Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: February 2015


Motorcycle Absurdities at impromptu photo session.

This photo series takes me back to the week leading up to Singles Awareness Day (a.k.a. February 14 for all you cynical, non-committed relationship type folk).

It was one of those weeks that needed a visit to IKEA. The trip served two purposes: (1) I finally landed my first full-time job in ten months and had to do some product research for my new office and (2) I got to hang out with a close friend to iron out some personal aggression with a motorcycle ride and lunch. I don't reserve trips to everyone's favorite Swedish furniture store just to times of emotional distress, but a meatball plate and coordinated home goods can do a lot for a slightly maimed psyche.

After nibbling on that famous cuisine that the confines of the blue and yellow building had made so popular, we began our winding trek through the store's sample rooms, wearing our motorcycle gear and holding on to our helmets. Then an idea struck me in the midst of my clouded mind. I needed to make fun of myself and do something stupid. So I handed my smartphone to my buddy and threw my helmet on.

It was time to go test out some couches.


Honda Reflex vs. CA Freeways - Life lessons from "high speed" scooter riding.

In my professional and personal life, I've thrown my leg over dozens of motorcycles. Some bikes have ranged from the simple, single-cylinder machines to the massive behemoth Triumph Rocket III and its 2300cc engine. Some of those rides bring out the speed demon in me, and I know how it feels to blast down the road at 140MPH...on my FJR nonetheless.

However, what I've learned from taking a "slow bike" fast than a "fast bike" slow is what I value the most in my interactions with two-wheeled machines. In the moments when a full understanding of the vehicle between your legs is far more important than how far the throttle is twisted in your right hand is when everyday living gains a new perspective.


When is time really ours?

Hello out there. I haven't disappeared, but I have been wandering.

It seems unusual to not make my first post of 2015 until the newness of February. It's been several years since I've missed an end-of-the-year post, let alone the start of a brand new year. However, I've learned that sometimes it is best to say nothing until the time is right than just something to fill up an empty space. I hope that in this train of thought that's been cobbled over the last couple weeks that I will make some sort of sense and that I am not doing what I was hoping to avoid.

So here I am combining multiple locations to finish these thoughts, whether I am sitting in a park in Mar Vista, Eleanor facing me in a random parking lot waiting for me to return, or in a familiar corner of Culver City where a pumpkin spice chai changed my way of thinking for the better several months ago. I attempt to say something meaningful between now and when I saddle up and deliver food to the masses. This whole motorcycle courier gig, my current major source of income, has been an unexpected circumstance I've found myself in but one I have been prepared for since the loss of my full-time job in April 2014. Every time I ride, I celebrate over 12 years of riding motorcycles through hell and high water, and based on where I have been on my solo trips, that is not far from the truth.

I will say, still being in a constant state of financial unpredictability can take some of the wind out of the sails of modern life's momentum. But then again, this last year has been one of survival and triumph. Instead of charging forward at all times, I've learned to step back a little to gain a different perspective of what I have earned in the place of the stereotypical daily routine that brings home a consistent paycheck: the gift of time.

In my own life over the passing of these last few months, it has been a mix of hellos, good-byes, be wells, and what the hells. Many of these stories I must keep in the silence of my own heart, but be assured that I have learned many a positive thing from them. Somewhere in the mix I was traversing that land somewhere on two wheels transporting whatever I could fit on Eleanor from point A to point B, trying to seek some sort of stability in my own monetary needs so I could then focus on my mental ones. It has been a delicate balance that I still see teetering from one side to another but I have been successful in making this all work. Some moments of time I am warned with another possible sudden life change but I am ready for it, if and when it decides to rear its head.

In the last month and a half, I've had to say goodbye to a loved one, a friend, and a mentor who exemplified the true appreciation of time, a person who never wanted to waste a single second of the gift that had been given to him. While his departure has caused a gashing rift in many parts of my world, I stand in front of what has fallen apart and honor his legacy by continuing to live my life in the best way that I can. I have learned that in this quest to live on, I can't please everyone and will probably pay a price for it. But I hold my head high and wish for the pain causing the falling-out to subside and be replaced with understanding, communication, and forgiveness.

But why such a conversation about time? Recently, I had a chapter in my not-so-distant past return to my line of sight. In its surprise and in its simple requests, it brought me to beg the question, "Can we claim a stake in time, even just for a few allow nothing else to matter than what is in front of us right now?" In my moments of contemplation, I've found that it is possible to achieve that ability to 'freeze' time. In some cases it requires one to be a bit selfish. For a person like me, that can be difficult to do; I have a service-oriented mindset where others needs are put ahead of my own. It's just who I am.

Perhaps I need to remind myself even more that it is okay to want the greatest things for myself and not always be in a downright giving mode at every moment of my day. As I've discovered, when I can achieve those moments, they are amazing in so many ways.

So my new resolve is to own my time again at every possible moment that I can. There are many things I can't control right now and I am okay with that. I am a survivor and always have been, and ultimately, I am in control of my own happiness in between those ups and downs. It's doable, but man, do I need to muster up all the strength I still have. As I've learned during the lowest moments, I have more of that than I think I do. Now to put these thoughts into practice.