night riding

There is a stretch of road that I take frequently on my way home from an evening out on my bike. There are no streetlights. There is a nature preserve on one side and empty parking lots on the other. The city lights shine bright from beyond the parking lots, but there is a quality of desolation to the space in-between.

Even on hot summer desert nights,when I ride along this section of road, the temperature is cool. Usually, there is a sweet scent along that ride. Flowers perfuming the roadway. This inevitably recalls to mind the many night rides my first boyfriend and I went on. I was 15, he was 16 and had a beat up black Suzuki GS400.

I lived in the woods about thirteen miles outside of town. I stayed awake at night, my ears straining for the sound of his motorcycle. Because it was so quiet where I lived, his bike could be heard miles down the road. As soon as I made out the familiar engine sound, I carefully took the screen off the frame and opened my bedroom window. The window rolled open at an angle, so I did a limbo trick to get out. The roll-arm was on the inside, so the window stayed open the entire time I was gone, letting in any number of mosquitos and bugs.

He rode past my house and cut the engine, coasting another short distance down the road. Navigating by moonlight and memory, I ran up the hill, through the row of trees that served as a property line between our house and our closest neighbor and up to the gravely paved road where he waited for me.

He always made me wear a helmet. We might be in cut-offs and t-shirts, but his helmet became mine. I’d snuggle up behind him and wrap my arms around his waist as he started the bike and took us down cool, perfumed country roads.

be careful what you wish for….

(disclaimer: I think this little essay might be a little disjointed, but so be it. I’m posting.)

When I do a google search on that phrase, I get a lot of links to political ramblings. I would have thought more people would use that phrase with reference to daily life.

The whole thing goes: Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. It sounds nice to get what you wish for, doesn’t it? But it can also be very painful.

Remember the classic stories about the genie in the bottle who grants three wishes, all of which go wrong in ways the wisher did not image because everything has an equal and opposite reaction? A wish for rain, and a rain forest on the other side of the world becomes a desert. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

Appeasing your desires will not always end in tragedy, but it is possible. Of course, anything is possible even if you play it safe. Are these tales and proverbs just ways of keeping us in line and instilling a moral code?

I suppose I shouldn’t say “just” …. If we lay a Kantian categorical imperative to our actions, we quickly see that there is a pretty good reason for everyone not hopping up and doing whatever whim they desire. Who really enjoys taking out the trash? If no one did it, we would have one hell of a rat problem. If everyone who didn’t feel like going to work today played hooky, there would most likely be dire consequences across the board.

So we keep ourselves in check, for the most part. Occasionally we explore those fancies, dreams, or desires. Hopefully, indulging that hunger ends in a sense of accomplishment and relaxation and not damage or hurt.

There is a balance in the world too. Some people become dentists because they know that profession will provide a stable living but they squish their dream to become a cabaret singer. Other people follow their aspiration to become a sculptor, knowing that it is a difficult way to make a living. Satisfy the wallet, or satisfy the soul? This is a common question.

The moral dilemma is one of some cultural idea of “proper behavior”. Dreams tend to go against the grain, they are often not logical. So, how do you balance what you want to do with what you have to do? Or how do you accomplish creating a life where what you have to do is what you want to do?

What are your dreams and desires? What do you wish for? Do you kick a stable security to the curb to attain those passions? Is it dangerous or are you just afraid to take a chance? Do the foreseeable consequences outweigh what you achieve or gain? The desires that you have, once you pursue them, can you live happily with the outcome or consequences?