Friday, September 07, 2007

Opening the Medicine Cabinet At 10:00 PM

Its not that often I get headaches. Less often that I take anything for them. If a headache can mysteriously appear then it can just as mysteriously vanish. They fade away and you suddenly realize you can think clearly again. Whether it takes a day or a couple days, the one thing to be careful of is one's demeanor during the episode. Some people suffer migraines which could literally wipe them out physically. You can see it on their skin, the expressions of their faces. My mother, rest her soul, rode out more of those than I can remember.

While headaches are physical and painful maladies, there are other conditions which can leave us in similarly lethargic states. The absence of an addiction for instance. The loss of an opportunity to do something you really looked forward to is another. The only medicine seems to be to get back in the game. You won't feel "right" until you do.

It was in this state of mind that I found myself thinking about what ails and cures a person. I hadn't had a headache in a while but something somewhere must've triggered the thought. The house is near completion, the yard is passable and family is taken care of. My wife suggested it was time to take care of me.

I walked into the bathroom and looked at the guy staring back at me. A tired face. Not overworked but drained. The face of the guy I know morphed into the one who seven years ago fought cancer. I remember that face all too well. In those days I kept on breathing and staggering and puking and not giving up for the the people around me. My own fault I never take my own life seriously. Or of some special value. What kept me going in those days was that people wanted me around. They believed they needed me.

Something from the past fired into the present like a shot. Like a blazing bullet and it stung the image in the mirror right between the eyes. What is the worth of life if one does not relish in the living of it?

I'd made a promise somewhere in the suffering dying days of treatment. That if I were to live for a few months or past this, or to a full life beyond, that I was going to live dammit. That I wasn't going to be just another ant willingly subserviant to a groupthink hegemony.

I took that woman's advice at ten pm that night and got myself seriously lost on a scooter in central Minnesota. I headed west to start and had to head west to get home again once I regained my bearings. I rode with abandon. Not wild as a young kid with a need for speed, but as one whose mind is purposefully unencumbered. I regained myself in stages. The stars seem closer on nights like these.

I met a guy on a fly green chopper with Eddie from the metal band Iron Maiden airbrushed ripping through the paint. We talked about life for while. Then we rode on. The clock read three thirty when I finally brought the garage door down.

For whatever reason a ride brings me back to center. I'm a better person when I take the necessary time to be who I am. More useful to the people around me. Keith, riding his Vegas built chopper said he was glad to have met me. The depth of what we spoke about and the smile on his face, the weight which appeared to be sloughed off his shoulders, means I did something more than just ride that night. I helped someone who happened to need someone like me. I guess that's all that's really important.

If you have the right medecine, share it.



Conchscooter said...

I have the same feelings myself.For example, I haven't been able to sleep lately and I normally can fall asleep anywhere at the drop of the proverbial hat. Reading your post the diagnosis must be- scooter deprivation!

Steve Williams said...

It is easy for me to get lost in the noise of living---all the chores, duties, errands, responsibilities. And if I'm not careful I become an automaton doing nothing more that physically moving through the day. On some days I recognize what is happening. On other days it takes something more. Like a headache.

I don't fight it anymore, just surrender it up to God and do something for myself. If I take care of myself then I'll be good for others.

Like your have described so well in this post riding is incredible medicine. It almost never fails to transform me.

Walking in the woods with the dog will do it.

Writing in my journal always points out the noise and chaos and reminds me what an idiot I have become. Or can be.

And sitting quietly and watching the sky, the water, birds, anything to focus on will often bring me back.

Thank you for writing what you did Harv. No one can ever be reminded too often that they need to care for themselves. Your good wife is looking out for you and her insight it reaching out now to others.

Warm regards,

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Kano said...

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Your illness taught a valuable lesson most won't learn until it's too late. Life threatening illness teaches us to truly appreciate life and all it has to offer. Each moment a gift, and riding can be among the best moments, time well spent.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Conch haha that was good. I hope that's all it is too ;)

Steve, you're my inspiration to continue with this experiment. I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for you. You reminded me time and time again where a certain part of my soul feels most at ease. Everything in its time, eh? Thanks my friend.

Thank you Kano. You said all.