Nick Ang profile picture

Nick Ang

Planes of existence

woman floating in water

Riding down the streets of Singapore has been great - I get to cut through static traffic and arrive earlier than car owners. But that comes at a price, and that is not something everyone readily accepts. It’s understandable - death or permanent injury are hardly palatable risks.

I thought about this for a while. Recently, over lunch with my classmates from General Assembly, I jokingly remarked that while I get to filter to the frontline of a red light like water percolating to the bottom of a vase, I’m paying for that privilege with my personal safety. It’s hard to deny that truth.

Also, without putting something like that on the line I think I would have been the victim of a lot more verbal abuse from other drivers. “Why should he get to cut through traffic like that while I’m stuck here?” is how I imagine it would go down.

I bring this up to illustrate a pattern that I’m beginning to see - life operates on multiple planes.

As a motorist, before I hit the tar, I have to fully accept the risks involved with riding on two wheels and no exoskeleton. It’s important to acknowledge this fact, otherwise I’d be operating on a different plane while acting like I’m on this one. That divergence can rip a person apart (mentally) in no time. It’s what makes it possible for the extremely wealthy to be more miserable than the extremely poor - we need to unite our hands with mind.

I would gladly exchange safety, which I honestly believe I can mitigate with skill (despite reckless drivers), for convenience. Sometimes I find myself grinning when dismounting my bike. I’d look at my watch and, being ahead of time, slowly entertain the rhetorical question: surely the reduced time I spent on the road translates to a measurably reduction in risk?

I am happy occupying my plane at this point in my life. Yes, there’s room for improvement in many respects - no arguments there. But I’m genuinely happy for what I have now, while continuing to strive for progress.

The worst thing one can do is be a sort of honorary member of a plane. Few things cause more misery than envy. Do or don’t - it’s not worth living in suspension.

(Image: averie woodard)

Nick Ang profile picture
Senior software engineer, dad, writer-thinker type. Big on learning something everyday and trying to have fun before the lights go out.
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