Minimizing Windows: Just Call Me Aimless in the Morning

Life can be full of difficult decisions. Should I accept that job offer? Am I really ready to get married? Should I have costly gender reassignment surgery, or simply stick with my OEM equipment and work out some sort of inexpensive "kludge"? Each one of these warrants extensive soul-searching, and is a decision that can alter the course of your life (and genitals) irrevocably.

Somewhat less profound is deciding how to spend the time between waking up in the morning (or, if you live in Williamsburg, the afternoon) and going to school or work (or, if you live in Williamsburg, the vegan coffee shop with the free Internet). While we all use this time differently, most of us don't really need to agonize over it too much. Some of us are up for hours, while others simply rush out the door after hitting the "snooze" button 15 times, but either way at a certain point in our lives we've pretty much worked out our approach to starting the day.

However, if you're the sort of person who seeks guidance in this area, fortunately there's "minimalism"--the 21st century religion of "bullshit curation." Here's one minimalist on how he sets the tone of self-importance that permeates the rest of his day:

In addition to being the 21st century religion of "bullshit curation," minimalism is also the religion of making stupid lists. Moreover, these lists are totally misleading and leave out all the actual facts. In this case, what seems at first like a simple, contemplative morning of "Sitting, Reading, and Writing" is actually fairly busy:

As you can see, this so-called "simplified morning routine" actually consists mostly of making coffee, reading books, reading the paper, working on his own book, writing his blog, and doing interviews. Granted, it's not exactly hectic, but it's not remarkably simple either. Then, after that, he goes on to "check email and read my feeds," which he seems to equate with "getting on with the rest of his day," but which the rest of us recognize as "procrastinating."

By the way, I'm not sure why anybody would interview a minimalist, because it seems like this should be all there is to say on the subject:

Q: Are you a minimalist?

A: Yes.

Done, and done.

I guess that, in addition to being the 21st century religion of "bullshit curation," minimalism is also the art of being boring and missing the point, since anything sounds "simple" if you leave out all the relevant or interesting details. Once you figure out the secret of meaningless list-making the rest is easy, and even the busiest person in the world can present himself as a minimalist. For example, here's President of the United States (Canada's lobster bib) Barack Obama's "simplified routine:"

1. Wake Up

2. Govern

3. Go to Bed

Sure, a lot happens during the "govern" part, but minimalists don't concern themselves with that. By the way, if you're looking to wring precious minutes out of your day, you might want to experiment with "compressing your eating window," just like "simplified morning routine" guy is:

I used to eat breakfast in the morning, but now I wait until mid-day to eat my steel-cut oats. Why? No special reason — I’m experimenting a bit with compressing my “eating window” from the normal 12-14 hours or so (the time you first eat until the time you last eat in the day) to about 8 hours. It hasn’t been a major change but something I’ve been trying out. It also means I can simplify my morning routine.

This is a minimalist way of saying, "Unlike most people with intact neurological functioning, I'm unable to read the paper and eat oatmeal at the same time."

Furthermore, while most of us find the default "eating windows" of "breakfast," "lunch," and "dinner" simple enough, the minimalist phenomenon of "eating window compression" undoubtedly causes all sorts of complications. For example, it must be incredibly difficult for two minimalists to meet up and talk minimalist shop since they can't simply say, "Let's talk about it over lunch." Instead, they have to utilize all sorts of iPhone "apps" so they can find a block of time during which their custom-tailored "eating windows" overlap. "Yeah, I'd love to get together for some steel-cut oats tomorrow morning, but unfortunately that time frame falls outside my new 8-hour eating window." And so it's back to sitting on the pillow, staring into space.

Also noteworthy is that "simplified morning routine" guy leaves out the most contemplative sitting-and-reading period of all, which is of course visiting the bathroom.
Even the most harried soul finds a few moments for contemplation while using the facilities--it's the Everyman's Nirvana.

Maybe he needs more steel-cut oats in his diet.

Fortunately there are still people who, when it comes to minimalism, have the moxie to put their money where their mouths are--or, more accurately, put their hands where a twig is. Consider this rustic makeshift cockpit that was sent to me by a reader:

This is certainly potential "Cockie" material--or it would be, had it been submitted in accordance with the contest rules. I'm at a loss as to what the green material on the stem is and whether it's structural or decorative, so rather than speculate I will defer to an engineer. Presumably though there's solid reasoning behind the unfinished wood, and my best guess is that the rider has a pet squirrel who likes to travel with him and whose claws find secure purchase on tree branches. This is why tree branch handlebars are also known as the "Woodsman's Nitto"--or, if they're inverted and shortened, as "flop-and-whittles."

Meanwhile, another reader has spotted this contraption, which is hanging its "filth prophylactic" in shame:

Though I'm pleased to see that rim messages are no longer whimsical and are instead straightforward warnings to the public:

As if the sight of the "hipster" on the brakeless pursuit bike barreling towards you with his ass in the air and his underwear exposed weren't enough for you to conclude that the rider is incapable of stopping, this rim effectively drives the message home.

One wonders if this rider's wheel bears a similar message:

Photographed by a reader at Interbike, he apparently ran a light along with a group of other riders while wearing a helmet cam in the grand 21st century tradition of capturing boneheaded riding on video, causing car traffic to skid to a stop. Since his crew is nowhere to be seen, I will presume that they abandoned him in the interest of self-preservation. Hopefully he decides to fight the ticket, keeps the helmet cam on, and drops a tight "edit" of his subsequent traffic court appearance.

Meanwhile, as hipsters age, it's only a matter of time before brakeless baby-portaging becomes the new elephant trunk skid. I have yet to see this in practice, but judging from Craigslist there does seem to be some experimentation going on:

i have a great bike but can't attach a sit for my i have to sell them.
it's a raleigh and has a basket which you can remove if you don't like and there are some aftermarket parts on there as well.
the frame is quite big (you'll have to come and check the exact size out for yourself)
hope to hear from you (by email or phone) 646 318 [deleted].

Sure, the seller isn't actually carrying a baby on this bike, but the ad implies he tried, and that alone is frightening enough. The streets are full of brakeless bikes with front baskets as it is, so it's only a matter of time before an enterprising "hipster" substitutes a baby for a six-pack. Even the brakeless-with-a-basket setup has always stricken me as being exceedingly pointless, since if you're going to go through the trouble why not take a few extra minutes and install a brake too? Then again, I've almost never actually seen one of these people actually carrying anything in the basket. In fact, pretty much the only thing I ever see people carrying in these baskets are their giant empty messenger bags and backpacks, which I suppose makes sense since we live in the age of needing accessories for our accessories.

Of course, a real man's bike would have no use for a brake or a basket, as you can see from this eBay auction, forwarded by another reader:

This bike is so freaking sweet. It has hardly been ridden because whenever i ride it the girls are all over me and my girlfriend get's jealous, so it's easier to just leave it at home. It is also really fast, it would be scary fast if you weren't a real man. I can get home from the bar like 3 minutes faster than my other bike, which is handy because you'll need to out run all the girls that think this bike is HOTT. I am totally serious.

Getting home from the bar three minutes faster is certainly a selling point--especially if you're looking to compress your "drinking window."

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