Friday, March 21, 2014

Next time we'll get it right

That day when everything clicked and you could actually see the rotation on the seams of the curve ball, and you parked it over the left field fence - that became your new "average".  That series of years where success led to success and the performance review was always ticked "exceeds expectations" - that became your new "average".

But those are all personal.  The goals - and achievements - come from within.  Not everything in this Vale of Tears is so neat and simple.

I remember New Year's Eve 1999.  2cents and his family had come down from Yankeeland to visit.  We were sitting on my front porch as midnight struck, marveling at the 70° weather.  At midnight.  As the neighbors lit off fireworks to welcome the new Millennium*.

I remember thinking, things are going too well.  It can't last.

And it didn't. But it became the new "average".  The benchmark for "normal".  That's hard when you are by temperament a "fixer".  I've had success in my career because I can get things back on the rails.  But you can only fix things that you have control over.

Kids, parents, the economy, none of these are controllable, and yet the new "average" is never far from your thoughts.  The Buddha says that all unhappiness comes from two sources: fear and desire.  Desire to live up to the new "average" is something that he would have clearly understood these two and a half millennia ago.

The other day the lovely and mystified Mrs. Borepatch said that she just didn't understand this whole motorcycle thing.  She also said the nicest thing she's said about me in a while: we met up for a drink after work, and I rode the bike.  She was there first and saw me walking up in boots, motorcycle jacket, carrying the helmet, and said I looked "hawt".  Very nice to hear, but that's not what this whole Motor Madness thing is about.

It's that you can't control what you can't control.  It's that when things are beyond you, and it's not you, then let go of the fear and desire.  It's that if you are the only one who can see that you are happy, then be happy.  The road whispers, Roll Me Away.

She doesn't understand this, but I expect that she'd be horrified if she did.  And we rode clean out of sight.

For now, I'll settle for "hawt".  Not sure if I can control that, but that's personal, under my control.  Maybe it's even the new "average".  I can hope, can't I?

But this seeing the spin of the curve ball, and knowing I can hit this isn't just something from the past.  Joel hit that ball.  Tony Cassie sure did.  Looking at them, in the dark of the night I suspect I could, too.

Mrs. Borepatch would be horrified by that.  That new "average".
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin'
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin'
Some day.  Maybe.
Next time
We'll get it right
Because it's the new "average".

* Yeah, I know.  They lit them off the following New Year's Eve to welcome the new Millennium, too.


Tacitus2 said...

Reminds me just a little of one of my sons, The Rebel without a Pause. He went through a motorcycle phase and looked Hollywood good in leathers. One day he rode up with a winsome lass on the back of the bike. We like her a lot.

She appears to have had something to do with the abrupt end of the motorcycle phase (did I mention how much we like her?).

As a parent, and one who professionally deals with tragedy I can't stand the darned things.

So be careful. Your fan club needs you around. I won't speculate on the Officers of said Wolfgang President or Vice Pres? Not the place of us rank and filers to be impertinent.


2cents said...

You forgot one thing we did at the stroke of midnight. We took out our phones and called each other to see if they would work. How soon we forget the fear that every computer running every piece of civilization's infrastructure was going to come crashing down due to Y2K. My personal theory has always been that the whole thing was a scare tactic created by you computer/network security guys to make money off of a made up Armageddon. Kinda like Global Warming only Al Gore did his scam better than you did.

Borepatch said...

Tacitus, it looks like your son is getting it right. I ride like I'm invisible -- paranoia is the new normal when I'm on the bike.

But what's strange is that I'm past the point in my life where I want to live forever. There's actually a certain peace in that realization.

2cents, that has no answer as you can't prove a negative. ;-)

And guys in my line of work have work even with Y2K silliness. The "Internet Of Things" looks to be fixin' to fund my retirement. Security is lousy in that.

burt said...

BP, I don't ride for anyone else. I ride for me. My motorcycle phase began when I was 15 and continues to this day. And, like most riders, I hit "stage 1" early on, and now spend the rest of my time in "stage 2". Let me explain.

My son's motorcycle phase began when he was 23. It was shortly after that, on a wet day, when I told him to use his car and not his bike 'cuz he wasn't yet used to riding in the rain, that he hit "Stage 2".

That day, he went down. Damaged his rotator cuff - but that was ALL he did to himself. Not even any road rash. He was wearing a good Cordura jacket with elbow, shoulder, and back armor, a helmet, gloves, and boots.

He got back on the bike after it was repaired and he was healthy again, and now rides very differently. Safer. Less "show-off" and more "live longer". I know this 'cuz we ride together, and you can't fool another rider for that many hours on the road. He rides very safely now, but he remembers what happened and that guides the way he rides.

There's two stages in the "motorcycle phase". "Stage 1" is when you get the bike and get on the road for the first time. You do things that maybe aren't so smart, but you think "no harm - no foul." "Phase 2" begins after you've done something stupid on the bike and have to pay for it with a broken bike, maybe a broken bone, and definitely a broken ego.

Usually, that "something stupid" relates to NOT taking advice from experienced riders and doing something you're not ready to do.

There are old riders.

There are bold riders.

But there are few old bold riders.

Ride safe out there, BP!

And, if she says you're "hawt", just smile and wink back.

Jon said...

I'm fortunate in having a wife who totally understands the motorcycle bug. She got it, too. I had to buy her her own bike.
I'm definitely a Stage 2 rider. To heck with invisible; I ride like they're actively trying to kill me.

Wraith said...

BP, if you have to explain, she won't understand.

In other news, we're looking at a bike for Mrs. Wraith tomorrow. I love my wife.

Borepatch said...

Jon, I confess a touch of envy.

Wraith, I hope she experiences the joy of rolling that power on.