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.