Wednesday, September 14, 2005


as he wrapped the blackened bananas with red tape so i could get them at half the cost, i asked the produce man what he was up to this weekend, as the weather looked to be perfect. me in mauve, others in orange, other others in green, grocery store scanner in purple.

i'm rearranging some furniture in my house.
(pause) i don't know...

the bananas were tasty.

rocky mountain national park was quite the ride. 12,100 feet on a bike is sweet. 12,100 feet on a bike in the snow, then hail, then rain capped with consistent 40mph winds is sweeter. racing downhill for 15 miles in such conditions and almost hydroplaning is sour. a photographer friend of mine (, met me just outside of the rockies to snap some photos of me and gIrgIb (the bike) and lil' billy (the trailer). he does stuff for patagonia and all sorts of outdoor magazines. we had great light playing off the mountains and even snagged some pics of me cycling thru a herd of elk. i'd never been the subject of a photo shoot before, so when he told me it was standard procedure to do a couple of nude shots, i, albeit reluctantly, obliged. but then he mentioned something about having difficulty focusing on diminuitive entities, which was a lot of photography mumbo jumbo if you ask me...

i sleep. i do not camp. i do not need a campfire. i don't even carry a stove. i need a 7 foot by 3 foot piece of relatively level ground. can you tell me why i should be expected to pay $15 for this? so i don't. and so the challenge is finding a nightly home. but when a teepee presents itself, you just don't pass that up.

what do you carry for protection?
surely you have at least a knife?
but how will you protect yourself from people?
i try not to look at things that way.
but don't you need a knife to cut a steak?
i'm a vegetarian.
so what will you do if someone tries to harm you? i don't believe that anyone will do that. a motivation for attack would most likely be to acquire one of my possessions, in which case, i'll hand it all over without a second thought and with a smile. if such an event evolves into an effort to physically harm me, i hope that the damage will be minimal, and the least resistance that i offer will foster that...
you're a fool.

it was early morning and i contemplated what, if anything, in this earthly life, one can count on...unequivocably depend on, to have no doubts about. will anything always be there? and then i looked to my right and surveyed my shadow and was delighted for an answer. and then a cloud rolled over the sun.

mommy, mommy, i want an ice cream bar!!
absolutely not honey, i told you, i’m not buying you anything!!
but i want one really bad!!! i want one i want one i want one!
no! now stop making a scene!
but mommy, i’m hungry and i want one now! (she puts the ice cream bar on the conveyor belt with her mother’s groceries...)
uhhh, so what do you want me to do with this?
oh, just go ahead...
(successful sinister smile)

i'm decent at math. i always liked factorials. a blend of numbers and punctuation. and though i remember little about combinations and permutations, i do remember that there are ways to calculate different ways to arrange objects. and that those arrangements are finite. so with a defined number of words in our language, when will that finite limit be reached? when will it all have been said? perhaps already?

i hope you have all stopped worrying about my license plate collection, because i have good
news. actually, i was very concerned as i distanced myself from utah and was still coming up empty for that state. it was odd, too, because i saw about 30 colorado plates. i was even getting picky with those rocky license plates, choosing rare versions and all. i had already found a vintage 1972 new mexico and even a maine license plate before utah. but as i was cycling one evening, i once again stopped, dove into a ditch and, admittedly anxious, slowly turned over the upside-down piece of metal. and when i saw utah on the other side, i held it up as if i had just won wimbledon. i even gave it a kiss. and some guy gave me both a honk and a singular extension of his middle finger. but, at that very moment, i was a champion, and nothing, i mean nothing, could bring me down.

is it sufficient to simply think about someone with a smile for countless miles and wish them well, or must some action, in addition to these intangibles, be taken? must a phone call be made, flowers delivered, email sent? does it require recognition on the receiving end? why?

honey, i'd like some cashews.
ok, well, these cashew pieces are on sale...
really? but i don't like cashew pieces, i like cashew halves.
but, they're they same thing.
no they're not.
cashew pieces are what cashew halves are once they're in your mouth for a few seconds.
honey, quit being difficult, i want the cashew halves.
(sigh) ok.

i got up longs peak, the highest in the rockies, via foot, and it was good to get back to the means of transportation that has taken me north to south across this country twice before. however, i did suffer some separation anxiety being away from gIrgIb that long, and when i saw my kona sutra again, i apologized and promised it would never happen again.

as i cycle through cities, i see how, in the midst of concrete, steel, glass, plastic, and cement, we leave little patches of green grass and a couple of token trees as a testament to the world the way it was before yet will never be again. i also notice how incredibly dense with people these places are. so if everybody is leaving the urban jungle for a little peace in a patch of green, why don’t we level the cities and try to restore this planet to the way it was, or at least to some degree. and i’m talking about not only leveling the wal-mart’s and mcdonald’s, but also the ma and pa stores. we keep going higher up the mountains and closer to the rivers and pumping water to places it shouldn’t be (did you know there is a tunnel running the entire length of rocky mountain national park to transport water from a lake that shouldn’t be dammed to another lake that shouldn’t be dammed?). and then we shoot the bear that eats a rich woman’s cat. but where else does the bear have to go?

