Some days, you gotta dance. Live it up when you get the chance… but some days, you gotta ride bikes together… motorbikes, that is.
And boy, are those days great… ;D
Some days, you gotta dance. Live it up when you get the chance… but some days, you gotta ride bikes together… motorbikes, that is.
And boy, are those days great… ;D
It took having to meet a friend out for dinner at a very popular place for me to get my scooter back into shape, at last. I do not risk stressful parking situations (which include valet parking), and so used to use the Vespa whenever parking might be difficult. It fits almost anywhere, and usually gets to park right up front, because it can’t really go in a parking spot and ‘waste the space’. Tonight, of course, was no different. They let me park right in front of the front door of the place.
Anyway, that got me going. I called the place down the street to see if they had an air option for tires. They did not, but the car wash across the street from them did for free, he told me. So, I headed on over. As I looked for the air location, the owner of the car wash found me and asked if I was looking for air. We got into conversation about riding frequency and how things have been weird the past several months, and so I never got the bike back into running shape after the freeze in February. He shared about the bike he recently ordered from Italy. He asked if I had ever washed the Vespa. I said how I hadn’t but that I had just been considering it, given the style of car wash place it was, and how it would be just right for washing a bike.
And so, he gave me my first wash for free, and helped me with the air in the tires himself. There felt like 15 different steps in the washing and priming and foaming and scrubbing and special water and wax and tire shine and all…., and it took a while. But it was a great feeling and a great result, cleaning that bike. It has wanted a good scrub and clean for some time now, especially since the cover was destroyed by the freeze with ice and snow.
I then immediately got much-needed gasoline, before going home.
And you know what?
I had been considering getting rid of the scooter, as I hadn’t been using it, and I had started to grow afraid of the dangers of it.
But riding on it this afternoon, after the air and wash…, it was spectacular, and it reminded me of why I loved having the thing in the first place.
Going out tonight with it, I was delighted to be riding again. I am grateful that I did this today, instead of letting it sit until I felt it just had to go.
Anywhere it goes, I hope it carries me safely on top of it – I love riding this scooter.
I am thinking that, so long as I aim to fulfill any specific desire with anything other than exactly what I want, I will end up with much more than I want filling the space around me – both energetically and physically – and I will be forever unsatisfied in that desire.
That’s part of why trying to fit the bill for a part just never works out for the best. It might feel good for a while, but it eventually catches up with me, and I feel somewhat miserable until I sort things out back to being fully true to myself and who I am and who I want to be.
Yeah… thoughts for bed tonight… 😉
On my way home tonight, tired, I pulled up to a stoplight and waved with a shake of my head to a young guy slightly shaking a small red gas can toward me in an almost greeting. As I come to a full stop, I hear him say aloud, “I’m not even asking for any money.”
I crack the passenger window – automatic in my just-picked-up new car!!! – a bit and ask him for what he is asking. He tells me he just needs a ride, his bike was towed, and he’s been trying to get help for hours.
I wasn’t sure about the scenario… I’ve always ridden with the tow truck when having a vehicle towed. Perhaps he parked illegally and had the bike towed.
“Where are you needing to go?” I ask him.
“Just 45 and the beltway,” he says, as though that isn’t a half-hour drive away by highway.
“North or south?”
Yup. Half an hour. And in the opposite direction of my home.
I nyackered, and don’t want to be driving for another hour. He is also looking rather sweaty and I just picked up this brand new car. I don’t exactly want a sweaty person in it ever, but especially not at this moment. Not that that would be my reason to deny helping him, but it is a factor. Really, I don’t want to spend half an hour in any car with this unknown kid/guy. His desperation makes his space a little rough and hard to read.
“I’d even give you money like an Über… that’s really all I need.” He has kept talking, but I’ve not been paying full attention to his words.
“What kind of bike do you have?”
“A Suzuki,” he says.
“Yeah, but what kind?”
