Who hasn’t asked himself, am I a monster or is this what it means to be human? –― Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star
Well. The time is drawing nigh. The next day, I take Ellie, and we whisk off to the west. We need to have everything fully loaded and ready to go. Just like Santa, I check my lists, to make sure I have packed what I needed.
I have always been very strategic in using minimal space for the greatest amount of goods. When I lived out west, I remember packing a motorcycle with so much stuff, my clothes, and odds and ends. I could have been a modern shoo-in for the Beverly Hillbillies opening credit scene with how I had this thing loaded up. I had it so off-balanced, that when I was riding the motorcycle in the recently muddied roads, I had to lean so far forward to have any steering capability. It was atrocious, BUT I had what I wanted…
Ellie and I have a medium-sized German SUV. I only get cars that match my dog’s ethnicity. Hey, if Paris Hilton can have designer dogs, I can certainly be as superficial, right? The vehicle was bought purely for the utility of it. It has a trailer hitch. I was going to be hauling my motorcycle, which would be strapped down on the trailer. So, the motorcycle needed to get ridden up the ramp and strapped the fuck down.
If there is one thing you can count on: it is that most motorcyclists know how fickle our lives are in the hands of others around us. We understand how petty things can interfere with our lives while operating our bikes at high, low, or medium speeds. Inclement weather can wreak havoc upon us too, as it limits our full functionality of cornering and braking. Most motorcyclists who haul their bikes behind their 4 wheeled vehicles are (or at least ought to be) meticulous about making sure their shit is locked down.
First, we do not want any damage done to our bikes, they are our babies. Second, we do NOT want to be responsible for fucking up someone else’s day for whatever reason. Third, we just give a shit about the big picture of which we occupy a small part. I have had bosses question my ability to load a commercial truck, and the same reasoning has been applied to the argument to validate that I gave a flying fuck. I would not want a motorcycle following any load I carry if I did not give a shit about them, as a possibility.
I connected the trailer to my SUV, you remember, the one that matches my dog’s breed. I lowered the ramp, fired up the engine of the bike, and rode onto the flat platform of the trailer. I tinkered with a few configuration options on how best to strap it down. I went with an unconventional method but made sure to double up, to make sure my theory had a solid contingency.
Once I was satisfied with the bike being wiggled, wiggling the WHOLE trailer, I knew I had done a respectable job. Next was planting two coolers on the bed of the trailer while using unconventional means to strap them down. Knowing that I would be parking in some public areas, I made sure the contents of these coolers were that which I did not give as much of a shit to worry about any thieves. Just water jugs, for Ellie and me, and 3 gallons of fresh cold brew coffee, harvested a few days prior.
Next was getting goods hidden under Ellie’s taco. Taco is the name I have given the seat protector. All vehicles I own, and gram-gram owns have one, specifically to haul her highness, Ellie, around, without fear of damaged backseats. Technically, it should be called a taco SHELL, but I was lazy in the naming scheme of things. It is what it is. I ain’t correcting it now…
I determined, as I was leaving in the middle of spring, that I may need extra blankets, as Ellie and I would be tenting in a few places. So, I determined, the cushiest seat for the most pampered bitch of a princess would be had. I place the folded blankets under the taco. I still had to add Ellie’s two softly cedar chipped filled 3-feet by 3-foot beds on top of the taco. I also grabbed two of my gel pillows and fit them underneath the taco on the other side of the car, under the hanging clothes. Now, Ellie had elevation, she could lay down and still look out the windows to better protect us from anyone walking along the road being ‘too close to the car.’
This was going to be the greatest road trip for my princess. Her backseat domain would be so comfortable, but the unintended consequence was that it was far too high for her to jump UP to and DOWN from. Between Ellie and me, we found a system where we were able to help each other out. She would place her front paws on the bottom of the taco, and I would lift her hindquarters, and voila, the grumpy little bitch would be in and start growling at me for helping her up.
Next came determining how to place all the goods I planned on overpacking. I leave nothing to chance. I brought far more underwear and t-shirts than necessary, but it IS six weeks. WHAT IF I am unable to do laundry? Oh yes, contingencies pop up all over the place. I had an airplane half-suitcase that had all my rolled underwear and t-shirts and socks. I had a ¾ sized suitcase that had 5 pairs of jeans, a couple of pairs of khakis, and a few pairs of shorts. It had one fluffy towel too.
