Celebrating My Fingers

Now that we’ve come down from swinging in trees, our fingers have become evolutionary miracles. Our minds: Not so much.

Each finger seems to have a mind of its own, and independent control! . . . Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

This morning I was preoccupied. I had a paper towel in my left hand, a cup of water in my right, was picking up something from the floor, and logging in to my laptop. I then noticed that my left pinkie was clutching the paper towel, while my other left fingers were logging in. And I remembered marveling at a musician I’d been watching on YouTube, who made his guitar pick disappear into his palm, clutched by his pinkie while he strummed with the other 3 or 4 fingers. Amazing, our dexterity.

As for our minds, they’re not still in the trees — they’re on the ground, watching our surroundings, alert to dangers. They were not programmed for complicated civilized living. Which creates a cognitive overload.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Shifting Gears now:

But motorcycles, ah . . .
I love them. I’ve owned 30 of them.

In the same ways that our fingers can do amazing things with a guitar, a skilled rider uses each hand — each finger really, while feet and body perform multiple tasks simultaneously. All this while concentrating on not getting killed. It’s an addictive rush.

I won’t bore you non-riders with trivial details. Except, let me tell you what the right hand does while riding.

The throttle is twisted by rolling the rubber grip on the handlebars. This is done by making an ‘O’ with thumb and forefinger. Meanwhile one or two middle fingers pull on the brake lever. But when I roll to a stop, downshifting, braking and steering — my thumb reaches up to the kill switch, to turn off the motor when I stop. All parts of the body — well, most parts — are used in the symphony of riding.
I can feel my adrenaline spiking while I write this!

We racers call it “adrenaline aerobics.”

If not, I’ll do the marveling for them.

As for the mind, when you think about it, motorcycling is akin to walking around in the wilderness of early Earth, where we evolved. Not only are there things or sometimes people out there that want to kill you, there’s the matter of being aware of food, water . . . really — everything. Walking in wilderness feels a lot like riding motorcycles, except when riding you can’t possibly think about food. Water — that’s tempting. Defying death makes your mouth dry.

Am I ahead? Well, I’m writing, anyway. I did promise to mention this fact. I’m using all my fingers, two keyboards, and a mouse. Two mice if you count the touchpad!


Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages. Gargoylplex@protonmail.com