I was about a half a mile from my house when I realized something was wrong. I leaned forward on my motorcycle so I could hear the engine a bit better. No, she wasn’t misfiring. I pulled in the clutch and applied breaks, she slowed perfectly. I accelerated a bit, swerved a bit to test the tires, everything was fine. I shook my head and saw my shadow on the road do the same thing.
I took a better look at my shadow as I slowed to a stop sign. My shadow looked funny. the top of it was blurry and fuzzy. My shadow shouldn’t look like that. As I came to a full stop I placed my feet on the ground and looked closer at the dark silhouette stretching out from my bike. I laughed when I realized what was wrong. I quickly turned around, headed back to the house and fixed the problem.
At home I went inside, walked up to my desk and picked up my helmet and strapped it to my head. Another small chuckle escaped my lips and I went outside and mounted my trusty steed once again.
Seconds later I was blasting through the neighborhood streets.
This isn’t the first time I’ve forgotten my helmet. As a matter of fact in the forty years of riding I’ve done, I can actually say I only remember getting on a motorcycle without a helmet twice. Both times have been in the last six months.
Growing up in Wisconsin, where helmet laws are pretty much non-existent, or at least they were back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, it was not an uncommon occurrence to see people ride without helmets. I never did. Simply because my parents and my friends parents would not let us kids ride without them. Makes sense. After all, the last thing any parent wants to witness is their kids injured.
So strapping on a helmet is second nature to me. It’s like putting on my socks or my boots. It’s something I always seem to do when I get ready to go somewhere. It’s just something I’m trained to do.
As I’m sure there are things you’ve been trained to do, whether it’s double check the lock on the door when you leave the house or jiggle the toilet handle to keep it from running all night. It’s just something that we as humans learn to do to make our lives safer, better and easier.
So, what would cause me to forget my helmet and hop on a motorcycle and run pell mell into the abyss?
Well, in my case that’s what it has been. I allowed my mind to be distracted by all the craptastic events in my life and in doing so, I put myself in harms way. Lucky for me I didn’t get into an accident or pulled over by a cop and given a ticket. No, each time I figured out what was wrong and fixed the problem.
I put myself in danger because I was too concerned with things that truly don’t matter.
This is where I find myself a lot lately.
Thinking about shit that doesn’t matter. Well, won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. For some reason I’ve developed a strange sense of placement in my world. I don’t feel as if I actually belong where I am. As if I’ve been displaced by a ghost of myself and the real me is actually just an observer to the events that affect my ghost. Which leaves me standing by the roadside trying to figure out what just happened.
Its not a good feeling. It feels as if you’re lost on a strange planet and home is an obscure concept you think you remember.
I’ve no true idea how to fix this problem. I have an idea. And for now, an idea is good enough.
I’m going to have to shut down all the incoming bullshit in my life for a while. I feel this will act as a pressure relief valve for me. Just stop caring about all the unnecessary crap that seems to be distracting me. And, if somehow some crap starts to creep back into my life, I’m just going to have to smile and wave and send my mind off to a place where I don’t have to listen to the garbage that is in front of me.
This is my solution to my forgetful and dangerous behavior. I just don’t have the amount of concern for shit in my life that does not matter. If that sounds cold or cruel, it really isn’t. It is a form of self-preservation.
Which is the only thing all of can really do. Preserve ourselves and sanity for the ones that matter to us in our lives.
Have a great week.