He tells me some numbers… perhaps a 300 something?… I drive a 300cc Vespa…, so that isn’t a very hefty bike, if that’s what he said… No, he didn’t say 300, but I don’t know what he said…
I didn’t really listen to his words – just that they were the right kind of words, naming an actual type of motorcycle, and hey had no hesitation to them. They were simply a statement in response to a question. And that’s what I wanted.
The light had turned green.
“Shit,” I say, and I pause just a moment before saying, “I’ll meet you at the gas station.” I point as I say this to the gas station on the corner, through the intersection where I was stopped. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do, but I would figure it out without the pressure of a green light and cars waiting behind me.
Seconds later, as I pulled into the lot, I knew I would get him an Über. I didn’t really want to be alone with him – after all, I was then parking in a specifically lighted area next to the building of the gas station, because his vibe was just enough off that I wanted to stay in the light and visible with him around – and I had the added aspects of exhaustion and keeping the car clean.
When he made it over to me, I was leaning on the hood of my car, pulling up Über on my phone. I knew there was a reason I kept this app on my phone, and even logged it back in. Thank you, Universe, World, and God for that.
I pulled up where he wanted to go – and yes, it was 27 minutes away – and ordered a car for him. Why didn’t he just order one himself? He apparently left his phone in his bike. The bike whose carburetor had blown, requiring it to be towed. He had just grabbed his stuff out of the bike in a hurry and let it go, not realizing until afterward that his phone was still with it.
He looked disheveled enough and carried the right odd mixture of bags for this to be believable. Trust me, when I have unexpectedly had to stop somewhere while on my bike (Vespa), I have definitely walked inside with the oddest-looking set of “baggage”.
I didn’t see a helmet with him, but I didn’t want to find out that he rode without one, and a small part of me didn’t want to tear apart his story enough to disprove it. His desperation to get home was real, and that, apparently, was enough for me. Whether his story was true or not, I appreciated his effort in making it all up and having details enough to go with it. Though, in full frankness, he did not strike me as someone to come up with much backstory detail when trying to pull a fast one on somebody. I mean no offense by that statement. Most people wouldn’t come up with much backstory in a scenario ahead of time. So, I was hoping he was in the most people category, and so was just genuinely telling the truth (or, at least, his version of it). But, just in case, I didn’t want to find out that he wasn’t. So, I didn’t ask about the helmet, nor did I ask any further questions. I knew what I needed to know: He needed help, and he was grateful to have found it.
He said he had been there for hours, trying to get help from somebody. Obviously that was to no avail until I stopped for him. I didn’t mention to him that he was in the wrong neighborhood for looking as he did, and expecting someone to pick him up and drove him half an hour away… or anywhere at all. This was a Mercedes and Tesla and Range Rover neighborhood around us right now. They don’t give people rides off the side of the road. But they might give you a dollar or few just for standing there.
If I hadn’t picked up the new car, and had been in my old one, it would have made sense that I had stopped. I in my crappy-looking 2002 Hyundai, with duct tape and peeled paint all over the place, crank windows, and only three door handles that work… it would have been obvious that I didn’t belong in that neighborhood’s genre of people, had I been in that car. But I had just picked up the new one, the one I am leasing, and so I almost seemed to fit into the crowd of shiny expensive cars all around. Nonetheless, I was not one of them, and the fact that I stopped and invested my time (and money) into this kid showed as much (to me, anyway).
I was proud of the fact that I had grown up in that neighborhood, yet was the one who was willing to stop to help, to give my time to someone in need, in a sudden desperate situation. Even though I didn’t wasn’t to mess with it, I found myself doing it anyway, because it just felt necessary for this poor kid’s sake.
I think he was in college, at the University of Houston, because he was wearing a UofH mask and had something else I don’t specifically recall that made him seem like a student there. He also had the physical look and mental space of a college student, or someone very near that age, anyway. He spoke on the younger side of life, not as a college graduate. I think he thought I was the same age, and not over half as much more. But that was okay.
