Monday, May 18, 2009

Musings on connections.


The clock radio woke me up at 2 AM. It seems only minutes since I went to sleep. Thoughts of the early rising and facing the day ahead have made sleep fleeting. The radio announcer sounds as tired as I feel. Folks working the midnight watch are often at the beginning or the end of their careers. Not always, I guess. Some people like the third watch. Like Conchscooter who seems to enjoy haunting the dark streets on breaks. Either way, they're working the hours nobody else wants. Eager rookie cops run the streets in the dead of the night. Old and tired night watchmen work the same hours. Meager pensions need to be supplemented. I'm feeling pretty old and tired myself lately. All the work hours are taking their toll on me.

I've been summoned to the Mothership. These summons are coming more frequently in this economy. Corporate bean counters are in a panic. They've whipped themselves into a frenzy. Now they imagine a situation like in the photo above. I took a picture of a mural on a wall. It pretty much sums things up. Now we have meetings all the time to talk about how close Moby Dick has come. I guess they feel some comfort in group discussions. Unlike Captain Kirk, I have no transporter beam. My transport is rubber on asphalt. For hundreds of miles and many hours. I don't really want to go but I am compelled. I like my career and the freedom that comes with it. Freedom isn't really free, however. So I am once more making the trip.

Elvira's saddled up and we're on the road by 3 AM. You'd think there would be nobody else on the freeway this early. Once upon a time, but not true now. I'm fondly remembering the old days in Central Washington. Working the hours nobody else wanted. A side benefit was pulling the car to the side of the road. I'd turn off the lights on a clear night. There would be nothing but the stars, the man, and his God. These days I'm going to have to go much farther out to be closer to God.

Traffic's light enough to allow some pondering. A sane man would probably go up the night before. I've done that in the past. It means being away from Katie more. It seems I seldom see her as it is. If you believe the stereotype I'm not normal. Guys married for over three decades are supposed to like getting away from the wife. Being "normal" really hasn't been my thing. Why change now? I love being with Katie. Thus my day will be 19 hours long. 10 of them will be spent on the bike. That's not all bad. The ride home will require extra concentration. Driving rain and a stiff headwind are hard riding anytime. It will be especially difficult in my tired state. Elvira and I had a small misfortune on the return journey. Perhaps I will share it later. Now is the time to speak of other things. So says the walrus.

By 5:30 the day is just starting to dawn. Elvira and I are in Woodland, Washington. Her and I are both ready for some octane. Sophie would go all the way up on a tank of fuel. Elvira won't. She could go farther before we stop. Now is the time that works for me. I want to watch the sun come up over coffee. Actually, it's raining. I'll have to use my imagination. The frontage road has a Safeway fuel station and a Starbucks. The bike and I can both get what we need.

A dark haired girl named Annie greets me in Starbucks. Her hair is short around her face. Annie has dark eyes and a round pretty face. Annie is quite cheerful. Her dark eyes sparkle with barely contained mischief. Annie is the quintessential picture of a pixie. I warm up to her immediately. My being on the bike in the rain seems to capture her interest. She asks about my ride. Annie tells me she's headed to Seattle the next day. Some of her friends are going to a large zoo. Annie tells me she likes going to the zoo. However, she doesn't like the animals. It's an intriguing contrast.

Rolling once again, I think about Annie and her zoo trip. An editorialist in the newspaper made mention of a human zoo. Those who blog, tweet, and post on Facebook are the animals. Maybe it seems so on the surface. Maybe the writer has a personality defect. I take time to ponder that as I ride. Part of my brain is engaged in musing. Attention still needs to be on traffic in the rain.

I agree that ten minute tweet updates are a little extreme. I am an interesting person. Nobody needs to know what I'm doing each minute of the day. It would be arrogant on my part to think differently. My thoughts turn to bloggers. We are a diverse and interesting group. Tim in Utah stated once that we blog because we want to share. That's true. I share information in my blog. Does it really matter in the big picture? It does not. Then why share? Why do I feel compelled to keep blogging? Bear with me here. I am riding in the rain. It is still early. I am running on little sleep. Sometimes that is when we have our deepest insights.

