Life at the Margins

The early morning buzz of an engine, or that moment when we ride off the garage onto the pavement, or that instant when we tear into a freeway ramp – these are all glimpses of riding at the margins, at the margins of transitions. From stillness to the rumbling promise of 1200cc engine, from being boxed in a garage to bustling downtown alleys, from constrains of 25mph to 70mph open landscapes. All marked transitions. Life actually resides at these margins, because these are the moments when we feel most alive.

Taking a 40 mph curve at 60mph is riding at the margins, but only until we conquer the very same curve at 80mph. If we want that exact same feeling, then we need to simply raise the bar. Doing the exact same thing twice does not help, because we have already moved the boundaries. Margins are now further away. We automatically strive to raise that benchmark because it’s that feeling at the margins which matter, rest is just a means to that end. This is true whether it’s at the margins of riding, or general pleasure seeking, or for that matter any human pursuit! We all seek that feeling — which a first sip of whisky provides at the end of a long day, or that first serving of frozen custard on a summer afternoon, or that satisfaction of solving a new problem at work. Second time around none of these feel the same.

The constant pursuit of being at the margins is visible across all the human spheres. We were probably happy with library until we had ebooks and Wikipedia, now we are only happy with augmented reality! We found happiness with no internet, but now we are unhappy with the internet speeds? We were also contented with Magna Carta or bill of rights, until we had a chance with modern republic with democracy. But, as expected, now we are not merely contented with these unprecedented freedoms. We are not contented with mere liberties which enable us to freely pursue our material goals. But instead we want to be at the margins again, where education, healthcare, transportation etc are universal. Undoubtedly, even if we manage to achieve them, we would simply raise the bar. It’s easy to realize, what makes us tick is this never ending journey to the margins. In short, the next time I clock 120mph, it just might not look as fast.