by complaining that I have to buy new pants because my old pants don’t fit me. I will double the jerkiness by complaining how hard it is to find pants with a 29 inch waist and if I do find said pants, they aren’t cut to fit my cycling-enhanced, massively muscular hindquarters. Oh, woe is me that I must live in a country where no man has a waist smaller than 30 inches. I’ll complete this trifecta of douchiness (or douchefecta) by mentioning that despite all the weight loss, I can’t stop eating! Seriously, I eat all the damn time. I have breakfast before work, second breakfast at work, lunch, two afternoon snacks, dinner and dessert. Cycling has turned me into an eating machine. And this is from biking just an average of 10 miles a day. I can’t imagine how much I would eat if I had a longer commute.
So, what more can I say? I’m the Maestro, to quote the Beastie Boys:
Yeah, you [curse words], I’m all that. I see you lookin’ at me sayin’, “How can he be so skinny and live so fat?” You know why? ’cause I’m the Maestro.
One final note: a photo I forgot to include from my visit to Woonsocket.
I was pleased to see a weightloss clinic conveniently located next to the Park ‘n Shop. However, there was no bike parking.