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Friday, May 3, 2013

Mental States

Cartoon reading "The Journey was never intended to be a straight line."
For what ever reason these past few days I've been thinking about alternative futures.  What I mean is what might have happened if I married my high school sweetheart (divorced and paying for 3 college educations). What might have been if I didn't leave Charlotte, NC (probably would still be working as a engineering technician and married to an ex-stripper).  What might have happened if I would have stayed in Pittsburgh and not lost two great jobs in a row (PNC Bank and then the IRS).  What would have happened if I never met Susan (jail or a mental institution possibly?) .

The choices I made were the right ones for me at the time.  They brought me here to Florida where I own my own home (paid in full), am more or less debt free and finally believe that I got it right.  In addition to my work with 3M I own my own company and have additional income coming in from other sources.

I'm happy.

It's with those choices in mind that I find myself wondering about choices I need to make concerning more practical matters..  It's technically still spring but here in West Central Florida the temperatures are already climbing into the mid 80's (high 20's to low 30's C).  The humidity is starting to climb as well and that means it's the dance between safety and comfort begins again.  The rain is coming as well.

Yep, seen this.
All that Florida law requires for safety is eye protection.  That is not clearly defined to my knowledge.  Does that mean just a pair of sunglasses?  Anyhow what cop would pull you over for not having eye protection?  Well, I would but then I'm a dick too.

I've been going out in sneakers and without my jacket.  Wearing a helmet for me is - pardon the pun - a no brainer.  I know what can happen to the brain and do not want to go there.  I have nothing to offer but my mind in most cases.  Intellectually I know that ATGATT is the only way to go and as such I've been looking for a light mesh jacket that I can afford.  I've found two that I really like, but just haven't bought them yet.   It's stupid and silly of me and I know that ever day I'm out without my heavy "winter" jacket on is taking a risk.  The only reason I've not purchased either yet (and they are both under $100 US) is that I also know how fast things can fall apart.  I've been to the top of the mountain, it's a quick roll downhill.  That extra $100 in the bank is part of that safety net.

I can't help but wonder if I'm a little more careful when riding not in full gear?  If my accident in December taught me anything is that things change instantly and that without my gear, it would have been a lot worse.  So it's a battle between the safe and logical vs the cheap and miserly.

I've noticed something else when I am in full ATGATT mode.  I feel safer.  I know that I'm not.  It's as if their really is a suit of amour about me.  All I'm lacking is the lance.
Does that false sense of security make me take chances?  I have gotten in the habit of always reminding myself to check things, to watch my speed.  To be safe.

To pay attention to my mental state.


Martha said...

Love that last photo!

Still...even if you are more aware and feel more careful when not fully geared up, you can't control what the other guy does when he's texting.

A straight path life my be more secure, but maybe not as interesting. It's sort of out of our control anyway, but you sure had some interesting twists!

Unknown said...


Heaven forbid that something would happen but ask yourself this . . .

If you were lying in a hospital with serious road rash that would not have happened had you been ATGATT

"Would I rather have this road rash or the $100.00 ?"

if you chose having the $100. then you don't need to buy that mesh jacket

Riding the Wet Coast

Trobairitz said...

A great and thought provoking post.

Motorcycling and scooter riding is all about risk factors. Being married to a two-wheeled training Instructor I hear about assessing risk and minimizing risk. Back in the day I put on a leather jacket and helmet and went out riding pillion behind him. There was a time I didn't even have gloves. I knew the risk and luckily nothing happened.

I now wear ATGATT. In the last few years I haven't gone out just in jeans and my jacket. There is that thought in the back of my mind that tells me not too.

Would I ride with no armored jacket nowadays. Nope. Mesh or textile but not just a shirt. I personally am not willing to risk the road rash.

Someone once told me to dress for the crash not for the ride.

It is a very personal choice so only you can decide.

It sounds like your path in life was the right one. It lead you to a healthy happy life.

David Masse said...

Rob, I always enjoy your posts. I'm curious to see where you'll go with the gear. This is one area where Florida presents a challenge.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

Yes, indeed life can change rather quickly.I, too, have thought how my making different decisions at certain junctions of my life could have led to different outcomes. The older I get sometimes I wonder how it turned out so well and am very grateful.

For me protective gear is as much about gearing up mentally as it is about protection. Gearing up gives me the moment to shift into riding mode and prepare myself for mentally for the ride. Riding is a mindfulness practice for me.

Good post.