Asphalt is just asphalt I suppose. The same mixture of rock, sand and tar on a long straight Interstate is not any more superior than that used to pave a curvy mountain road. It's just as smooth riding and good gripping as any.
However as riders, we tend to prefer the twisted two-laners that lengthen our travel and challenge our skills, and try to avoid as much Interstate as we can.
Yet, those riding along the Interstate are fortunate to find the fast track to their destination, while those left to navigate the hairpin turns, steep grades, and sandy corners, take forever to get there.
Interstate 80 runs through Northern Nevada, connecting us from Fernley to Elko along a 250+ mile day of long, straight riding. We covered a lot of ground in short time, and made good progress on our adventure. Even though there were temperatures of 99 degrees F (37.2 C), gusts of side winds, and some light rain, those kinds of bumps in the road are always expected, but are nothing considering the progress and time the Interstate makes up.
Certainly, I'm not the only guy, who at a young age saw his parents divorce.
Many others like me saw them remarry and give birth to new sons. Many others like me grew up feeling every bit of the step-child we were, and feeling every bit angry for it. Yet, many have learned to tackle their demons quite handily, in fast time, and went on to lead successful lives. I've also heard a lot of people say that they envy me for being able to live and work while riding my motorcycle across the country. I guess I could say I'm pretty successful too.
But those demons don't go away. It's those faults and weaknesses that define us. Otherwise, we'd each be perfect. At best, we learn how to diffuse those nasty voices in our head, keep them from coming up, and just deal with it.
Lying just below the surface of my skin is an awful lot of emotion. It's that same little 7 year old boy who seemingly saw his world collapse, and somehow could never get over it. It's the feeling of having been replaced by other sons. It's a mother who complains why her son can't just be like the other boys. It's hearing your father praise his other son.
On the other hand, I've never been one to lay down and wither away.
I've been an intellectual for much of my life. I stay in my head and keep those emotions from taking me over. It's how I built my business, and it's what got me this far. But staying in my head means shutting off my feelings. And this is why I'm so quiet. It's like Mr. Spock trying to sit with a few buddies over beer and dirty jokes. It just doesn't connect.
And now here I am at 48 and watching these demons run amok. I've never learned how to deal with them aside from putting them into a jar and sealing the lid tight. The emotions become so overwhelming, I shout and yell. I pound my fists on the mattress, pull my hair, and throw stuff on the floor.
I'm not least bit proud of it.
It makes me feel ashamed to lose my temper. I feel I deserve punishment, and I don't feel worthy of being loved. And if someone were to offer me kindness anyway, I'd feel too ashamed to accept it.
"the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."
Yeah, I'm definitely mad. I've just been ashamed to be it. Only Sash knows of all the shit I've done whether it was crazy, illogical, sad, or angry. Somehow in my youth, I had decided I needed to be normal, and prevented that little boy from embarrassing me.
So what is it like to be normal?
Perhaps the question should be, "What is normal?"
Maybe I already am normal. Maybe to be plagued with demons, harboring old hurt, and making decisions that don't make sense, describes each person out there. Maybe it's not about becoming a better person, but about embracing our faults and weaknesses, and making no apologies about them.
Even though some of us took the Interstate towards a quick, straight shot to success, the truth is that there never really was a destination. The road was never meant to be a long, tough journey ahead, it was meant to let you spread your wings and fly as high as you want to fly.