I believe that humans have a need to connect with each other. There are exceptions. I am talking in generalities. Think about times past. Before our modern fast paced lifestyle. People sitting on front porches. Chatting with neighbors strolling by. Men gathered in barbershops. Church socials. Women gathering to quilt, sew, or preserve foods. Market day for farmers. People of like interests meeting each afternoon for coffee. These are but few of many examples. My musings tell me that our circumstances have changed. Our deep needs have not. I see now what the editorialist did not. Recent events have proven my insight to be accurate.

You may have noticed. I walked away from blogging for a bit. Too much time spent at work. Too little energy left after that. I've blogged for years. What is left to say? There's only so much riding wisdom to dispense. Only so many unique things to note. When I started blogging I was one of a very few. Now there are many. Who would notice the absence of a single voice? Such was my thinking. During my wet ride I was thinking of connections. That is the real secret of our world.

On our blogs we share of ourselves. It is not an effort to draw attention. I believe that we share for a different reason. I share so you will share. We are interested in each other. We reach out hoping that others will do the same. Learning about you makes my life richer. It is the essence of human contact. We learn from each other. We affirm each other. We benefit from each other. Often we are entertained by each other. Doing so in person is preferable. Today's world robs those opportunities from us. Thus we connect by means of the internet. Using cyberspace makes the connections no less valid. In some ways it can be richer. People all over the world can come together here. We come to know and treasure those we would never meet in person.

Blogs are about the connection, not the content. That's my two cents worth.

A new visitor to our blogs made a comment on mine. He had read many of the comments. One statement rang clear. He stated that it was evident we all cared deeply for each other. I didn't really appreciate to what extent. Until now.

I am deeply touched by those who expressed concern for me recently. It's nice to realize that one is missed. The comments have reinforced the value of the connections we have made. I was surprised by how many have made comment. My own son called to see if I was ok. As I am writing this I received an e-mail. Here's a snippet.

Dan,
I received this e-mail this morning from a student. Sounds like they are worried about you.


Hello,
Dan Bateman hasn’t posted anything on his blog since 23 April.
Is he OK?


This was forwarded to me from TEAM OREGON headquarters. The writer knows I am an instructor and used that means to check on me. I cannot tell you how touched I am.

So I end this with my gratitude. Thank you for caring. Thank you for sharing. Our blog based relationships are truly precious. Value them as I do. In the final tally that is what we are left with. Material things come and go. Personal connections are the true gems.

Today I am headed over the Cascades to Central Oregon. I need to rack up more paid miles to pay for my BMW. :) I'm looking forward to catching up on all your blogs. I've missed you more than you know.

Miles and smiles,

Dan

38 comments:

Baron's Life said...

Good post..and good to see ya back!

Macavite said...

I knew you were OK, I saw you last Monday. Thanks for the advice on swerving.

Stacy said...

I too wondered what you've been up to, but figured you were exercising The Blogger's Perogative; that is, taking a break when you feel like it and posting when you please. :)

Balisada said...

I too, noticed that you hadn't posted anything in a while, and was a bit concerned until last Sunday (or was it Saturday that I ran in to you in the parking lot?)

Good to know that you are okay, though. Life happens.

Balisada

Lady Ridesalot said...

I have a 30 day rule. I try not get too worried about a fellow blogger until 30 days have passed without a post. Time has a way of flying by and I figured you were still lurking around somewhere.

Life's responsibilities sometimes gets in the way sometimes of our "free" time.

Welcome back! Now I can take you off the AWOL roster! Woo Hoo!

BTW... I hope the incident you spoke of on the return trip was nothing too serious. You've got me curious now!

Later friend,
Lady R

Lady Ridesalot said...

Ooops. I guess I like the word "sometimes" too. Duh.

Lucky said...

Great post!

I'm glad you haven't disappeared!

I figured you were just too busy riding to post, but I was a bit worried all the same.

Bryce said...

