Saturday, April 19

Visiting the Dead, Part II

oakwdbike1 I'm learning to have more patience with whiners, particularly now that I've become one on more occasions than I care to admit. I'm realizing that my riding alone, which I prefer, has little to do with how I feel about other people and most everything to do with how I feel about myself. I'm realizing too that this is not some recent personality flaw. It's choice, which I know doesn't negate it being a personality disorder. Neither is it a "stubborn" streak that someone recently attributed to me. On rare occasions, I actually know I'd enjoy a ride with another person and I accept that it will be over-stimulating. The kind of stimulation I seek from a ride, comes for the ride, not from worrying about those I'm riding with, which I know I'd do to some extent. I don't want such distractions. Yet, I know I can prepare myself for anything. I'm a team player when the situation calls for it. oakwoods

But I prefer singles tennis over doubles. I'm real sociable, believe it or not, and have tons of comrades around the globe. Still, I prefer to ride alone. Why am I whining about that here. Well, I'm feeling a bit defensive. I'm not a misanthrope. Seems like every ride season I'm engaged in the negative discourse on motorcycling riding. oakwd5

Generally, I don't care what others say about what I do. Sometimes I get sucked into the vortex of stinking thinking and the need for air is immediate. Perhaps because it's the start of the season, but the questions are coming. "Why do you like/need/want to ride?" "Don't you know how dangerous it is to ride." "What about your family, isn't it unfair to them?" Here's my favorite: "I just couldn't do that to my family." Another favorite: the universal story of knowing someone who knows someone who was killed in a motorcycle accident. My short coming? Allowing myself to feel defensive about these comments. Like any one else, I'm not immune to these things ringing in my head, particularly if I'm already grumbling about other life issues.

Tomorrow will mark one week since my gal pal has been home. I've probably put about fifty miles on her thus far (the weather is improving, my work life is not). Not counting the cell phone drivers who seem to feel that the "Rules of the Road" do not apply to them, I have enjoyed these measly miles. I've had two drivers literally share the lane with me. Some cabbies continue to play Pac-Man and come way too close. Getting caught in rush hour traffic means accepting that there is no such thing as a "space cushion." Too many drivers behave as if any gap is an open lane invitation for them to fill that space. And, when did turn signals become optional? So, when I have those experiences and then hear the negative voices droning in the background, one is going to need something to recharge the human battery. Add to this, a ghastly work load that violates United Nations Human Rights policies and you'll understand better the origins of the whining. oakwd6

Still, grumbling should have time limits. To prevent mine from spiraling out of control, I took a visit to one of my favorite thinking holes, a place where people no longer have a second chance, where most residing there would probably prefer not to be there. It's a visit to a place that always gives me a fresh perspective on life and living, a place filled with both told and untold stories and more history than the history books can record. For me a cemetery visit is the best antidote for whining, a panacea for what ails my over-stimulated mind and body. Visiting an old cemetery, reading the headstones, feeling the once lived history entombed there is a much needed correction, a sort of re-calibration of the soul. I always feel reinvigorated when I leave, ready to brave again what can sometimes feel like a harsh, cold, thoughtless world. Some people don't need or want such getaways and might think mine is rather macabre. That's okay. It works for me. Just like riding works for me. Riding gives me that regular, albeit seasonal, boost I need stay grounded, focused and mindful.


It's time to ride! First trip coming up.


Crusty said...

Hey Sharon! Yes seeing the old grave stones, and reading the many died so young back then. Makes you realize just how short life can be and how important it is to get out there in live while you can.

Sojourner rides said...

Hey Crusty! I'm planning to do just that, get out there and live while I can. I ask only for some decent weather now and again! Thanks.

Jack Riepe said...

Some day I hope you and I ride together for awhile, because riding with me is the closest thing to being alone. I ride through my environment -- trading molecules with the scenery, the aroma, and the action. I want to remember everything, and ride only as fast as I can take it in.

The serious riders I hang with think this is cool. But they don't wait. And I generally meet them for lunch, or dinner, or the next day. And when we compare notes, they are amazed at what they missed. They don't care, they're just amazed.

I ride with Pete and Dick. They're the best. And if anything should happen to me, it's a comfort to know that help is only 40 or 50 miles ahead of me someplace.

As for those who ask the tough questions as to why I ride, I replaced them all with bikers. No questions asked.

As usual, this was a great read. The engaging sincerity of your tone always makes me feel like I'm talking in church. I will not post a comment again unless I can say something profound. Once again, I have vowed to try and write only significant stuff, such is your influence.

Sojourner rides said...

Jack, I'd enjoy riding with you--and not just because it would be like riding alone. I think each stop we'd make, I'd be gifted with your wit and wisdom. You are much to kind to me regarding the posts--I wish I could spend more time making them more sensible. I certainly wish I had your story telling gift! But I'm inspired by your encouragement. Seriously. And, PA really is near the top of my long list of places to ride...