I gave up spitting on cars for Lent

Well, not exactly. After all, I’m not Catholic. I guess Lent came along, and I realized my traffic expectoration habit had gotten out of hand. So I gave in up in the Lenten spirit. I’ve given it up permanently, too.

I bike in the city, gave up my car years ago, and there are inconsiderate drivers out there. Mostly people parking in bike lanes. (especially on Ogden, just north of Roosevelt. Don’t get me started.) I would yell, I would do various things. At one point I started spitting. Not even on cars, but in front of them, as a gesture of disgust for their disregard for my safety. Like anyone would notice.

And as a response to honking. I rationalized, “Honking, spitting, same gesture as far as I’m concerned.” As though most folks behind the wheel would make the same equation.

But at some point I graduated to spitting directly on cars. I didn’t do it enough to lead to the inevitable confrontation. But I did have that combination of aggresive angry rush and rationalization that does set off alarm bells in my mind–maybe this isn’t the best way to handle things.

Anyway, along came Lent, and I thought, “What a great idea. And I know just what to give up.”

So it’s been interesting. I haven’t lapsed. I still salivate when I pass a car parked in the bike lane. I have thought about more constructive responses–perhaps a flyer for cars at that spot on Ogden. There are safer places for them to park–still illegal, but not life-endangering for bicyclists.

Maybe that “giving stuff up” approach opens up constructive creative energy. I suppose you still have to approach it with an open mind, and give it up in a playful sort of spirit. I mean, spitting in traffic is disgusting, but I didn’t get all bent out of shape with myself about it, like I have with other bad habits.



  1. Hey John,
    I just discovered you’re back to blogging. I had you on my bloglines, but these two 2006 posts didn’t show up there. I unsubscribed and re-subscribed and the feed came up with only the 2004 posts! So I unsubscribed again, clicked on the rss link in you blog and subscribed from there instead of using bloglines’ auto-discovery feature. Anyway, it’s all good now.

    So now that lent is over, are you back to spitting?

  2. No, I gave it up permanently. So far, I haven’t lapsed.

    Well, I haven’t spat as a gesture. When there’s, you know, excess of phlegm, I’ll let fly.

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