(continued from yesterday’s blog)
I went outside a few minutes later and called my motorcycle mechanic, J. I was shocked almost speechless to find out that a mutual friend, a person who is a prominent member of our local riding community, suffered a stroke earlier in the day and was in the ICU on a ventilator. It didn’t, and doesn’t, look good for him right now.
This is a man who is a local icon, one of those people who is a larger-than-life persona. He was in the French foreign legion when he was younger. He has also ridden around the world on a BMW – twice. He speaks several languages, and has had many life experiences that most of us can only dream of. He is also a wonderful person, the kind of guy everyone who rides likes and admires. He works at the BMW dealership closest to where I live, that’s how I got to know him, and I bought my F800ST from him.
Last summer, he had an accident. He went down on his motorbike while riding in a dust storm. I saw him after that incident, but then I didn’t see him for a couple of months. When I did see him again, I was shocked at how unsteady he was; he looked unhealthy and had lost a lot of weight. Something was wrong. He told me himself that after the accident, “something happened to me.” He didn’t know why; his head didn’t hit the ground or anything drastic like that, but he felt different. In fact, he had even gone as far as to buy a car because he was uncomfortable riding. Tom?? I thought. But then I remembered how vulnerable and uncomfortable I felt after my track accident in 2004. I rode two-up with a friend for a long time after that happened to me. Eventually, I got over it, but it took quite a while.
I told myself I would go back and visit Tom more often, if nothing else to lift his spirits. Riding is probably even more important to him than it is to me because he has done it so much longer than I have, and to have that taken away from him really affected him, I could see. A couple of weeks ago when I went to visit him at the BMW dealership where he works, he looked very worn out, and he was very tired. He was working with a customer, so I only said ‘hello’ and left.
I wish I would have had longer to spend with him that day, just to talk to him for a few minutes. Depending on what happens to him now, I may regret that I didn’t wait for him to finish with all the people that were lined up for his attention that day. But that is how life is. We don’t always take the time to wait patiently for things or people that should be important.
As I was standing there in the art class after I finished my phone call with J., I found I could hardly concentrate. By the time we got to the second-to-last person’s presentation, I wanted to go home so badly; I was so tired, and I was done. When the fawning over the man’s work started, I almost couldn’t stand it. I went over to look at the particular pieces that were causing such an uproar, and I quite literally felt nothing. Nothing. They were nice work, but I could not feel anything at that point. The lights were making crazy shadows inside my head; I felt like I was inside an x-ray machine. Bone shadows were jumping out at me, wavering, dancing. That’s when I knew I was too tired to even be there anymore. Luckily, I was only a couple of miles from home, and when the class ended, I stumbled to the car and drove home carefully.
When I got there, I was still in a haze, and didn’t have much energy to talk, but I did tell my husband about Tom. Later, I didn’t sleep well at all, and I woke up Friday morning feeling not only tired, but mentally fatigued as well.
With the end of this seminar, I have decided that it’s time to pull back a little bit, focus on fewer things at once. I am tired, tired of the noise that constantly fills my life, and tired of the noise inside my head from thinking about all the things that I have going. My head hurts, and I am physically exhausted from my brain having to resist the constant noise that’s in my classroom and in my house. That “pushing back” gets very tiresome after a while. There just is no relief. My writing has suffered, and so has my concentration. Things are going to have to change.
Meanwhile, I will continue to ride, and to learn more about photography. But most of all, I have to let go of a lot of expectations and goals, and realize that the only person it really matters to please is myself. If I have to make a freaking art gallery in my house to look at things I’ve made and that I enjoy, then that’s how it’s going to be.
I have also accepted that I’m not going to become a best-selling author anytime soon anyway, so self-publishing books for my own satisfaction is going to have be sufficient. The time is long past for people to gain notoriety and respect by making beautiful books. I already figured that out when I did the “Gold Book” a few years ago. That book was a labor of love, too, and I am glad that I did it even if only one copy exists, and I have it.
At least I can say, “I made that,” and I have something amazing to show for my hard work. I like it, and that’s all that matters. Life’s too short not to do the things I am passionate about, like riding, writing, and shooting photos. I do what I do, and I love that I have a blog audience to share it with.
Thanks so much for reading. It means a lot to me.