Tubes of Tolerance

Identifying problems are easy.  Finding solutions can take more time and more effort.  I have had to learn this the hard way a few times.  

A while back I lived in Grand Junction, CO which is next to Fruita and Moab which are two of the mountain biking meccas in the world.  I remember I had a broken spoke and had planned a ride after work. I brought the bike to a shop, went to work and picked the bike up on the way to the trails.

It was one of those perfect biking days.  Clear skies and not another car at the trailhead as I geared up to go.  No more than 20 minutes in I had the ever annoying feeling of my bike sliding  and squishing underneath me. I had a flat tire.  

Oh well, shit happens.  I stopped and fixed it and off I went.  Five minutes later. Tsss. Another flat.  Argh. I was cranky. This was supposed to be ride time.  Not fix a flat time. I now had two tubes with punctures so I had to patch the old one now.  Carefully I sanded, cleaned and glued a patch and was on my way.

Tsss.  Fuck! Flat tire three.  At this point I wanted to throw my bike off of the mountain and walk home.  I was livid and at this point hot a bothered. So I took a minute. I ate some food.  Drank some water. I think I may have even taken off my cycling shoes at the time. 

I had two more patches.  I was 5km from my car and was really not in the mood to hike a bike in cycling shoes down rocky singletrack so I after getting over my rage, I decided to start again from scratch.  I removed the wheel off the bike. I took the tire off of the wheel. I checked the tire again for thorns. There were none. I looked at the rim tape. It was fine. 

Then I discovered the problem.  The mechanic who I had paid to fix my broken spoke while at work had fixed the spoke but had neglected to remove the old spoke nipple.  It was lodged under the rim tape causing my flats. I removed it, fixed my flat and had a good ride.

The moral though is this.  Sometimes the problem is located somewhere that we are not trained or taught to look and the solution is just as simple, or simpler, than what he had imagined and or expected.

Today, 2020, there are lots of problems.  Global warming, poverty, corporate food, consumption, leadership and education to name a few.  The solution, though, is not gripping or holding on to preconceived ideas that we think will lead to the answer.   The left think one was. The right thinks another. Even in that statement it is easy to see that the solution lies somewhere in the middle.  

If I could change people’s minds on one thing it would be this.  Your values are yours. You should hold on to them and they are allowed to be the same and/or different than others.  We, as the others, need to accept your values and beliefs as being equal to ours, no matter how different they may be perceived.  This is defined as tolerance. We don’t have to agree with other people but if we want to find solutions, we have to identify the problems first and I promise you the answers are not present in semantic debates no matter how passionate one is when discussing them.  

It’s tricky though.  Sometimes you know you are on the right path while others are not. Doesn’t change the fact that the others are still on their own authentic journey.  Imagine, believer or not, if Christ was who he said he was, how hard his daily life must have been. He knew the answers, yet others were reticent to listen.  He was so tolerant of others, he died because of it.  

So maybe it is time to work on tolerance and not judging others.  Letting them be with the hope that dialogue and an interest in change becomes the norm.  That’s what I try to do. I try to look for the root of the problem that may not be as clear as most would hope.


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