The route announcement for RAGBRAI was this last weekend in Des Moines. So, as most of you know, the RAGBRAI bike trip was affected by another ride (the Iowa’s Ride - coming through Clarion, July 15 - if you live in Clarion, I will ask you to open your house/yard up for riders. FYI). “Affected” in that - the ride was originally seen as competition and the both rides were fraught with emotion. Originally, the rides were scheduled to take place on the same week, but the new ride is going a week earlier from east to west - so all is now good. Anyway, the Route Announcement has always been this big party in Des Moines at Hy-Vee Hall with loud people and general raucous partying. Saturday, it felt like a wake. Everyone was subdued perhaps because of the prior angst. It felt very buzzkilled. (There were some people having a great time dancing and celebrating, it was just probably too early*.)
I’m always trying - a lot of times unsuccessfully - to be cognizant of the situational vibe. Take for example holidays after someone has passed - they are always weird. You just have to get through them. Life is a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows and being able to gauge the energy in a room will take you far in life.
The secret is knowing when to “whoop!” and when to stay quiet. We live in an environment and society that gets buzzed and emotional off of social media likes or dislikes and memes (happy, sad, eyes rolling). We literally exist in a state (the Iowa caucus) that is hyper-political and every commercial and every other phone call is an intrusion. I’m thinking (for me right now) that grinning and bearing it with a heavy dose of passive smiling is a good tactic. Soon it will be post caucus, spring is right around the corner and the warm weather will be here and … bliss.
*I was trying to make small talk with other tables and this one chick had too much to drink. When they were doing a tribute to some guy who’d passed away - she was yelling “woo hoo!!”. I was embarrassed for her. Her tablemates got her food to sober her up.