He shared of his concern that Coronavirus was keeping people away, scared to help him. Had my life changed much because of the virus? I told him an extremely brief version of my running incident the other week, and how the people were too afraid to help me as I lay in the road. But, otherwise, my life wasn’t all that different than pre-Coronavirus.
He told me about his name on Facebook while we waited for the car, and I smiled at the genuine sweetness. He was clearly grateful, and he was relieved beyond explanation. There was no denying that.
As he was getting into the Über, he reminded me to ‘”send that request”. I smiled and said comfortably that I probably wouldn’t. He smiled back and said, “Okay,” not so much disappointed as understanding of my honesty and my lack of desire to send him a friend request on Facebook.
Man sieht sich immer zweimal im Leben.
If it is meant to be, our paths will cross again at some point, at least once more.
Twenty-nine minutes later, after I’d gotten home and was already getting ready for bed, about to shower, I received the notification that my Über ride was completed. He had been dropped off right by a gas station that is at the entrance to a neighborhood, and not just at the mall, as he had told me to input for the ride. It was only a few streets from the mall, but on the other side of the highway. I think he probably lives in the neighborhood there, and the driver offered to take him more to where he was going than just the mall as a whole, and on the opposite side of the highway. I was glad to see that. And relieved.
What an adventure, eh? And all I did was go home, and be nice along the way. It cost me only a few minutes of my time and $29.93. Whatever the guy’s real story, I was glad to have been able to help him get where he needed to be. Yes, that is a lot more money to me than to most people. But it felt right and worth it to pay for this kid’s ride home. For whatever reason, he was desperate and needed it. And I had it, and wasn’t desperate.
“Just pay it forward, okay?” He seemed slightly confused, probably thinking I meant actual money for the Über driver. “Do something to help someone else now.” And he understood, both that I wasn’t expecting him to pay me or the driver anything, and that I wanted him to pay forward the kindness.
And that felt right.
So, I’ll see ya when I see ya, Alfred. I hope you get yourself more organized and at ease by then than you were tonight, and I wish you all the best going forward.
I think it was the summer before my junior year in high school that I didn’t really put much effort into playing the trumpet… I had played since sixth grade, and had never had to work too hard to have a good sound and play decently.
At this point, I think I had taken it a bit too much for granted, and so practicing had dropped quite low on my list of activities the summer before junior year.
I had also just spend a chunk of the summer studying in Spain, so my focus was more on Spanish – a subject I did not study in school – than on preparing for August chair placements for band.
My brother picked me up from the audition/chair test – he was an alum of the school, and so had spent a bit of time looking around while we were doing the test – and drove me on his motorcycle to a dance class. I wasn’t taking the dance class, but I was working the welcome desk for it, in exchange for a free group class of my choosing later on… I also had the added benefit of watching this class happen, and learning from the seated sidelines.
Basically, I was focused on doing my best to live frugally with dance, because I was all too aware of my family’s financial situation – well, my mom’s side, anyway… my dad’s was a different story, but I functioned with the mind of one with extremely limited funds, so that’s why I was spending hours of my time working the welcome table at dance classes, in exchange for a ten-dollar class…
Anyway, so I rushed from the chair test to the dance class, loving the first ride on my brother’s motorcycle – while simultaneously being terrified(!) – and had asked a classmate to send me a text message with the results, when they came out in another ten or so minutes.
I was placed absurdly low in terms of capability…, and it hurt my spirit a lot.
But, I imagine, it was entirely valid based on the amount of practice I had put into it all.
I had begun this with a certain incident in mind, but I am not wondering if that incident was even that year… I am beginning to think it was the following year, my senior year, that this incident happened…, but I’m really not sure.
I shall continue with the incident, nonetheless…
So, I was placed after this one kid, who had become a semi-distant friend of mine. We sat side-by-side five mornings a week for 45 minutes, and chatted here and there, so we were comfortable with one another’s company, but we didn’t spend time together outside of band, right?
