Three days a week, I get up at 3:45, have coffee, and get on my bicycle for a half hour ride to the gym, where I am put through my paces by a trained instructor, swinging kettlebells and other strength inducing activities. Then I get on my bike again and ride back.
When I first started riding my bike rather than driving, it was the middle of December, and damned cold, as well as pitch black out. The street I ride down is a main thoroughfare of Tucson. It’s quite busy during the day. When I was riding during the first couple of months, however, I rarely saw more than a dozen cars on my way to the gym, and maybe two dozen on the way back.
About a month ago, the hour of sunrise moved back into my ride time. This is where heliocentrism comes in. I know I am not using the word in its traditional sense, meaning the belief that planets orbit the sun. I am using it to describe the powerful effect the sun has on the way we live our lives, or how we individually orbit the sun.
As it began to be brighter and brighter on my trip home, I saw more and more cars, even though the hour was exactly the same. Some of this traffic was construction workers and other trades. I know from personal experience that, in Arizona, where we do not abide by Daylight Savings Time, but rather switch time zones twice a year, start times for construction jobs often fluctuate over the year, to take advantage of cooler morning temperatures in the summer. A significant percentage, however, was just ordinary folks, adjusting their day to the sun. Heliocentrism.
I am very fond of Guatemala. I have traveled there more than any other country, I have friends there, and I may move there some day.
On my last visit, I bought a Guatemalan futbol jersey. I have little or no interest in sports, but I thought I would wear it to my workouts. A couple weeks ago, I did. It has warmed up enough in Tucson that I no longer need to wear a jacket when cycling to the gym on most days. Normally, cars are very polite to me as I ride down the bike lane, moving over when they can, even giving me a full lane of space. The day I wore that jersey, however, I noticed what seemed like a majority of drivers buzzing right past me without moving over an inch. Tucson is pretty bike friendly, we even got an award for being the most bike friendly city, I believe, but these people were far from friendly. At first I was taken aback, but then it occurred to me that I was wearing a white shirt with “GUATEMALA” emblazoned across the back in blue. My immediate thought, in our current political climate, which has emboldened racists and xenophobes, drawing them out into the open, was that drivers assumed I was an immigrant, and probably “illegal” and were taking out their frustrations on me.
Then I noticed that most of the vehicles buzzing me were construction vehicles full of Latino workers, probably Mexican-American, and I realized to both my embarrassment and amusement that they were probably futbol fans who simply hated the Guatemalan team.