I had two plastic rectangular milk crate plastic containers. I filled them with some miscellaneous items, such as a back massaging heating pad, a bottle of Lysol wipes, a surge protector, paper towels, toilet paper rolls, silverware in a Ziplock baggy, some belts, a trailer hitch lock, a pair of winter boots, some dry human food, and some of Ellies water/food bowls. I had enough room for one cooler, to carry some meat and cheese. I made sure to grab some motor oil I had, again, just in case…
The passenger side rear had a few hanging clothes, like a motorcycle leather jacket, some rain gear, some winter gear (being in the mountains, think you would have thought of that contingency?), and some sweatshirts I could not fit in the suitcases. I even packed a collapsible shovel. I learned from one of my best friends, who got stuck in a mountain in New Mexico, that kayak paddles and 5-gallon buckets are not really super helpful in digging yourself out once stuck.
I made sure I had sunglasses, a second pair of reading glasses; I had all the tech I would need. I brought my laptop and the lap platform. How else was I going to continue to fuel the blogosphere? Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, I had it all covered. I was not messing around. I followed my compiled list without fault. Six weeks is a long time to be away from home.
Again, this was not a vacation. It is nothing more than a Leave of Absence (LoA). I had to get my head screwed on straight. It was mortally fucked up. The last thing I needed was any reminders of how I fucked up, by forgetting whatever I was missing that was detrimental to my mental health out on the road. Yes, many of you minimalists may qualify my neurosis as overkill. You can keep that shit to yourself, this was Ellie and My adventure, not yours.
I had my calendar events all penciled in for the following day. I parked the SUV, with a connected trailer, in the backyard. I would need to wake up early to take care of some things. I had a full afternoon to re-validate the whirlwind pace I took to get fully loaded up. I needed a break. My mind had been going over a hundred miles per hour in a trailer park with the speed limit set at nine miles per hour.
My self-loathing would rear its ugly head. I would be reminded of the failed relationship that I HAD to have been responsible for destroying. My mind was fractured, fragmented, split, yet I still had the comfort of logic and order to get me to the place of being fully loaded and ready for the following day with Ellie.
I had to self-soothe. I had to tell myself, I needed this. I had to relive the conversation I had with my boss the day before, who reaffirmed what he has said before: “for as much as you kick ass at work, you deserve this.” I had to stop thinking I was abusing the system to just abuse a system. I had to hear what my therapist had been telling me. (Sic) “Step away from the problems to re-evaluate your place in this world.” (Sic) “Stop absorbing all of the blame for someone who was far more troubled than you.” “You did everything right this time.”
While distracted from the pain by using my logical side of planning, the thoughts would deluge into the peace of the execution. Do you know what it is like to plan an eventful trip, all while your mind is trying to kill you, by reminding you that you do not deserve to be alive? You do not deserve to be happy; you know how this last love interest told you how disposable you were? Yes, that supports the claim that you should not be here anymore. Questioning the intrinsic choice my mother had, “Why DIDNT you fucking abort me?”
As I stated in the previous blog post, I see the big picture. Even if I am stuck in the doldrums of depression, I still see the beauty of life. I had to remind myself that I was about to embark on a trip that many would drool over, thanks to the fucking shitbag who viewed the ‘Easy Button’ as her only practical alternative. The person who WOULD NOT take a stand for me made this possible.
Anyway, I will end this tumultuous, yet productive day’s account here. Again, I hope to show my raw nerve endings. I do it because I am to a point in my life where I just do not give a fuck. It is a sad place to be, but it is also a liberating place to be. I cannot give a shit what you all think of me expressing myself openly, with deep vats of vulnerability. If you are the type to ridicule me, you ARE NOT the demographic this rubbish is for.
If you are hurting, acknowledge that hurt. Acknowledge that pain. Call it by what it fucking is. Do not let anyone manipulate you into viewing it from any other perspective. Though, you MUST own your reactions to the pain. If you lash out and cause pain in retribution, you are fueling the cycle of hurt. Take ownership of your actions, be honest with yourself, and STOP THE FUCKING CYCLE.
As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the ’90s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as a marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or email, like posts or even comment on posts. Immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!