Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Daily Lessons in Thankful Humility

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about next.

Dockside is going along fairly well; I think there may be mention of the "E" word this week (=extension), which isn't really happy news, but also isn't totally unexpected. The status of the family stuff hasn't really changed. I've got my class schedule for fall all figured out. I'm looking at houses online, waiting for my trip to the mainland later this month to actually put eyes on some places. The work-out is going well, though I can't get the stupid flat tire on my bike fixed; I'll probably take the rim and tire to the bike shop later this week to have them fix it for me.

Maybe something about upcoming transfer seasons; maybe another photo essay, this one on the collective crew's tattoos; maybe...oh, who knows. I just didn't know what to write about next.

But I've taken up a new hobby recently. I learned to ride a motorcycle. I bought a 1997 Honda Shadow 600. And oh. my. god. is it fun! I can't believe I didn't do it 10 years ago.

The guys on the boat have been so kind with listening to me maunder on about riding and bikes and gear and oh yeah, the cross country trip I've got planned for this summer's transfer to DC. They've given me tips, helped teach me about some of the maintenance and even went with me to check out the used motorcycle before buying it. Oh yeah and did a couple iterations of loading and unloading the bike from the fantail for the trip back to the Big Island from Oahu during the last few battles with the shaft vibration gremlin. "Now set the bike loading detail." And they didn't even laugh at me when I wrapped the thing in two rolls of saran wrap to protect it from the inevitable channel-crossing salt spray (well, maybe they did, but they didn't let me see them laugh).

So I've been enjoying the heck out of my new toy. Side note: Mom, now that you've picked your jaw up off the ground from when I told you about the motorcycle and trip plans this weekend, let me reassure you that I have taken all possible precautions to stay safe when riding. I took a riding safety course (the "traffic safety" course at Schofield in February...sorry, I wasn't ready to tell you yet); I wear a full face helmet, heavy leather jacket, gloves, over the ankle boots and long pants in accordance with CG safety standards; I do my best to not ride above my skill level; and I can't ride after dark or carry passengers yet because I'm still on my learner's permit. I know I can't control what other drivers do out there, and they are who I am most concerned about, but I have to cross the street while walking sometimes too.

Not gonna lie: I kinda feel like a bad-ass on the bike (XO: no comments from the peanut gallery about pink tassels!! None!). But I know there are mistakes to be made on the motorcycle that have the potential to damage my pride more than anything else. I've already dropped the bike once. A few weeks ago, I was trying to turn it around in my driveway which has a slight slope downhill, and got unbalanced, and whooop, there she went, down hard on the port side. Luckily I had watched a video about how to pick a bike up by yourself, and it worked, though it probably wasn't very graceful. Only the neighbor kid saw me, so a little pride bruised.Then last weekend, I went for a great ride down to Punalu'u, the black sand beach a few miles past Pahala. It's about a 60 mile ride. Just out for a Sunday afternoon ride.I got there and parked, and was standing on the port side of the motorcycle taking off my gear getting ready to enjoy some quiet time on the beach with my book. My keys slid off the seat to the other side of the bike. I leaned over to pick them up and let my forearm rest lightly on the HOLY SHIT REALLY F***ING HOT EXHAUST PIPE!!!

Note to self...don't do that again.

So for the last week, I've been babying a silver dollar-sized burn on my right arm. It's not pretty, but doesn't really hurt too badly, unless I hit it on something. Which seems to happen...a lot. Still, nothing seriously hurt other than my pride.

This afternoon was what got me thinking about all these lessons learned though. I was driving home from work, after a nearly hour-long Insanity workout. A little tired, wondering what on earth I was gonna have for dinner. Doing the same thing I'd done a bunch of times before.

I got home and was getting ready to take my backpack off the sissy bar when my mp3 player fell out of the pocket. Umm, that shouldn't have happened if the pocket was zipped. Which it wasn't. The only other thing missing was my wallet. Damn and blast. Hustled into the house, picked up the car keys (safer to be looking at the street around me in the car than on the bike) and retraced my route. I got less than two blocks from the house when I saw a woman on the sidewalk paused with something in her hands. Maybe? I flipped around in the nearest parking lot and drove back.

It was my wallet. She was looking through it trying to find a phone number. The cash was gone. She said she had seen a man take the cash and drop the wallet.

Now, I'm a flaming idiot for riding around on my motorcycle with my bag undone...kinda like driving off from the gas station with my wallet on the roof of the car (done that too). And I'm damn lucky to have found the wallet so easily, never mind *at all.*

Whoever picked up the cash, I hope it brings you some comfort. And thank you, thank you, thank you for leaving the rest of it. Good heavens, thank you that I don't have to figure out how to get a new: military ID card, driver's license, motorcycle learner's permit, TWIC card, or cancel the four credit cards that were still in the wallet. Thank you.

Lesson to me: be thankful. Thankful that the outcomes of all of these foibles were mostly harmless. And be humble. I might be a bad-ass motorcycle rider, CO of a great ship and crew, and prospective graduate student with full expenses covered, but I can still forget to zip up my bag. Or I can drop my bike in the driveway. Or I can singe my arm on a hot pipe.


Liomoana said...

One Saturday, I stuck my wallet in my pants pocket after going to the farmers' market. I headed home on my bike (not motorized). I got home and couldn't find it. I got back on my bike and headed back the way I'd come. No wallet. I checked with the security guy. No wallet. I was really panicking because of ID's and credit cards. About that time, I got a phone call from the library. Someone had turned in my wallet! Nothing missing! Nice ladies had found it and taken it to the library where they had my phone number on file. Lesson learned--the wallet goes in the bag in the basket!

I might even ask for a ride...but maybe not.

Azulao said...

I think the guy is a douchebag for taking your cash and dropping the wallet back on the ground. You go ahead and thank him for not doing worse, I'll be pissed at him for you. Weener. I hope he had the daddy of all hangovers from the juice he no doubt bought with it.

Where are the pictures of the LBOR???? (Lady Badass On Bike)

Azulao said...

Doggone it, that was supposed to say LBOB.

My word veri is bolocce. I am going to adopt that word for anything that seems...elegantly mistaken. You know, it's bolocce!

Debbie said...

Good for you! Learning something new is good for the soul. I learned to ride a dirt bike when I was 43. As for thankful humility, I guess we never stop learning. I hope you guys finish dockside without too much more headache. I bet you'll all be glad to get back out on the water!