Everyone who has tried knows that it is difficult to be conscious of how their mind is functioning. My problem is that my world is complex and I can only think about and hold a few of the contradictory things in my mind at the same time. Most of the time I just solve my problems with the first reasonable option that comes to mind, but that approach is obviously flawed because it is based on previous habits that worked in some totally different situations.

The current situation is always new and unique so it is impossible that the old habits will be precisely adapted to the current situation. Thus I must think before it becomes possible to see and react ideally to the situation that is before me. But thinking in a philosophically logical way is nearly impossible, and even thinking rationally is hard, so as a general rule I just try to do the right next thing and to avoid doing something stupid.

Most of my life it appeared that most people were doing the same thing and just trying to get their share of the good things of life without doing anything outrageously stupid that might get them hurt. Here in Bend that is no longer the case, which is peculiar, because we live in such a wonderful place with so few real threats to our well-being.

Perhaps that safe feeling is the reason people here actively seek out dangerous pastimes such as mountain climbing, wilderness biking, spelunking caves, whitewater rafting, etc. The list is endless because if someone can discover a new way to risk their lives they come to this wonderful city in the wilderness and have at it. I see many people limping and have, without intending it, grown sensitive to seeing injured people. It’s like when you have a new car and you start seeing similar ones everywhere.

I don’t have a problem with injured people walking strangely, but I do have a problem with them driving like they are racing for their lives down a street clearly marked at 25 MPH, even 20 MPH here in city center, at double that posted speed. I was talking about this violation of clearly marked traffic laws with some friends this week and all of us had seen people doing similar things, even running STOP signs and solid RED lights at 20 MPH. Two years ago this wasn’t happening here, and people were extremely law-abiding and accommodating.

I have never seen this kind of behavior happening in any other place I’ve lived. This place is going nuts. I don’t know if it is happening elsewhere, but there is now a flagrant violation of simple public laws, public trust, and treating strangers with respect. My false belief seems to be that this problem will be self-correcting, but so far it is just getting worse.

My best option is to do the next indicated right thing and avoid stupid things with negative consequences.