Sunday, May 9

Finding lost things, accepting new selves...and unearthing a 2yr old video camera

Recently, I read Premeditated Scootin', about blogger Jim losing one of his favorite gloves and it was as if he were talking directly to me. That tale touched me deeply as lately I've been losing important things. This is out of character for me.
When I lose things, I am doing so because I am stressed about something and my mind is wandering, I'm worrying about something, and walking about in a brain fog.
On a recent Tuesday I rode Jesse Owens to campus, where I teach two days a week. When I finished and returned to the bike, I searched for my keys in vain. I returned to the building where I work and searched everywhere but I couldn't find my keys. Finally, I asked the Director of the center, which I hated doing because she has knowledge of several previous loses. She sympathized with me and suggested I look in the ladies room where lost items are sometimes placed. Nada. Just before leaving the building to go weep somewhere, I asked the security guard if anyone had turned in keys. He reached toward a wall near him and handed me the keys. Whew!

Two days later, I made a conscious effort after I parked to put my keys in my knapsack. A voice reminded me of the little plastic ring built inside the front pocket of my knapsack. I did not listen to the voice. However, I placed them deep inside my sack. When class was over, I gathered my belongs and left the building. When I reached the bike and reached for the keys, they were not there. I unloaded the bag completely, they were missing. When I emptied my backpack of the lecture notes and books, the must have fallen out? I reluctantly returned to the Center. When I entered, the guard turned to look at me with what I interpreted as a deja vu moment for him. Before asking him anything, I searched like I had done two days prior. While searching unsuccessfully, I had a mini meltdown, my skin got all hot and my breathing labored. I decided to search my classroom thoroughly--again--this time looking where I didn't expect the keys to be.

A few weeks prior, it is that very place in which I left behind my mobile phone and another time, two thumb drives that hold huge parts of my life in photographs. After searching the room several times, I focused my eyes on the dark colored floor. I then pulled out the chair next to the one I occupied. I recall tossing my knapsack there. When the chair slid out I saw the bright red keys to my Givi luggage first. What a relief not to have to confess my absent-mindedness to the security a second time. I waved to him as I left the building.

These loses pale in comparison to the next day, Friday. I woke up to what promised to be a beautiful day--only it was not day yet. It was 3am--my normal wake up time. I wanted to start the work day and get it over with but start time was still six hours away. Ugh! Really, I didn't feel like work at all. I decided to head to the office early; but I was at my desk less than an hour and that voice roared in my ear. It said, "Go home! Get free while you can! You are sleep deprived and exhausted." So, I took a personal day and left.

Before going home, I went to Whole Foods and bought fruit and twelve cartons of Fage Peach Yoghurt to which I am seriously addicted. I loaded up my trusty knapsack and left the store. When I got home it was 9am. I gave into a nap.

At noon, I decided to take a motorcycle ride. I packed a few things and checked for my wallet. It wasn't in my knapsack. I searched everywhere. Then I remembered, "It's in the topcase of my bike." Whew!

Geared up and headed to the garage. No wallet in the topcase! My skin began to warm and my breathing became rapid. I returned to the house to search again. No wallet. It had to be at Whole Food as I needed it to pay for the groceries. I called Whole Foods and a woman put me on hold for a long time while she checked. She returned with bad news. No wallet. I gave her my contact info and hung up. What has become a daily ritual of late, "The Meltdown." I thought briefly of riding without my wallet but as one old Blues song goes, "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all."

As I prepared to put the bike back in the garage, that voice announced itself again. "Go to Whole Foods. Go there!" I said a silent prayer and rode to Whole Foods. So I did. On the way there, I had another mini meltdown inside my helmet. My growing stress was palpable. Before going inside WF, I searched the parking garage even though I knew that had I dropped it there, it would be long gone by now.

Inside, I saw two men at the customer service desk, not the women who had told me over the phone that the wallet wasn't there. "Excuse me...I called earlier and someone told me that my wallet, which I lost here this morning, wasn't here. But I was in the neighborhood so I thought I'd come to check. Did anyone find a wallet early this morning?"

The young man was tall, thin (probably vegan) and soft-spoken. "What color?" I told him. "What shape?" I told him. He smiled. Reached inside a drawer and said, "What's your name?" I told him. His smile widened and held the wallet out towards me. I didn't take right away. "It's been here all morning,"he said. "The bagger noticed it right after you left and it's not moved from this drawer--so everything is there."