It lives! Moby Dick may well be the problem. However blogs and any form of communication can be tiresome.
And more so if the world of our creation is too busy to mind. Your
blog in a reaffirmation that all is right in some places. And that you, Dan are alive and well.
However the economy is of concern to us all. Automotive, a main staple here is dead or dying, and all the peripheral suppliers are closing or hurting or have simply shut their doors and walked away. May your employer NOT do likewise.

Perhaps the recession/depression is what has been wanting for many moons. I equate the fall of our world with the fall of the roman Empire. Slow, methodical and yet eventual.
May all of us survive long enough such that we're still here in ten, twenty or more years, and are able to enjoy that of which we've become. Some may not, so be it.

Wanna buy a used 1981 Goldwing with 150,000 miles on the clock? Have one here, still in good order,
unlike the owner!

Cheers on Victoria day.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Glad you're well Irondad.

But, this post brings up an interesting point for me. What if you weren't? What if that incident you casually mentioned had been worse?

In the past I've thought about writing a post to be published by my daughter, just in case. But, then just in case could turn into I'm so sorry to hear about. Intuition has a way of getting me in trouble.

Life.....go figure.

Conchscooter said...

I have told my wife to drop a line closing the blog the day I get creamed (or as soon as the entries in the queue dry up).In essence this is the problem with blogs there is no responsibility to any one but oneself. And that paradoxically is the great pleasure of them too.

Bucky said...

Lots of us follow your blog, but don't often comment. Keep it up, please.

I sometimes think no one reads my blog. It takes a considerable amount of time for me to write, illustrate, and reference my postings -- usually taking several times longer than the ride I am posting about.

And God may have seemed closer on those dark nights, but He is still as close as always. It is the world that is trying to pull us further from Him. Nowadays, with the economic turmoil and other huge problems, our faith gives us the strength to persevere.

bobskoot said...

Irondad:
Glad to have you back. Glad your "mishap" was not serious. Glad you're posting again. Glad you've recharged your batteries.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

cpa3485 said...

Good to see your post today. Was a bit concerned myself, but after all, it is your blog and you certainly have every right to do with it as you please.
I have to admire you and others that have created and maintained very good blogs, because I am sure it can get a bit tedious at times, especially when other responsibilities have to take precedence.

Just know that I and a lot of others really enjoy your "musings" and hope to keep reading for a long time.

Richard Machida said...

I am another one that really enjoy reading your posts. I am a relatively new rider and find quite a few insights in many of your posts. Enough to get me to spend several evenings going back and reading a lot of the older posts. I was wondering what happened.

Anonymous said...

I am very glad to see a new post. It was worth the wait. Your summary line, “Blogs are about the connection, not the content’, is true. Connections between strangers are based on shared values and/or perspectives. In addition to the experience of riding motorcycles (which is what brings us together in the first place) you add a teacher’s perspective that is enhanced by professional experience. Any reader can learn from what you say and trust your lessons implicitly. These are powerful connection points.
I respect your warrior attitude even though I have never fit the mold myself. I assume other men sense the same connection and your female readers like the idea even if they don’t have a G.I. Jane self-image.
You express your passion with purity. The comments on your absence affirm how effective this connection point is.
Your candid comments with respect to your personal flaws and foibles inspire openness by your readers. I often find the comments as enlightening as the blog itself. For example: Lady Ridesalot said...
I have a 30 day rule. I try not get too worried about a fellow blogger until 30 days have passed without a post. Time has a way of flying by and I figured you were still lurking around somewhere.
I will definitely keep that bit of wisdom in mind from now on.
My reaction to a hiatus in your writing is different since I don’t have a motorcycle and can’t just go twist a throttle until you come back. So you and Steve Williams are my main sources of vicarious riding experience.
I’m glad my intentions where understood. Although I felt a little dumb after following the link to Team Oregon to then going and check the comments page to find…
Krysta in Milwaukee said...
OK, folks, I had an email from Dan about 5pm on Thurs. the 14th, so he was alive & able to type coherently as of then. Guess he's just VERY busy with real life.

