Aug. 10th I wake up around 11am in my own bed in a fog. At first I think it’s a dream. That sounds cliché, but it really does. I walk down to the garage and check the bike. Yup, it’s there, and yup, it’s still burned and broken. I’m awash in confusion. What do I do now? For the past 11 days I’ve had a clear purpose and mission every day. Tomorrow I go back into dulldrom. What do I do now? I make some food and lounge around, while my mind adjusts to familiar yet distant surroundings. I’ve met so many people, seen so many things, experienced so much, this feels like a completely different world. I think this is what soldiers go through when they reintegrate back into daily life, only on a much smaller scale. I’m glad for the understanding this brings me, even it’s just an ounce to a soldier’s ton.
NOTE: I’m very patriotic and supportive of our troops. I’ve tried to join the military 3 times, but have chickened out each time providing myself silly and empty excuses, finally resigning to the fact that I will never join up. I just don’t have the right stuff, but I will always admire and support those who do.
Being quite lost I turn to what I know, maintaining my motorcycle. An oil change is first on the list and the rest of the day is spent tinkering on the bike and various other chores to get my life back on track. I go to bed thinking I’m ready for work the next day.
2 weeks have passed since my return, and my life is still strange to me. The familiar places and faces seem different in some way I can’t figure out. Maybe more dull, stunted, or weathered; I can’t put my finger on it. I’m depressed and trying to process everything I’ve learned this trip. Patience with myself, the bike, and life. Perseverance through the tough times. I had proven to myself, again, that I can get through anything I have the desire to complete, but what’s the point if the task to complete seems so insignificant? The task in this case is life. What is the point to life? Why do we insist on perpetuating this concept? What drives us? What drives me?
I deal with the laptop issue, getting a new one through work is one heck of a process. I replace everything which wasn’t replaced on the trip, and I get back to riding the bike, at which point I notice the rear brake is far worse off than I had thought. It starts dragging and toasts 2 sets of worn brake pads in the same amount of days. Cherry is not happy, which means I’m not happy. I need some structure, I need some purpose. So I do what I know, make a list.
I organize the garage with new shelves, I start disassembling Cherry for a complete overhaul. I order the parts. Nothing seems to change my lack of desire to live. WHY? I haven’t mentioned yet that I’ve been thinking a lot about my last ex-girlfriend, a lady I was with for 1 year, and apparently had given much more of my heart to than I’d thought. We’ve been apart 3 years now. I think about many other things that have happened, trying to dig through my past to find a reason for my ingratitude towards life. I visit with my pastor 3 weeks in a row and hash some things out.
This time is a haze in my mind, but somewhere along the line I remember a definition of “insanity” once presented to me: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, and I realize I’m currently insane, and expecting things to change is an unrealistic expectation. I must become different to change this situation. I also remember the small things about the trip. A smile someone at the dragon flashed my way. The way the air smelled that fateful foggy morning on the Blue Ridge, that abysmal heat through Kansas and Oklahoma, and how during those situations it was exciting to experience the raw edge of life. How do I experience the raw edge of life now, here, in the dulldrom?
It hits me like a derailed freight train during a late-night screening of Red Dragon. Sir Anthony Hopkin’s insanity as the serial killer cannibal, Hannibal, brings a certain emphasis to the small things.
I must pay more attention to the small things. I focus on enjoying cooking and cleaning, 2 chores I despise. I focus on being as productive as I’m capable of at work. I focus on quitting cigarettes, leaning on Nicorette during the day and enjoying the pipe after hours in a renewed attempt at quitting. With each increased focus my attitude turns around until I realize my self-defeated attitude is a choice. Choice is paramount to our lives, and in fact, in my mind, the point to life. Its also the means with which we live life, in a circular fashion, reflecting all cycles in life. Cycle, the word, is based on circle, after all. Remove choice, and you remove life. Within 3 days I’m back to who I knew myself to be – hyper, passionate and ever curious.
This trip has taught me a lot. I could write a proper book on the life lessons this trip has taught me. Last year during our trip to Seattle, with Felix the Australian, I learned what it meant to be a man, at least what it means to me, to be man. That was a coming of age trip. On this trip I learned how to enjoy life. Details, details, it’s all in the details. Focus on what’s right in front of you, otherwise you’ll miss it. Don’t forget to glance ahead though, just to make sure you’re still heading in the right direction. Don’t plan too stringently, for life likes to throw curve balls, and if you’re not adaptable, fit, and prepared, you’ll never hit a home run.
My renewed zest for life came in the form of cultivating an interest in enjoying life. Circular and self serving it is, but works it does! I am glad I experienced all the trials which I did on the trip, and I’m ever grateful for those who shared their lives with me. I must do my best to bless as many people in my life as I’m able.
But first, I have to repair Cherry’s over-heating problem, and rebuild the rear brake. While I’m at it, I might as well provide her some TLC and fix many of the fairing fasteners which have broken through the past 3 years. While I have the fairings off, I might as well remove the heated grips in preparation for the upgrades this winter. And while I’m doing that, I might as well detail her in and out. Yes, it’s going to be a fun next few weeks!
Some stray thoughts:
NOTE: Semi-truck drivers are a rider’s best friend on the interstate. They are professional drivers, and most of them ride a moto when they’re home. They know the life, and their life is the road. I used them for wind-breaks and safety nets many times, each time thanking them when they’re speed dropped below my own desired, and each time they would waive back with a smile. Once, a fellow even slammed on his breaks to help me break the draft he was creating with a polite toot of the horn and a smile flashed ear to ear. They’re also excellent company at stops, fully versed in the single-service friendships.
NOTE: Cops. They seem even more despicable to me now than they ever have before. They were never there when I needed them, but always there to spoil the fun or progress. The majority of my experiences with traffic cops is that they are about 5’6” with a buzz cut and a chip on their shoulder. They are simply revenue generators, and nothing more than unchallenged tax collectors. Yea sure, there are others like detectives and the like, and I’m sure some of them do some good, but to the average well-meaning citizen, they are but an extra weight us honest tax-paying citizens are forced to shoulder. This society would be so much more progressive if our laws, those who enforce them and the expectations of citizens were updated with a model more appropriate to our times.
NOTE: The majority of people in this country are good. I only once experienced a rude person, but because of our fragmented nature (being perpetuated by social and traditional media), we distrust each other to an unwarranted degree. This country could be a lot greater if people assumed the other person to have the same basic values as they do. We all want to live free of oppression from each other. We all want to prosper and be happy. Let’s give each other the elbow room to do so.
And now… Back to your regular scheduled program. I will be posting 1 post a week until something of this magnitude arises again. Thank you so much for following along, and as always, I appreciate your comments, no matter the nature. Feel free to send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org