Anyway, I had liked being in the Jazz Band, and you had to be placed so high in the count of trumpets in order to be included in the Jazz Band each year. I had placed one below what was included in Jazz Band membership. So, I initiated a challenge. The two band directors each picked a selection of our current music, and told us to prepare to play those and any two scales that they would say at the challenge.
The day of the challenge arrived. I played beautifully for the selections, and my sound quality was stellar. The guy had incredibly powerful sound, though with a very odd and un-musical edge to it all, as usual. The scales they selected, naturally, involved playing really high… something which I was not great at doing, but that usually didn’t matter at our area in the chair placements (higher notes for higher chairs), and I could play the ones that popped up in our music… what’s more, this kid and I played off the same sheet and stand, meaning the only difference, if I were to win the challenge, would be that we would switch chair spots, and that I would be in Jazz Band when it started up, but he would not be in it. In terms of performance in the band, nothing would change. Nonetheless, they picked scales that were hard for me, and I made the decision to play beautifully for a single octave, instead of iffily on the second octave… one I had been taught by the band director himself.
We had assigned ourselves the letters of A and B. When the challenge finished, the directors came out from behind the wall, an area from which they had not been able to see us during the challenge. They told us that player A had won, and who was that? The guy wasn’t quite sure which letter he had been, and so looked to me questioningly for help. I, processing much more than the result of the challenge, informed him kindly that he had been player A, and so nothing was changing with our chair rankings.
What was I processing?
Well, the way the band director had delivered the news… He had put on an air of unknowing, as though he hadn’t known who player A and player B had each been. I had only been on the planet a teen number of years, and had minimal musical training, – he had had probably more musical training than I had had in years of life itself – yet I could tell the difference in almost every player in our band, especially the trumpet players. And he played trumpet, too, so I knew that he knew each of our individual sounds. Especially between this guy and myself, the identification was easy… even for someone who had never heard us beforehand, one could accurately guess whose sound was which.
So, I knew the band director knew who had won… yet he pretended not to know, to be utterly unaware of who had been which player… It felt like he was proving a point to me, that I needed to practice more… no matter how good of a sound I had, if I didn’t improve further, I couldn’t even beat the nice guy with a weird sound. I had taken lessons from the band director during my freshman year, but had been able to manage on my own eventually, and so we did not continue the lessons after a while. For me, no matter what his intentions were, his pretended ignorance of who had one the challenge was like a slap in the face and a terrible scolding… I was embarrassed and somewhat heartbroken.
I had let someone else down, too…, not just myself. I knew that he had wanted me to be in a higher chair placement, and that he had wanted me to be in Jazz Band. But he was not going to let me do that without putting in a lot more effort.
Again, that is all my own interpretation at the time.
But it still holds about the same, looking back on it all today.
The irony of it all, however, is that, when Jazz Band started up that year, the band director casually upped the number of trumpets in Jazz Band… by one player. So, I ended up in Jazz Band, anyway.
The following year (Or the year after that, depending on which year this had all been during), I ranked even lower in the chair placements at the end-of-summer chair test. After several weeks of Jazz Band rehearsals, someone was sent one day to bring me into Jazz Band… so, I ended up in it then, too. I was clearly good enough for Jazz Band – I even practiced that music, including when I didn’t really need to practice it, because that music came so naturally and easily for me – and the band director agreed with that sentiment enough that he kept letting me be part of it, even though I didn’t ever do well with the whole ‘practice on your own over the summer’ thing. During the school year, I was always fine, and I always got A’s on my playing tests at grading periods. It was when there wasn’t a concert or performance coming up, and I wasn’t surrounded daily by musicians and music that I struggled to practice and perform well.
I’m not entirely sure what brought all of this up today… I am reading a book about poetry that was recommended to me as a novelist/writer, because it is supposedly applicable to all forms of writing (which, the author even says this in the book, and it seems so far to be entirely true…, but it makes me want to write poetry now, too!). Something in that got me thinking, and somehow sent me to that memory moment of embarrassment after the chair challenge with that guy. I wonder if he even remembers it… if any of them do. Clearly, it had some significance for me… whew…
Anyway… I’ll let that muse in the background, while I move on to other things in my day now. 😉
I don’t know what it is, but there is something about riding my bike on the highway through the cold, winter evening weather that makes me want to arrive home to my husband, have a little romp fest with him, and then snuggle up to a movie and hot cocoa by the fire together.
