Sunday, July 25, 2010

Morning Ride

I wasn't feeling well on Friday night, so on Saturday morning when I woke up to Justin getting dressed and telling me "I've got the perfect way to start your day," I was skeptical because I thought that the perfect way to start my day would be another hour or so of sleep. I reluctantly got dressed though as he told me that we would have Hayden watch Story and he and I would go for a ride on the motorcycle. I like riding on the motorcycle but every time this is proposed I go into "practical mode" and start considering things like "I just washed my hair last night, now I'm going to get all kinds of bugs and crap in it, is it worth it?" and "Well, how far are we going to ride because I don't want to waste gas." And "What kind of a mess am I going to come home to if we leave the boys here alone?" I've become a bitter woman who can't have fun, and in defiance of that I put a bandana over my hair, threw some cereal at the boys and raced out of the house.

I had never ridden a motorcycle before I met Justin. The first time I was on one I was amazed at how safe they feel. I have this problem with not trusting myself with dangerous things. Table saws? I want to see how close I can get my finger to the blade. Guns? I want to see how tightly I can squeeze the trigger before firing. Allegedly "live" wires in the yard that the cable company has sliced through? I want to grab them to see how "live" they are (the one in our yard is not). I think it has to do with the potential of these objects. I want to be the thing that makes all potential kinetic, but with great effort I try to avoid this kind of activity. So instead of obsessing about trying to drag the toe of my shoe on the pavement as we rode, I turned my attention to the houses we passed. Backwoods Arkansas is a great place to look at houses too. I don't know what men do when they ride, but I suspect from Justin's reactions when I'd lean forward to yell questions that they're not critiquing houses. "WHY DO YOU THINK THEY DIDN'T WINDOWS IN THE FRONT OF THAT HOUSE?" "WHAT???"

I've read the first part of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and what Pirsig says is true, traveling by motorcycle is very different from traveling by car. On a motorcycle you're a part of your surroundings, changing them as you move forward instead of passively moving through them. You can smell fresh-cut grass or the moist air by a creek, you feel the cool patches from the shade of trees, you can feel the speed in the form of wind on your face and the tugging of gravity when you make a turn, and you could, if you're a brave one, drag the toes of your shoes on the pavement just under your feet. It's a great feeling and a nice way to start the morning.

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