The energy in his smiled washed over me and helped lightened the load I've been lugging for weeks. The other guy behind the desk, looked at me and smiled too and agreed that it had been there all morning. I stood silently for a few seconds and tried to articulate my gratitude and my relief to be reunited with my wallet.

It had been a tough week of doctors' tests, a sleep study, horrific hives and a debilitating fatigue that makes my daily walks feel like I'm pulling along a Volkswagen Beetle! I used to run as much as 60 miles a week. Now, my four mile walks require a nap afterwards, a nap where my battery never seems to fully recharge and never holds the charge for long.

If nothing else, life is about adjustments, isn't it? We have little choice but to deal with whatever comes our way, in the best way we can. I deal with just about anything if I can get rid of this chronic fatigue. I am on a mission to do just that.

So, I'm turning my goal-oriented head on figuring out how to overcome fatigue that I am told will be my cross to bear. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease of the connective tissues--I still can't call it by its medical name just yet. One of its major symptoms is a sometimes debilitating fatigue that can be resistant to change regardless of the amount of sleep one gets.

My motorcycle travel this summer has no room for fatigue. While I will not ride fatigued; I will not rest until I find a solution. I've got places to go and people to meet. I can hear you say, "Can't the doctor just give you something for the fatigue?" He did. And for two days, I felt like my old self. I couldn't believe the difference. I felt as if the little pill he prescribed had performed a miracle. For me that's huge. I'm not a good pill taker at all.

Then on the morning of day three, the itching started. The side effects warned that in "rare" cases a "severe" allergic reaction might occur. I am the rare case. Hives were everywhere and my whacked out immune system sent out histamines to attack the foreign invaders. It waged a war a whole week even thought I had stopped taking the drug and had been given a huge dose of daily antihistamines to counter act the hives. The doc said was a "significant" allergic reaction. Yeah, tell me about it!

I am hereby, right now, embarking on a mission to fight fatigue. By hook or crook, this will be a great, safe ride season. I have to just figure out how to ride despite my new life challenge.

VIDEO NOTE: I unearthed my video camera, which I've used maybe twice. I abandoned it when I couldn't find a screw to make it fit securely around the handlebars and none of the accessories that came with it worked either. Yes, I've contacted the manufacturer but well after the warranty and well after searching hardware stores too numerous to count. So, it's been sitting in a bin untouched.
The camera is mounted to my handle bars with DUCT TAPE. I know, the windscreen if filthy; I know, the image is not great (totally unedited); and the road is ragged. This is a ONLY a test to see if I even want to keep the camera. So, I'm just winging it--I have dug out the manual but haven't reacquainted myself with it so the resolution is whatever it was last set too. Since I haven't used the dang thing in two years (and even then I used it once or twice) I fumbled my way through and it probably shows. Still, it was worth it to give it a try, learn to use it before rushing off to buy something else I may also toss in a draw.

A full review of the camera is in the process--after a fair testing...

Test #1 Oregon Scientific Helmet Camera

Test #2 will occur under more ideal conditions: a clear, bright, sunny day--a clean windscreen. On this test day #1, the sky was dark, ominous and foreboding--and getting blacker by the minute. With all those strikes against it, I think the camera did a fair job and would probably perform better if I had done some editing, aimed the camera through a clean windscreen, and had checked the camera settings for the best resolution. I did none of those things, which is why I'll give it another test drive.

Last but definitely not least, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! If you can read this, there's a mother somewhere to thank.


Unknown said...


so many things to ponder and say, but for now I liked the tour around the DT of Chicago. Traffic is sort of like ours in Vancouver, except ours is worse.

AND . . . I got a really big smile with your "CONKed" it out. I think you did this for effect.

Everytime I think of you I'm going to remember that precious moment

Happy Mothers Day to you too

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Bobskoot--that conked out was not pretend--I was getting ready to do a u-turn and didn't downshift to 1 gear when I realized I couldn't make it with the traffic coming up. Then I tried to take off when I saw a clear spot and I was in 3rd gear lol! Very newbie behavior.

