Monday, July 18, 2011
My Past, My Present
Here are three stories from my weekend...
To grasp their significance, it's helpful to know that I was a shy child. Someone who rarely attracted attention. My parents complained that I "always had my nose in a book." My childhood was uneventful. An avid comic-book reader, I suspected I had several superpowers but lacked the chance to deploy them.
Flash forward to today. On weekends now, I switch from my trusted steed (BMW) to my fleet stallion (the speedy Yamaha). On my racehorse, I push the limits of physics and prudence. I accelerate like a rocket and lean so low in turns I can chew the grass. I gobble daredevil adventure in big gulps.
On Saturday night, I rode to a friend's BBQ. The Yamaha announced my arrival with a throaty exhaust-note and quickly garnered the attention of a bevy of boys. They ran from the pool and ogled my bike. Their excitement was palpable. "Wow, man! Cool bike!" I laughed. Forty years ago, such adulation would have meant the world to me; now, it's entirely unimportant. I ride for what riding offers me -- visceral thrills; the impression others have of my passion are besides the point.
I pull up next to him. He turns to me and flashes a two-finger salute. I return the gesture. We ride together for a while. We synch into perfect harmony. Our bikes move as if they were connected. We both savor the warmth of the sun on our bare arms. For a memorable moment, our differences dissolve and our commonalities seam. Finally, with a wave goodbye, my new companion splinters off and heads down an exit. I proceed on to my destination, the fair at the beach.
Third anecdote: I'm walking through vendor-booths on the boardwalk. I spy a cute halter-top dress under a sign saying, "All Dresses $10." I stop, shop and haul away my prize. It's bright purple; you'll see it later this week.
In the past, I've been too intimidated to shop publicly for women's clothes, especially in a crowded scene like this. But I faced that fear, drained it of power, and now comfortably enjoy filling my closet. Like decreasing-radius turns and outlaw bikers, social opprobrium doesn't scare me any more.
What did you do this weekend?