My wife has stress dreams from time to time. While some people claim dreams can be interpreted, she thinks not, but believes stress dreams “are a release, a way your body copes with stress.” If that is the case then, in her line of work, it is good that she has these kinds of dreams from time to time. From a spectator’s point of view, however—lying next to her hoping it will end soon—it is not a pleasant experience.
What this has to do with scooters and burgers is that I recently took a motorcycle safety course. I originally took the course back in March of this year. I did fine in the classroom studies and on the first day on the simulation range. On the final day, however, I fell twice. I fractured a rib on the first fall but continued the training while in pain. When I fell the second time, it was during the final evaluation, which was an immediate failure.
After my rib healed, I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and obtained a learner’s permit, but was too upset to complete the motorcycle safety course. I had failed the course in front of my son, who passed it without a hitch, and shortly after that my wife successfully completed the course. I was the only one in the family that failed. That hurt more than my sore chest.
During the two months riding with a permit and doing well not to think about the safety course that I would one day have to complete, I often would reflect on my falls while on the range. Sometimes they would sneak into my mind while I was riding the scooter. This was rattling, but it also helped me think of prevention. The best thing I got out of the course was S.E.E.: Search, Evaluate, and Execute. This is something I thought about often during rides—especially when I was traveling through intersections, where most accidents happen. I would see me getting “t-boned” by a speeding car. For the first time in my life, I hoped I would hit every red light when I was on the road. If I had to stop I would have more time to S.E.E. rather than going right through an intersection on a green light.
The road itself stressed me out—both while I was on and off the scooter. My wife and I drove the car to a restaurant in Midtown the other day. After parking, we were walking across the street when I saw a giant, deep pothole almost the length of the scooter’s tiny front wheel. As my wife and I sat in a restaurant and looked over the menu I got to thinking, I rode my scooter on this street yesterday. Did I see that pothole on my ride? I do not think so. What would happen if I hit that thing going 35 MPH? DriverSense.com says that potholes can cause critical injury to scooter riders. “Potholes, bumps, cracks in the pavements, and construction sites can all pose a serious problem for a scooter owner.”
Another stressor having to do with the road is that the surface is often inconsistent. Besides manholes and speed bumps, old asphalt with new asphalt patches can be a problem. Along with this there are the rough “seams” that join the two. When I ride over these inconsistencies at a 90-degree or even a 45-degree angle, I do not notice them, but when I am doing 30-35 MPH and the small wheels slip in and out of the seam between old and new asphalt it rattles me.
My wife has rode on these kind of streets and thinks I am over reacting. Still, a tattooed Harley-Davidson biker validated my concerns over this issue (though he was referring to highway riding). He felt the road was pushing him sideways when riding on inconsistent asphalt and that is how I feel.
Admittedly, I have not experienced any stress dreams that I know of, having to do with asphalt inconsistencies, potholes, or getting “t-boned” but I think about them in the waking hours quite a bit. However, I did have a stress dream the night before I was to retake the last day of the motorcycle safety course.
In the dream, an instructor told me—just as one told me over the phone that afternoon—to wear a long-sleeve shirt, gloves, and boots that protected my ankles, and to come a half hour early to fill out some paperwork.
In the dream, I showed up and began filling out a stack of paperwork as thick as closing escrow papers along with a few other students. When I finished, I looked up to find the room was empty. I panicked and ran out to the simulation range, papers in hand. It was now midnight and raining hard. I saw the students on their motorcycles riding the range far off in the distance with their lights on—I am missing the class! When I looked down I was wearing flip-flops. I woke up at that moment. I cannot see how this helped me with my stress, though I will tell you I did pass the motorcycle safety course—finally. Who knows, maybe that stress dream helped.
Well, I guess this post has nothing to do with burgers. I did try to eat at Jerry’s Tumbleweed, a biker’s bar famous for their hamburgers, but the kitchen was closed. Next post will be about a burger joint. In addition, since the one in mind is the closest to my house I am sure I should not be too stressed out to provide a clear, calm assessment of the food without freaking out over the pothole out there just waiting to get aquainted with my front wheel.