and so i’m pedaling up a huge climb, sun beating down, every pore pouring sweat, and i’m huffing it and puffing it and loving it. but then, as i consider my exhalations, i consider my inconsiderate donation to carbon dioxide concentration. my personal contribution to global calamity. i might as well be adding a window pane to the greenhouse that is slowly being erected around the earth. sure, i’m not driving a ford expedition, but i’m also not one for shades of gray.

do we need peanut butter?
yeah, we ran out the other day.
well, let’s look here at what they have...
here, this stuff’s the cheapest per ounce, let’s get it.
but that’s a generic brand.
well, yeah, but it’s quite cheaper than the others.
but i don’t trust that brand, i trust this (proudly holds up a jar of jif)
but honey, look at the ingredients, they’re identical.
but i don’t trust that brand.
honey, you’re basing your decision on pigments and a recognizable font. it’s not like you know anyone that works at jif or anything.
we are never going grocery shopping together again!

i met a really cool girl. i knew i was on this bike trip. she knew i was on this bike trip. it was a nice conversation. until it was over. i will never see her again. unless, of course, i’s things like this that are like trying to hold on to water. or believing in fate. it all gets you nothing and nowhere. and the rest just evaporates.

the next time you go to a store, don’t circulate, just park and enjoy the walk. even if it’s raining. you’ll dry out. and you might even feel more alive.

i’m in albuquerque, taking some time off from my time off. and i went mountain biking with the friend i am staying with here. a friend from high school, a good kind of friend to have, because there is a history there that can never be escaped regardless of whether such an exodus is wanted. he knows and is fully aware of my perfectionism and my unable to be deterred dedication to things i choose to devote myself to. how a 98% on a test back in the day was not an “a” but rather a disappointment in regards to the missing 2%. very little has changed. it’s just where i focus that perfectionism and dedication now. this is another story. this story is that he is a mountain biker. i am not. and as i entered the two mile technical downhill section, i was once again reminded that, for me, this is not for me. this is not to say i didn’t enjoy it, even when i came off my bike and hid my sore neck for the next day, because i did enjoy it, but these things just aren't my bag. like bungee jumping is not for me. and double black diamond slopes are not for me. and all these sorts of things that get that overused label of ‘extreme’ slapped on them. it’s not my game. my game is much easier. the appalachian trail and pacific crest trails; it was just walking. that’s it. i learned how to walk when i was 2. this bike ride; it’s just riding my bike, i learned how to ride a bike when i was 5. i’m not trying to get to southern argentina by a certain date. i’m just riding. i like to establish a comfortable cadence and fly my mind like a kite. but i am careful to never let the string run out or, even worse, cut it myself.

are you out of napkins?
no mam, they’re on aisle 7.
but those aren’t the napkins i like.
i’m sorry mam, that’s all we have.
but i like the texture of the other napkins you used to carry. when will you get more of those?
i’m not sure what napkins you mean.
you know, those ones you used to carry.
uh...we might be getting some soon...
oh! good!

ask me where i’ll be in two months and i’ll tell you that i’ll definitely either be in mexico or guatemala or honduras or nicaraugua or costa rica or maybe even panama, or perhaps in new york city trying out for the opera. but these things that i do, i really don’t look at them as pushing the envelope or anything. i just like to wake up and do the same thing over and over and over again and then sleep and then do it again the next day, with very little change in result. and that, incidentally, is also the definition of insanity.

the bike has been overhauled, one of the sweet features of the kona sutra. i'm basically on a mountain bike now. with more flexibility to just go regardless of road conditions.

it's time for mexico.

in albuquerque, early morning, running, endorphin fix being attained, passing some yuppie shopping areas, and so i can't help myself, i've got to dumpster dive. if you've never done it, you think it's filthy, unhygenic, and that one will surface from such depths with ungodly diseases. if you have done it, you realize it's not only a goldmine but also an art form. i won't bore you with all the things i've found over the miles. it's sickening what we throw away as we force no eye contact with the starving fellow that smells like a human and not like our powder fresh soap enriched with vitamins and odor fighting power crystals. nevermind. as i dove, the treasure chest angered me more than any other. fifty, that's 5-0, and that's minimum, loaves of dadgum freaking organic bread. rye, sourdough, walnut, nativo, cinnamon raisin, rye, blah blah. all of this bread, still hermetically sealed in their plastic sheaths, was dated to expire on 15 sept. i found it on 14 sept. i grabbed four loaves and continued the 4 miles home in disgust.
this sort of thing blows my mind. i know i know, maybe some of the things i think and do are not the most normal. i'll give you that. it's like when i say that i don't think dropping bombs on countries is the most effective way to achieve peace and people click their tongues and shake their heads and say i'm too simplistic and naive. so maybe i'm the fool here. but what goes through the guy's head as he tosses all this perfectly fantastic unexpired bread into a dumpster?!? should this bread's resting place be adjsacent to those disposeable diapers? shouldn't it rest in someone's stomach? couldn't the store sell it for a quarter rather than toss it, at least that way making it available to people rather than only maggots? i don't know.
and so you say that there are policies. that maybe mr. wild oats' bylaws state that a day before something expired it should be chunked. and i’m sure that is the case. why? because we live in a country where people could sue and take mr. wild oats’ money. for selling non-expired bread. what have we progressed to? doesn’t matter because we’re already there and probably way beyond. regardless. couldn’t mr. wild oats give this bread to a food shelter and, as we all like to do, remove himself from any accountability. is this too much of a hassle? too much trouble? takes too much time, the equivalent of money? if this whole thing doesn’t outrage you, if only slightly, i can’t help but say you’re not paying attention!

