Sunday, July 8, 2007

NPR - Walking Contradictions

We're all walking contradictions. From the time we're born to the moment we die, we are full of contradictions. Many from the circumstances and experiences during our life, and many from our body and mind - the doing and being we all do as we go through life. And while this sounds like a statement of the obvious, it's amazing how easily we forget it, because we assume everything is ok and any contradiction is the problem of other people.

I'm wandering a bit here, but I can't understand the signs on a residential street in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. The sign above says you can park for 2 hours at a time and those with the permit can park indefinitly. Seattle uses permit for areas residents can park on the street anytime for any length of time. Only visitors are confined to 2 hours from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, around which you can park for any length of time - assuming their friends and visitors.

But the sign below seems a contradiction. It says you can't park from noon to 5:00 pm or be towed. Since there is no double parking in Seattle, it's not about that, so the sign just doesn't make sense to me. Anyway, why the subject? Well, I love Formula One racing. If you're not familar with this form, it is the more technological form of auto racing in the world. The two US series, Champ Car and Indy Racing Cars are no match for these cars in terms of cost and technology.

One of these cars cost of $1 Million to build and teams spend $30-50 Million per year for just 17 races around the world. The drivers are some of the best fit and most paid athletes in the world. So why my interest? Well, I went to my first Formula One race in 1963. The German Grand Prix at Nurburing, when they used the 14 mile circuit that wound through the forest. I saw some of the world's best drivers up close in the pits and driving the course.

For a 14 year old kid it was delightful. We later went to the 1964 Grand Prix as well as the race at Hockenheim and LeMans. I followed Formula one over the years as best I could through the events shown on television. And while they're still exciting to watch they don't compare to see the races then as a kid. How many people can say they have personally seen Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Phil Hill and others in person at speed? And the contradiction?

Well, it's obvious that this form of auto racing is very expensive and exploitive of the environment and our resources. To think of all the resources behind the teams, races, and people, it's mind-blowing to be an environmentalist that I love this one sport over all the others. I also watch NASCAR races but not as much as I find oval racing fairly boring after a while. And I wrote about when my Dad was a racer, so I caught the bug from him.

I could go on and on about our contradictions, but I just wanted to say we should be aware of them and acknowledge them as being human. And smile when you're faced with them, what else is there when faced with the obvious?

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