RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

Misery or Memory

Sep 22, 2013 View Comments by

Misery or MemoryI left Cori’s house in New Jersey last Monday morning under a clear sky. The temperature was in the 60s. I had about a 70-mile trip home. I-95 and 476 (a.k.a. The Blue Route) can be a nerve-wracking ride as anyone who’s ever ridden them at or near rush hour can attest to. I suited up but didn’t bother checking the forecast, which of course called for rain.

If you’ve ever ridden those roads outside Philly you know there aren’t many safe places to pull off and change and the morning traffic is a blur of bad drivers cutting across lanes, tailgating, and talking on cell phones. As the rain steadily increased to a downpour I was left with two options: take an exit and find a place to wait out the rain or ignore it and continue on. I chose option two. It’s a 90-minute ride I thought. I can bear anything for 90 minutes, no big deal. (It should be noted that cold rainwater in my lap can negate that kind of reasoning.)

My mind went to a long walk I took with my daughter Devon a few weeks earlier. She had stopped to show me her new car. We drove downtown to get her some wax and take it for a drive; but it refused to start and we ended up walking uphill two miles home. It was 80 degrees, a beautiful day, and we were both wearing flip-flops. It might’ve been a miserable walk but by the time we got home we were laughing, blisters and all, as I teased her with the thought of hitch hiking. For once we had time together without distractions, just walking and talking. A memory we hadn’t planned on, the best kind.

As I rode on getting soaked to the bone I thought about what we riders must look like riding in a cold rain to people who’ve never experienced it. But I was in my own cocoon of memory and experience actually enjoying myself, listening to Collective Soul and Hothouse Flowers and thinking about a long walk on a sunny day with my daughter.

Sometimes we get caught up in the need to be comfortable and we let a little discomfort distract us from seeing and experiencing the beauty of right now. In the grand scheme of things a cold ride in the rain or a long walk in flip-flops could amount to nothing. It’s always what you take from it and where you let your mind go when you are in the midst of it. You can experience misery or make memories. Perspective is everything.

Tags: , , , , , , Categories: Zen Motorcyclist

About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.