And, I mean, it isn’t exactly a sexual thing – riding my bike through the cold isn’t an erotic experience or anything.
It is kind of like how a cold winter day just kind of makes you want to snuggle close to a warm mug of hot chocolate or apple cider… only, when riding my bike on these days, I just want to have the little romp fest first, and then snuggle up under blankets with the warm mug.
Just as the hot chocolate just sounds like the perfect next step to the day, so does this little grouping of events sound for me.
Granted, this is Houston, Texas, so we won’t often have fires going anyway, and, besides that, I don’t exactly have a husband at the moment (or anything like one), so my scenario isn’t exactly plausible…, however, the cold weather and wind just somehow make it seem like the perfect way to continue on in the day.
Perhaps, somewhere down the road, that will be the way I end each chilly day of winter.
For now, though, I just smile at the slight irony of the situation and utter oddness about its existence in the first place, and then I feel the chill start to sink into my skin under my ski suit, and suddenly feel slightly sick, my stomach ebbing toward forcing out whatever might be at that moment within its uncomfortable, tightening confines…
Anyway, so that was my afternoon, eh?
How was yours? 😛
We are at 3°C right now.
It will be at approximately 1°C when I am traveling tomorrow morning… both times.
Add with the wind chill, and it will be well below freezing for me while riding.
As I said tonight to someone about my bike, it’s 300cc, so it can go reasonably fast… Which makes an unfortunate Catch 22 on days like tomorrow… the faster I go, the faster I get out of the miserable weather… but the faster I go, the more miserable the weather…
Basically, it will be miserable tomorrow morning… and my mom forgot to bring me the ski pants tonight, so it will be even more miserable than expected… ::sigh
I kind of wish I could stay home and snuggle with my big teddy bear for the rest of the week, but I’m actually really excited to be doing the teaching I’ll be doing this week and next, so I want to go to school… I just wish there were a warmer way to do it. 😛
How do you spend your afternoons and evenings after work?
Napping in your chair at your desk, because you hear rain and thunder (despite a stated 10% chance of rain)?
Followed by finally leaving after you awaken, accomplish some more work, and hear that the rain has stopped?
Followed by stopping for gas just in time for a torrential downpour, with extremely strong winds blowing in varied directions, shooting sheets of water every which way, on three-minute increments?
Which leads to just sitting on the ground, already soaked in your jeans, semi hiding behind your bike as wind/rain protection?
Followed, finally, by a release in the rain that allows you to resume being soaked by it, but that is safe enough for driving again, and so you head home super cautiously, get super soaked, and arrive he to blue skies and no rain, because the clouds have pushed through so quickly, but flooded street sides and driveways bottoms?
Despite a 10% chance of rain?
Yeah, that’s about how I spent my afternoon and evening today, too.
(I’ve decided to share about Class 101: the laughing out loud class, instead of 100, so that’ll come next week.)
I went to the workout this morning, and it was rather uneventful but that my friend and I finished second in the workout, and there were a lot of people there today… we just found a beautiful way to get through the push-ups, and it worked perfectly – when other people seemed to take forever on the push-ups, we slammed through them quite quickly.
After the workout, I practiced and improved my double-under jump roping, and was glad for it.
I then went home and made a spice cake from the grain-free/flour-free zucchini brownie recipe I’ve been using, but this time used cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger instead of cocoa powder… and it was delicious.
I discovered that I have no interest in going to Minute Maid Park, due to their security requirements that prevent me from having any form of protection, as well as a reusable water bottle (even empty)…, and so I did not go to the Astros game to which I had been just invited.
I did go to a house party – not the jammin’, drug kind, but the friends hanging out together kind – instead, and it was wonderful.
