Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am a Thistle Sifter

Finally saw The King’s Speech this last weekend. Let me preface this by saying that I thought it was very well done. I appreciated the period-ness of the film, i.e., costumes, dialect, historical reference.

One of the first scenes is Colin Firth, portraying historically important King George VI, giving his first public speech that was broadcast over the radio. He struggles, stops, and can’t seem to get through his written comments. The movie culminates with the King giving his first wartime speech and some may say that is the basis for the film’s title. But I feel that the ‘speech’ is referring to his manner of speaking rather than one particular occasion.

Speech issues are lifelong struggles. I had a stuttering problem as a child. I was fortunate to have worked through most of it. I still feel the urges of it come on, especially when I have to make presentations to groups (happens rather often with the job I have right now). I always get nervous thinking what would happen if I did freeze up and couldn’t get past a word. Hasn’t happened yet, but I remain anxious. If only I could spout off a string of profanities to get me past those feelings then I wouldn’t have to worry any more. Something tells me that if that happened I would have more to worry about then my stopping mid-speech.

I almost can’t believe that for nearly 3 years I have owned a piece of American muscle, a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It’s no secret; it was a big deal when I got it. I probably rode it 50% to 75% of the time when I drove to work. It was fun, got great gas mileage, and allowed me to use the carpool lane on the freeway. I’m that guy rolling down the street wearing the technical jacket, full-face helmet, boots, and gloves. I would classify my driving style as ‘active lane management’. I’m a very defensive driver but at the same time not afraid to make decisions to get me into the lane of least resistance. It may not make total sense but it works for me.

So last April, the car that I was trading off with died. It was a wonderful old VW Jetta that we’d had for a long time; sad moment. I decided to take the plunge and become a hard core biker, relying on my bike 100% to get me to work. I’m happy to report that a year later I am still in one piece. Close calls were actually extremely limited; I credit ‘active lane management’ haha. Weather in the desert is optimal for this. I think I was sprinkled on twice, even though it was windy several days. Would I do it again? Yes, I still am. One day I should get another car but for now it’s just too hard to rationalize knowing that I can do without it.

Riding a motorcycle has been a longtime desire of mine. And I don’t regret one bit getting one. Of course, I have to throw a big “thanks” out to my wife who agreed to the whole arrangement. And I’ve tried to respect her trust here; no burn-outs, no wheelies, no red light racing. It’s been good to me. Some people have told me that I need a name, but I’m not set on anything. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has a good one. Liberator was recommended by a neighbor; not sure about that one. Anyway, as they say “Ride to Live, Live to Ride.”