BTW, that traffic was not a true look at Chicago traffic. I don't know who has the worst but we rank in the top 10 (#3) of worst traffic in America! I'll have to show you real traffic--we no longer have a rush hour--it's all bad! There were spaces in that traffic, downtown morning, afternoon and early evening is horrible.

Thanks for dropping in...

Chris said...

Sharon, losing the keys to the bike is the worst. Last month I had a mini freakout too when I lost my keys at a gas station, and I never moved three feet from the bike. They got stuck in the corner of my handguard. Took me way to long to find them.

Video was decent for an older camera, and a decent first test. I will have to agree with Bob. I snickered a bit when you killed it making the u-turn. You should take a three day weekend and go on a long ride to get some bike zen time. I need some myself.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sharon:

I am terribly absent-minded and prone to misplacing things as I am easily distracted. On a trip last summer, I had three guys rip the house apart looking for keys that I had put in a gym shorts pocket, shorts that I was wearing for underwear. And I used to lose my wallet frequently.

I too go into the melt-down phase when stuff like this happens. Well my Joe Rocket mesh jacket has a special snap ring for keys. They always go there now. And I have not misplaced my wallet in 5 years. This is because I now use a Harley-style wallet, which is chained to my belt.

Constant fatigue from an illness will make you short-tempered and can cloud your judgement. You have to find a good way to deal with it, like taking naps. I find tha taking a two-hour nap at 5pm enabvles me to work ver effectively past mid-night. And that's unrealistic too. Getting up at 3am every day is just fine, provided you are in bed and asleep by 9.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Fleeter said...

There are so many cars in this place you call home! ...shudder...

Thinking about you. Call when you are up to talking.
Love you!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

bobskoot--on my Mother's Day ride, I thought more about your comment that Vancouver traffic is "worst." I'm guessing you were JUST stating that from the looks of the traffic you saw in my video. As I responded Chicago is rank 3rd in USA traffic and that depiction was not the norm.

Well, as a researcher, I had to dig into your assertion that Vancouver traffic was "worst." I enjoyed locating the data. Not only do I disagree ;-) the evidence is on my side.

In the world ranking of worst traffic and traffi jams, Vancouver doesn't even make the cut!!

Chicago is in the top 20!! A little correction for ya!


Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Chris, I remember that key story of yours too. I'm going to have to find a place on my bike to hid a key (don't know if that would be safe or not). We have a key hidden in a place no one would ever find outside our house but on the property. It has saved us many many times.

I had so many clips to chose from that didn't reveal my conk! I was just trying to do a nice u-turn but when I slowed to wait for the traffic to pass, I saw traffic come in the other direction. When it was time to move out, I was in the WRONG gear! But rather than exclude that, I showed "my bad."

I figured I'd get some ribbing ;-)==and no comments on that really nice u-turn ;-( Oh well...

Next time I going to include the wheelie!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Jack, Thanks. As you say, you're used to losing things. i'm not. I is rare or was rare. I have places for things and they go there but you're right, it's the brain fog from the being newly "not myself." I'm doing all sort of things to combat the fatigue--with the exception of illegal drugs--I'm even avoiding most of the legal ones as they cause issues far worst than the fatigue (e.g., the chronic urticaria, hairy eyeballs).

I'm in research mode on this. Thanks for your insights.

I'm trying to sleep beyond 4 hours and no, I don't go to bed by 9. It's fatigue + insomnia. Go figure.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Dear dear Claye,

I showed you one of the very light rides. As I told bobskoot, Chicago ranks 3rd in the nation for worst traffic and traffic jams. I learned recently that in WORLD ranking, Chicago is in the top 20.

Not that I'm proud of this, but it is partly home. I'll have to get a video of where my house is, you'll see a big difference. Actually, it's more like where you live.

I'm planning to call you sometime this week.

Unknown said...

I share your frustration of losing things today. My normal ride to train bicycle had a flat, switch to the other road bike. Locked the bike at Flossmoor Station, unlocked and relocked it better. Walking to work from the train, I reach for my keys. Nada. Had to have dropped them on the train. Holding out hope that they will be turned in.

Unknown said...


did anyone mention the excellent U-turn you negotiated whilst heading into your office parking space. So smooth. I noticed another car make the same U-turn before you. With so little traffic on the road on that particular block couldn't you have just made a left turn directly in ?

