Too bad a person can't ride all the time.
I need to do something -- life seems like it's spinning out of control. Or maybe I'm just plain stupid and getting worse as time marches on. I've always enjoyed repeating one of my dad's favorite retorts to many of life's crappy situations -- "It's hell to get old." but lately the evidence seems to be gathering to direct support that theorem. All roads lead to the reclining chair in the living room of late, the weight of my ass dragging me down and my brain with it.
That sounded odd.
Kim is on the phone laughing at something Jack Riepe, renowned author, BMW rider, humorist and sage, is telling her. Seems as if they're talking about Cher….
The title of a book Kim shared with me by Tara Brach, a clinical psychologist and Buddhist teacher, that might help. Help with some of the telltale signs of things going wrong in that strange way that you feel for each step forward you've taken three backwards. The book promises some help in sorting things out.
A few hours ago while doing some last minute trimming on a Forsythia I managed to cut the phone line coming into the house. Nice clean cut. No phone, no DSL, no Netflix, no nothing.
Shit. Damn it. I just want to sit in the reclining chair.
So off I go, tools in hand and a never say die attitude to fix things. That's what I do, it's programmed genetically, I fix things. I'm just not that good at it. So I make an ugly repair using lots of electrical tape and a few sharp instruments and was only shocked once when that 90 volt DC charge appeared as someone was calling the house.
Just the tip of the iceberg.
A couple weeks ago I changed the rear tire on the Vespa and almost immediately it began losing air pressure. Pump it up to 32 psi and two hours later it drops to 20psi. So multiple times a day I'm putting air in the tire.
Relentless. Over and over I'm pushing the boulder up the hill. Until today.
Right after I fixed the phone line I pulled the rear tire off the scooter. Just what I wanted to do, roll around on the driveway, pull the exhaust, the shock, the tire. Ugh.
I deduced the problem had to be a leaky tire valve. My lazy ass didn't install a new one when I put the new tire on. Or the seal around the wheel was faulty because I didn't clean it well and some dirt or grit was letting air escape. Never occurred to me to look for punctures though. After 15 minutes of soapy water exploring and finding nothing I look at the tread and there it is -- a big nail, now all nicely ground down from the 500 or so miles I've ridden in 10 mile increments. That nail must have gone in the tire during the first few miles of riding. So close to the tire change that I had to think it was my fault.
It's always my fault.
I'm not changing that tire myself. I'm paying someone to do it.
Life hasn't been limited to boneheaded maneuvers. Some of it is just part of a wave of regular responsibilities that at times flood my ability to deal with them.
Like the new toilet project I embarked on -- installed the new one but never managed to get the old one beyond the driveway.
When Kim and I determined it might look a little too avant garde for the neighbor hood we dismantled it and have it in the garden as a potential planter. Won't say how long that took.
Add all that up and the old body isn't responding too well. The Psoriatic Arthritis I battle is worse when stress levels rise. But I shouldn't worry. Last time I saw my rheumatologist I inquired how the disease would affect my life span. "Not at all," he says. "The disease won't shorten your life. But the drugs may kill you." Nice to get a straight answer from a medical professional.
And last week I was in the middle of a "cardiac event" for lack of a better term. One of those moments where you actually weigh "If I ignore this it will probably go away," with "I probably should be smart and go to the hospital before I drop dead.". Preliminary tests show no heart attack or obvious structural problems with the heart. But all the test results aren't in yet. My money is on stress. Too many multiple nights of three hours of sleep followed by meals of hot dogs, chocolate donuts and ice cream.
I'm not 25 anymore.
It's hell to get old.
So I'm ready to read this Radical Acceptance book. And trying to push the Vespa back into the daily flow of things. Regardless of what is going on a ride has a calming effect.