Yesterday I left work at close to 10:00 and ventured out into the world. It was unexpectedly sunny. Unexpected for me, at least. I’m sure some people were expecting it, but I hadn’t given the weather much attention this week.
On my drive home I longed for enough fresh air to blast the demons out of me, and knew a good long scooter ride was in order. Aphrodite, of course. Only she can deliver the depth of adrenaline rush that comes from hammering the throttle as you skip uphill, lifting off at the crest and catching a panoramic shot of sky-sea-mountains before barreling down a hill so steep you can’t see the bottom. It gets the blood pumping, elevates the “wheeee!” factor, delivers a manual reset. VVB calls it a “scootitude adjustment.” It’s especially effective with the sun out.
I suited up and headed out with no plans on a destination, just GO. Just FAST. So I skimmed along Beach Drive and up to California, sun on my face, shield of my new ladybug helmet flipped up so the fresh air could blast the demons out of me. I zoomed down Fauntleroy, past the parks and ferries, and around the bend up to Marine View Drive. It was mid-day and the residential areas were silent and still, except for a handful of lawnmowers filling the air with the intoxicating smell of fresh cut grass. No traffic, no vehicles – just me, the wind, Puget Sound and the swirl of cherry blossoms cascading like pink snow in the breeze.
I took one of the snaky turns, the kind with a caution sign, and I felt like the scooter was not as nimble as she usually is. The ride is normally fluid and weightless. Then I realized that the scooter was fine — it was me. Rigid as stone, shoulders at my ears, white-knuckled, grinding my teeth. I hadn’t realized it until the Vespa wasn’t cornering as spritely as I’m used to. And there I am, eyeballs fairly popping out of my head, a red plume of angst exhaling from my ears.
All of a sudden I became aware of the tension I was harboring, that I had been carrying around for two weeks. I took a deep breath and let all of it go, seeing my body loosen visibly. What am I doing to myself? I am not a stressed-out person. I have systematically and vigilantly combed through my entire life, eliminating any possible stressor. I know how damaging stress is, especially to me. I’m a very sensitive individual, as I’ve been told many times (often punctuated with exhasperation). Any sustained stress leaves me a strung-out insomniac, unable to eat solid food.
I kept riding – if I could just get the speedometer up high enough, I’d leave all the anxiety behind. Suprisingly, it works. Which is why I wear lots of safety gear during scootitude adjustments.
After many miles, my homing device shepherded me back to Cupcake Royale, just in time for lunch. I enjoyed a Red Velvet, poured out a dozen pages of longhand apology to myself for allowing things to get so hectic, realigned all of my priorities, and returned home to nap in the luscious open window salty breeze.
I awoke as though rising up from a coma. Cat purring on my hip, sun slanting through the windowpanes, seagulls trumpeting their victory over the crows. I felt fresh and new, weightless.
It’s the scooter. You have to get one. I’m serious.
Last night, the Page made a killer curry and suggested we go to Bellingham for the weekend. I still haven’t been. He says, “So you can finally take that picture you need, that street – which one is it?” The shop fronts on Holly, I tell him. I love that he remembers random things like that, mentioned long ago in passing. Lyrics from a song he’s probably never heard. And that he’s willing to indulge a silly girl who moved to Seattle so she can make indie rock pilgrimages, re-enact movie script endings, and take photos of the shop fronts on Holly (they’re dirty words – asterisks in for the vowels).
Work this morning is decidedly post-war; the smoke is clearing and people are poking cautious heads out of foxholes, surveying the carnage. “Good to see you,” takes on a new gravity.
I think it will be okay. Yesterday I wasn’t so sure. All it really took to convince me was 250cc and a nap.
Viva la Vespa.