Our traffic is sort of the same as yours. No rush hour, just rush hour all day long

Your forgetfulness is rubbing off on me. This morning I lost my flashlight. I decided to check my rear tire pressure, brought it outside just incase and now it is missing. And I had a BIG scary lost moment last year when riding to Oregon with my "missing" wallet. Also about a week ago I couldn't find my house keys, searching everywhere for them. It seems we are related more than you think

Wet Coast Scootin

irondad said...

Events can often be intrepreted in different ways. Here's a possibility.

Perhaps your distraction and misplacing things is a metaphor of your feeling vulnerable right now.

Maybe the security guard, customer service folks, good samaritans, and fortuity are symbols of the supportive community around you. Here as well as those in closer physical proximity.

Just a thought.

RichardM said...

Nice video. I don't see how you all deal with traffic like that. If Vancouver is even worse, than that is one more place to avoid. Even though I grew up in L.A., I have been up here in the middle of nowhere to deal well with heavy traffic like that.

I have had a lot on my mind lately as well and found that I tend to lose small items. Not really lose but more often I'll put something down and not remember where it was. With a little thought, I have been able to locate them again but it is has been frustrating.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Jeffry, you poor man! I'll send out some positive vibrations for you and hope it does well and the keys surface. Something's going 'round...Thanks.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

bobskoot--that building is part of the main post office. But it's always a bit tough to tell where to park. So lots of people pass the spot and have to do a u-turn. Where I stopped, there is sometimes a postal worker there to whom you can hand off stamped mail.

Thank you for complimenting me on the turn!

I think everyone here who has responded has had their share of "lost" items. I don't know if I should feel in good company or afraid for the world!Perhaps we all need to do a bit of yoga-breathing and cool out!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Irondad, I don't think you hit the nail on the head. I think you whacked it out of the park!

My challenge is to keep in mind those alternate ways of seeing...usually I can. It's far easier, I'm discovering, when life is that bowl of cherries. These times now call for me to dig deeper and try harder.

Thanks for your very thoughtful words. I heard them deeply.

cpa3485 said...

First, Thanks for the plug to my silly little blog. Secondly, as I said in my blog when I found my glove, "Good things (such as keys and wallets) will return to those that are righteous, pure in heart and who never give up in the face of overwhelming odds". You must have all of those qualities.

I once went to a convenience store, bought some pop and a sandwich, had my hands full when I returned to the car. I placed my wallet on top of the car as I placed my purchases and myself in the car and drove off. I got a call from the main gate at the local air base a couple of hours later. Someone had turned in my wallet after finding it on a highway near the convenience store. There are definately good people in the world.
I hope the fatigue thing turns out to be temporary, but know that you will overcome it. After all, you are definately pure in heart and all those other things.

Enjoyed the video. There are a lot of bogeys in that town.

Take care,

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Richard Machida, thank you for dropping by and thanks for your comments. bobskoot is dreaming...Chicago's traffic is far worst. But I think you just get used to your environment--or not.

I've heard for many people, I'm beginning to think that we're all in a sort of frustrating funk! I hope we all get some relief soon.

Ride safely!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

bobskoot--sorry you're in the forgetfulness club with the rest of us. There's a new book out on the middle age brain, I'm going to read it soon. hint, hint. ;-)

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

cpa3485--thanks for your very kind words. I've gotten through the day (knock wood) without losing anything. I'm safely tucked in the house so I think I'm going to be safe. Your blog really inspired me and made me feel a sense of community with you. I'm glad I'm behaving in such a way that lost things are returning to me. Thanks Jim, for sharing so much of yourself.

Unknown said...

My keys were in the bike lock went I went home that night. My bike was still there as well. Yippie!

Unknown said...


yesterday I went to the first bike night BBQ of the year. Stayed for a couple of hours and went I went to leave I couldn't find my keys. Looked everywhere, the I saw it in the ignition.

last week on my way home on my commute I must have gone 12 miles or so and the car next to me was trying to flag me down. I couldn't hear him because of my helmet and earplugs but I pulled over and found my house and topbox keys still hanging out of the top box lock. Lucky thing they didn't just decide to drop off.

don't laugh but one day we were out of milk or eggs, I can't remember, so I went to the store and bought lots of stuff. I eventually got back home and guess what ? I have learned to make a list

Wet Coast Scootin