and it’s more than just this. it’s turning on the news to see what’s happening in the world but instead learning how to identify my body type and choose the clothes that are most flattering to my figure, or how to cook some food that won’t be finished that will be shoved to the back of the fridge and ultimately sent to a dumpster, or how to best advertise myself for on-line dating, or to learn about new ziploc bags for your pets’ food to keep it extra fresh........

if you know me, you know i’m not an angry person. but it is hard these days. i just see too many things that make no sense. too many things that are done just because “that’s the way it is.” and yes, i agree, that is the way it is. but just because something is, doesn’t mean it has to be. it’s these spirals of habits that we dizzy ourselves in, failing to see that if we escape the outer circumference, things might just make a little more sense.


Anonymous Anonymous said... much as I like to get on you about stuff, your right on with a lot of what you posted her this last time around. The discount bargin rack at Wal-Mart is my favorite place, and dad frequently goes to the bakery to get expired breads. While they are able to freeze some and use it over time, most gets feed to the cattle. Its an unfortunately sign of our wealth as a nation. All you can do is try and consume as much as possible (and waste as little as possible) and try not to think about the rest of the world (not worth the anxiety and ulcer). THere's no use getting upset about things that can't be changed (why I don't watch the world news many stupid people, with stupid ideas drawing air).

I hope your able to access the net in central and south america. I hate these long stretches when your out of contact...makes me think someone done harm to your scrubby unarmed butt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...while I'm thinking about it...why didn't you go with the girl and hang out a bit? If this girl was able to tolerate your unwashed BO and actually converse with you...and you thought she was cool, you should have made a point to stay and hang out longer...geesh...quit being such a eunuch.

Later. Toth

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are an interesting bird. You have a mightier than thou attitude about everything. You think it's horrible that people starve, that food is wasted, and that your own contribution to global warming is hurting your conscience. Well, I then ask you, why aren't you working with organizations to end hunger, lobby for better environmental controls, or help people help themselves. Instead, you are living out your dream, riding your bike, for months, probably financed by someone else, so that you can take jabs at how bad the rest of us folks out here live. Get a job!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Blogger h I r S c h said...

awesome point #3 comment...

while riding and observing, i will hopefully be able to decide where i can devote myself to do something about all the disgusting things i see. that devotion will come post bike ride.

kona bicycles graciously provided the bike for me to do this ride. the trip, however, is being financed by yours truly.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Anonymous Tim &Katy (Estes Park) said...

Hirsch, ride on my brother. Living life back in the big city exposes me to all the things "wrong" with us here in this country. I hope that anons can change their minds about your holier than thou attitiude as I detected none of that in my casual meeting with you. (in which he graciously drank a Gatorade made by a large manufacturer and ate a bananna that was grown using pesticides and God knows what else to make it yellow.) My big city heart says boy I would love to be like Hirsch. As for get a job, if you read the blog and the history, you see the man has done his time, 9-5 sucks and I only work 9-3, when it is time, I do believe the H man will find a cause, and since he has more drive in his big toe than most of us have in our lives, he will be a worthwhile member of that cause. I am not a spokesman nor a close friend of Hirsch, but have all the respect in the world for him. Best times are ahead. Tim p.s. Hirsch, next time the girl thing appears before you, take the shot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Anonymous Gayle said...

And again I am mesmerized by your wonderful lyrical words that describe your journey. You sound so happy and enjoying yourself. Its great that you can meet up with old friends and make new ones along the way. Can't wait to read where you end up next. Take care and I'll be thinking of you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cook and Senator here...

We love the dumpsters too! All you can eat for FREE!!!
Relied on them a lot when we lived out of our truck for a while in Colorado.

Keep riding and writing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

talk about free stuff, i got a free yankee ticket from some nice person over craigs list this morning. i thank you hirsch for showing me how relative life is once again. and all those shades of black and white.

why would we want to destroy the cities when we can stack em high instead of spread them thin.

hirsch buddy, which of the books have you choosen or none?

yes, dumpsters are key, of coarse in the city people put things on the block for others to take without guilt or shame.

my question for you hirsch, are human beings a part of nature or apart from nature?

bien suerte, saludos, aaron, espana.

Friday, September 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

queso - cheese
pan - bread
aguacate/palta - avacado

youve got it made.

i think the world is full of beauty.

Friday, September 16, 2005  
Anonymous Ted said...

Your "journal" keeps getting better and better. Keep safe and keep enjoying that wounderful journey!

Saturday, September 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to hear you are doing well.

Sunday, September 18, 2005  
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Thursday, December 08, 2005  

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