However, on the way to the party, on my way to stop at the new grocer to pick up plates that were requested for the party, I found myself at a stoplight next to car crammed with young guys (adults, but still younger than I am) who clearly had just played a soccer game together – the matching jerseys and sweaty hair kind of gave that one away.
As I turned and saw the front seat guys looking my way, the back window rolled down, and three faces looked out at me, smiling.
“I like you’re scooter.”
“Does it go fast?”
I shrug, knowing fully that their borderline joking comment is about to choke them, “I’ve gone eighty on it,” I say, quite casually.
Their eyes pop open wider than one could have imagined, and their mouths opened wide, ready to catch some flies…
“Mmhmm… It’s a big scooter, 300ccs,” I add quickly, smiling, before driving off, for the light has turned to green.
At the next stoplight, the car pulls next to me again, the back window still down, the boys smiling bigger than ever.
“Long time no see,” they laugh together.
I laugh and smile broadly.
“Do y’all know where the HEB is?” I ask, having just been wanting to be able to ask someone (which was why I had even looked over to their car in the first place).
“Yeah! It’s on this street,” one says, pointing forward and to the right side a bit, confirming my thoughts.
“Are you going grocery shopping?”
“Can you put your groceries on there?”
“Are you going to carry groceries on that?”
“Do you need help?”
The sudden rapid fire of their near-simultaneous questions knocks me back a tad, and makes me smile and chuckle even more than I already had been doing.
“Yes, I can carry groceries, yes, I’m going to the store now,” – “Really?” – “and no, I don’t need help.”
I then drive off again at the newly green light, and see them take off not far behind me.
As I slow and pull into the HEB parking lot, I both see and hear them passing me one final time, saying a few more positive comments that make me laugh (though I do not at present remember what exactly they were – I was focused on the turn and figuring out the parking lot and watching out for stupid people in cars in the lot, but I remember that they were pleasant comments of well-wishing).
I enter the garage fully chuckling fro the hearty spot on my belly, lips super wide on their glorious, teeth-filled grin position – I just had my first fanboys, I think to myself, and smile all over again.
Well, I did it!
I did a fabulous day filled with fabulous 90° turns, both from a standstill and moving, as well as a bunch of fabulous other maneuvers.
I went a bit wonky on the sharp u-turn part, where you can’t put down a foot on the test, but I did everything else wonderfully, and passed the exam, with commendations from the teacher.
Have you ever known someone who was really good at something, but who was only just starting out?…. and the person was so good that you wanted to see him/her pursue it further, because you could just see how amazing that person could be at it?… I’ve had that every so often with students, and I encourage them to stick with whatever it is, because I can see the natural inclination of awesomeness at the subject matter within them, and I want the world to benefit from that awesomeness, as well as the student….
Well, today, I got to be that person, that student. (!!!)
After the class, the coach was telling me how I was such a good and natural rider, and that a bike just seemed to suit me, I did so well with it, and, what’s more, that he felt I really would do well getting a motorcycle instead of getting a scooter (the scooter having been mentioned this morning at the start of the class)…
He was actually disappointed to discover that I already owned the scooter, because that meant I wouldn’t be getting a bike anytime soon.
And, truly, I was really a bit honored by his compliments.
He said that, while he tried to give the guys in the class a fair time, he put me first on just about every exercise – and I noticed how he would use one of their bikes to do the demonstration, and then line it up in a different spot, so that person wouldn’t go first in the group, and he would encourage me to go near the front…. then, after one round or so, when e would stop us briefly to talk, or have use move to a new location, he always had me as first in lone – because I was the best in the class.
I mean, I felt this way a bit myself, that I was doing best overall, but I had no idea it was something worth sharing with me nor that there was such a difference in performance levels, and that mine was quite so high….
It was a really cool feeling… especially when I got the paper to show that I can have the M endorsement on my license now and forever more… that part was really cool for me. 😀
Watch out, World – I’m coming in bright red, European travel gear again!
(And I am thrilled!)