Two weeks ago, I spotted a red motor cycle side car. It's driver was nearby, so I came to a screeching halt (kids in tow), rolled down the window of my own car and said, "Is that your husband's motor cycle?"
The woman laughed and said, "No, it's mine."
God, I loved her right then and there.
"Riding in one of those is my dream...I mean, it's number one on my bucket list," I said.
She laughed and ten minutes later I had her cell number, name (Melissa) and an overview of her schedule for the next few weeks, when she assured me she could fit me in for a ride.
I was thrilled. My kids were excited beyond measure. They know, as does all my family, of my deep desire to ride in a motor cycle side car.
And then....nothing. I didn't text her. Can you believe it? I can't. Well, if I really think about it, I can. It's a pattern of mine. I get very excited about something. I go all gung-ho about it. I research, plan and even put into action small pieces of the puzzle until I'm very close to getting what I want....and then I stop. I stop writing. I stop exercising. I stop working. I stop cleaning. I stop......and for what reason, I have no earthly clue. None. I don't feel afraid. I don't feel that I can't accomplish stuff. I just....stop.
And so it went with the side car. Here I had a woman ready to take me for a ride. She lives in my town. The side car, for heaven's sake, is red.
And I didn't text. My kids asked about it, and when they did I would say, "Oh, right. I need to text her."
But I didn't do it. My husband asked and friends asked, and every time I gave vague answers about getting around to that initial text. But I didn't do it. Then, I did it. She texted back. We talked about times, and then.....I stopped.
Seriously. I just didn't get back to her for a few days.
Then, I asked myself point-blank: what are you afraid of? Why are you putting off something you've dreamed of doing for years? YEARS........
And my answer wasn't surprising at all.
What if it isn't as good as I've built it up in my mind? What if I'm disappointed?
Because sometimes, it's the dream itself we love. It's the planning, the ideas, the talking it over, the struggling to get to the end goal.......sometimes, that's the love. And then, when we get there, the thing itself is disappointing or, worse.....over.
I've talked about the side car dream for so long, I wasn't sure I was ready to give up on the dream itself.
But then, I texted Melissa back. And she was free. And I had time.
Even today, when we were getting the details of our big ride together, I had a funny feeling in my chest. It was a combination of dread, excitement and anxiety. I wasn't sure what to expect. I just knew I didn't want to be disappointed. I knew that it would be easier to continue pursuing the idea of the side car ride rather than doing it and possibly not enjoying it.....
But I met Melissa downtown at 3:30 today....kids, husband and camera in tow.
The side car was cooler than I'd remembered. Her husband was nicer than I could have imagined. The helmet was retro and vintagey and the leather jacket had enough edge that I felt, ever-so-slightly, like a badass.
And from there, opposite the Southern Pines train station, we departed the curb, my kids on the sidewalk.....for parts unknown.
I'll post later about the ride itself, if it was actually that fabulous and what I learned about life and myself in the 20 minutes we hit the road. The experience was different than I imagined and better than I'd hoped.
Quote of Inspiration
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Atilla and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar