October 17, 2004

Late entries and reflections

There was a meeting with M. Gorbachev on Friday that I attended. At this point, he is the president of an international charity based in Switzerland, Green Cross. It was interesting to see him. He aged since the time he was much more visible, but he appeared still to be sharp and witty. I felt sad for him. His place in the history will be always controversial – he helped to bring freedoms of the Eastern European countries and to many Soviet Union member states. At the same time, he is the person that helped to dismantle empire – history is not kind to people that lose empires. There was a significant entourage with him, at least one bodyguard, translator, wife, daughter and couple of other people. However, there was only one person he introduced publicly – it was his daughter. Looks to me that he wants to promote her publicly for some reason.

I use my old and somewhat erratically working bicycle to commute to and from my work. I do it to make sure that my body, and especially my heart, gets a reasonable workout. It was the same on Friday. I got there OK, but on the way back, in the middle of the intersection (when I had only momentum related to pushing myself off the ground) the gears gave up on me. No matter how hard I pedaled, the rear wheel wouldn’t move. I fell down (problems with timely removal of the cleats). It was sort of scary – lying down attached to bike with cleats with traffic going in one direction, but expecting a change in the lights. While I was struggling on the ground, a SUV (Jeep?) stopped concerned. They asked me if I was OK. I somehow managed to free myself from the pedals and was certain I can get up, despite 25+ pound backpack on my shoulders. I answered I’d be OK. It was nice of them to do it. Thank you strangers!! An interesting aspect of human behavior: when I was on the ground and Jeep stopped to help me, soon thereafter a car behind them started to honk as if its driver was saying “Don’t stop for this loser. I’m in rush to have some beers. Let him be driven over. I don’t care!”

I stayed away from creating an entry in this blog that my mother passed away over a month ago. I may have done it because I don’t want to give up unreasonable hope that when I call the usual phone number (she lived about 6,600 miles away from me, so phone was the most frequent and easiest way to “visit” her) she answers the phone. I know this expectation is unreasonable and 100% guaranteed not to happen, but nevertheless such is human, or at least my, nature that clings onto, no matter how improbable, event and doesn’t want to let go of it.

Prediction: I will have to go to Poland for my brother’s wedding within next 6-8 months (actually no later than Easter 2005).

Posted by marek at October 17, 2004 11:40 AM