Oh well. This probably won’t be the last time I go off half cocked.
Keep up the good work, please!
Ford

abraxas said...

Hey irondad ... as always, an awesome post :)
I do disagree with you though, on a small matter.
You say: "What is left to say? There's only so much riding wisdom to dispense. "
Perhaps, but i do believe you got a lot more to share than just riding wisdom. Plenty of life wisdom too ... and whether in a parking lot, or a blog, you're a good man to have around.
peace from far away

Allen Madding said...

Having followed your blog for an extended period of time, I would have to agree with you. Youare are touched. :)

-Peace

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

"You are touched."

Or should that be 'teched'...? ; )

Glad you're OK, & to see you back, Dan.

cpa3485 (JIM) said...

Off topic for a bit; just want to announce that I have started a blog of my own.

http://cpa3485.blogspot.com/

It is a start for something I have been thinking about for some time. Would appreciate it If you would visit me there and make comments and suggestions on what you might think. Many of you have inspired me and I would appreciate your advice. Thanks in advance!

Steve Williams said...

I've tended to dismiss the connections myself and look to the content. But I know that really isn't a fair assessment of the value of a lot of blogs. Without ever having met you or spoken to you I do feel a connection. It's probably your exceptional wit and prose!

And I think part of my own concern on your departure from regular posting without warning was a general acknowledgment of the risk riders assume. It makes one wonder. Or at least me. Call me grey cloud...

Glad you're back and finding some distance from the mothership.

And don't sell your blog short. It has been an invaluable resource for me and I'm sure for many others. Having your personality emerge from your writing is just gravy on top of it all.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Charlie6 said...

Good to see you back online Dan!

irondad said...

Baron's Life,
Thank you. It's good to be back!

Macavite,
You're welcome. How's the 599 and her rider now?

Stacy,
I wish it were that simple. Sometimes I feel like the blog's a hungry monster!

Balisada,
I was truly glad to see you. I can't tell you how comforting it is to know I'm not the only one crazy enough to work weekends. I was teaching a new class. It was a great weekend.

Lady R,
30 days? I could be a skeleton by then if nobody checked on me! It's okay to say "sometimes" as much as you want.

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Lucky,
Just too busy period. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to worry about me!

Bryce,
Yes, I am still alive and employed for now. I'm going to pass on the offer of the Goldwing. I might become too attached and you know what kind of trouble that leads to.

Arizona Harley Dude,
I actually have Katie prepped and ready to go, just in case. As you can see, I've thought about that eventuality myself. Oh, by the way, thanks for jinxing us!

Conchscooter,
I can see you and I have been on the same page. Interestingly, even though we may have no responsibility to anyone but ourselves, do we assume that responsibility when we hit the "publish" button? We make people care for whatever reason. Is it fair to rob them of closure?
Just wondering.

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Bucky,
Thanks for letting me know you are reading. I appreciate it. I do cruise on over to your place often. I've wondered how you get the google earth maps and the pinpoint markers on your blog.

Perhaps I should have said that I will have to go farther afield to be alone with God. I agree He's still close and visible wherever we are.

Bobskoot,
Thanks. I'm back. Don't know if my batteries are actually recharged, though.

cpa3485,
Thank you for the kind words. There are things to admire in all of us. Some of us are just better at calling attention to ourselves than others, methinks!

Richard,
I am deeply honored. For anyone to go back and read the archives, there is no higher compliment. I hope to keep it worth your while.

Ford,
Wow! I truly don't know for sure how to respond. I was deeply touched by your e-mail to TEAM OREGON. It was an awesome experience to get the forwarded message. That was what sparked me to finish the post and get going again. So it was great motivation and was appreciated.

Abraxas,
Thank you. Your words form a timely encouragement. I worry about not having anything meaningful to say anymore. I guess I should let the readers decide, shouldn't I?

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Allen,
Ouch!

Krysta,
Et tu Brutus?

Take care,

Dan

irondad said...

Steve,
I think the connection thing just happens without our really thinking about it. I, too, now count you as an old friend. You and I have been doing this a long time!

