Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,
I made it to Monday, and I feel good.
I do feel obligated to let anyone who read Last week’s post on resilience that there are many ways in which I am a total wimp. If the temperature drops below 69 degrees F I wrap up in multiple layers, shiver, and mumble unintelligibly over a mug of hot chocolate until the heater brings things back to a reasonable 72. If I get a paper cut I am basically useless for the rest of the day. And if someone reminds me of a previous social commitment my response is likely to be, “Do I have to?” We all fall short of the glory. Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what that meant for any of us personally? Resilience is not about facing everything with perfect aplomb or struggling to rise from every little set back as if it were a Herculean effort.
Sometimes you cut your thumb knuckle on the razor in your gym bag and you order out for dinner because you can’t possibly be expected to cook with a bandaid on. Hypothetically.
The point is to roll with life, not get bulldozed by it.
So roll with it we shall, as we do every week with a little improv-tu fiction.
This week’s prompts are: motivational speaker, motorcycle
When I showed up to by first gig in a beat down sedan that had seen better days more than a decade ago, the rep for the conference just shook her head.
“Let’s just hope I’m the only one who sees you with this thing,” she said.
“Why does it matter what I drive?” I’d asked.
“It just gives the wrong impression. I mean, who would take advice from someone who can’t even buy a decent car. You should just Uber to events like this.”
It bothered me the whole time I was speaking. I mean, everyone said it was great, and since it was one of those events that has over a hundred thousand people on their Twitspace it did exactly what I needed it to and boosted my career.
But it wasn’t the platform or the sudden jump in requests for me to speak about authenticity and drive that I remember. It was the look on that reps face, somewhere between confusion and disgust.
But I loved that car. I wasn’t about to get rid of it. I did what I thought I had to for my image and hired rides to the speaking engagements that over the next year would build my bank account to a place where I could think about buying a new car.
But every time I started looking for one, I felt guilty. My beat down little vehicle had carried my sorry butt through more rough spots than I cared to relate. I’d slept in the back seat for three weeks when I got evicted. Those were dark days. And still there wasn’t a car in the world I would trust to get me from point A to B like my old friend. And yet, I couldn’t shake the shame that had crept iunder my skin since that day when I finally broke into the national limelight.
I needed something new. Something that said, “Quasi-rockstar,’ but not in the stupid overly shined way a black Cadillac does. I didn’t want to be too polished, too pristine.
And thence day I saw it. Sitting by the side of the road with a sign that said, “MAKE ME AN OFFER,” with a phone number. I called. I made an offer which was obviously way too high by the sound of the other voice on the phone. But by the end of the week, you know paperwork, it was mine.
I took it to a mechanic buddy of mine who laughed in my face when I told him how much I paid. And then laughed again when he told me how much work it needed and how much that would cost. And then laughed some more when I confessed that I didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle.
But it didn’t matter. This was right. This was the only way forward.
After shelling out even more cash to get lessons (trying to teach myself didn’t work, despite Blinktube’s plethora of tutorials), I was finally cruising from one speaking gig to the next looking just a little crazy on the back of my two-wheeled death machine. I became known as the Biker Guru, which was a little off brand but I didn’t fight it. I even rode it up on stage once. The crowd loved it.
You know who did not love it? My sedan. I wasn’t driving it around hardly at all. I hadn’t thrown the kind of money at it that I had at the bike. And it was jealous.
I didn’t know how jealous until one night I came out of an after party to find that busted up blue and green mixed painted car triumphantly parked on top of my motorcycle. The damage was mostly superficial. I had to replace the handle bars.
But I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened again.
I tried talking to my car. I told it it was MY car forever and always. I told it that I hadn’t abandoned it, but that people don’t see cars with the inner-eye. I knew its worth. I wasn’t going to abandon it. But it was no use. I’d broken its heart, even though I’d tried to find a solution. The car left the garage open so that my bike got stolen, twice. It backed over it in the driveway whenI ran in because I forgot something. Two minutes, I’m inside looking for a copy of my new book to show off at the conference I was going to, and there comes this grinding crunch and there goes the bike again.
Well, I’d had it. I took the crow bar out of the back of the car where it had lived for years and I went a little nuts. I think the glass breaking is what irritated the neighbors.
“I’m just going to put needs medication adjusted under ‘reason for admittance.'”