I have to say, nobody has ever listed my personality as a positive thing, before!

Charlie6,
Thanks! I'm looking forward to taking a cyber trip to Colorado and catching up on your world.

Take care,

Dan

bikerted said...

Hi Dan, this is a first time comment for me on you blog. I have been following for some time now and I'm sure I've picked up some useful tips.

In this post I agree with you on some aspects. Yes blogs do show ourselves, maybe as deep as our souls at times, with some bloggers feeling like they can "talk" to others through the internet better than face to face. This opens up the connection, however this is where we differ slightly,blogs have to have the content to open the connection barrier. If the content does not interest the searcher, they move on. Many people read blogs but seldom leave comments, I know because I can be as guilty as the next reader.
Blogs can be educational, with the blogger being the teacher and the reader the pupil.I have seen parts of the world that may not appear in tourist guides by reading blogs, many of which I may never have the oppertunity of seeing with my own eyes, others give me ideas as to where to go on my travels.

There can never be two situations the same, similar? Yes as life generally is pretty repetitive. From these situations we learn and pass on advice from what we have experienced.

Hope this makes sense to you Dan and I've not gone off at a tangent too much.

Ted.

Conchscooter said...

Enough mushy sentimentality. Get writing and photographing.

kz1000st said...

R Bike or K Bike? Inquiring minds want to know. Just glad to see your inspiring words back on the screen.

Macavite said...

The 599 rider is just peachy. The worst thing is the difficulty of tracking down a replacement part for the givi case. right now she's just riding the 'bee lopsided.

jon said...

Dan
Glad you're back.
Hope the BMW does not fall apart!
Jon

Mike Simmons said...

I'm the guy who commented about how much you care for one another. All of these comments including the emails that you posted are another testimony to that fact. I was hoping that your absence was due to the busyness of work. I think you and I might sell to some of the same people. I live in the Portland area and travel I-5 a lot. I have a scoot but I'm getting a BMW in the next couple of days. I'll continue to watch for that FJR. Maybe I'll see you one day either on the road or at Bob Lamphere's.
Mike

Biker Betty said...

Since I was away for even longer, I didn't realize you were too. I'm glad to see you are back. I always enjoy reading your blog. I totally understand being tired at the end of the day. After a full day of work, then college and the homework it involves, I'm very tired. My college classes have kept me away and now Blogger has marked me as spam when I just came back. They are threatening to delete me in 20 days, so I sure hope I pass their review. Anyway, sure glad you are back :)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

I wrote a very long and considered response to this post that went through several rewrites and spanned about four hours of work. I just tossed it in the can coming to the conclusion that my observations on your conclusions were really of very little interest to anyone but me.

The only thing that really needed expressing was the thought that I m glad you are okay, after your long absence. I figured you had a wreck and was suspended in traction.

You covered a lot of territory in this post. I will run into you someday and we can discuss the brilliant parts (those that I agree with) in person.

Fondest regards,
Jack
Twisted Roads

American Scooterist Blog said...

Apparently some breaks are somewhat out of our control. Or in one way or another we need to refuel.

I'm glad to see you're still here (no pun intended) because I'd been gone so long I wondered who would still be writing and sharing.

By the way, I'm holding a business card with the rider's view of Frogwing on it...

You think we all have a history with each other? (wink)

Harv

fasthair said...

Mr. IronDad: In case you didn't notice I've been gone for awhile too. Today is the first day I've had the time to even read all of my blog friends own blogs. As I said on my post today, life got in the way. I must say it was a real treat to read your blog tonight! See you on the road.

fasthair

Roy of Kendermore said...

Been reading your blog for some time now. I'm a new biker, actually scooter but nevertheless it brings me joys and some distraction from my demanding and full of pressure these days job. I was touched from this post, really touched.
Thank you for sharing, connecting, emotioning... From oversees I send you my deepest appreciation.

Roy.

irondad said...

Roy,
Thank you for expressing yourself. I'm glad you find meaning here. Your comment is yet another proof of what I was saying about connections.

Warm regards back to you!

Take care,

Dan