I had a really bad week at work last week. On Wednesday I had a bit of a meltdown (to put it mildly).
I’m fed up with my boss in ways I never imagined possible. So fed up in fact, that I went to his new boss (uber boss) and told him I no longer want to report to my current boss (asshole boss); and could I report to him (uberboss)?
I had some politically correct reasons for why this was simply a splendid idea, and then the conversation degenerated into a bit of a bitching session about all the reasons (with pin-pointed examples, thankyouverymuch) of why asshole boss is a a complete waste of human space.. Alas, my brilliant plan did not come to pass, and in fact, uber boss suggested I speak asshole boss.
So I planned to speak with asshole boss later in the day when I’d regained some composure.
At about 5:00 Wednesday asshole boss asked me if I wanted to talk. He’d clearly had a chat with uber boss. So chat we did. Apparently uberboss told asshole boss all the things I’d said about him (none of which was flattering). Asshole boss attempted to defend himself and his position. I called him on his bullshit. It was corporate-speak, ass covering, and complete bullshit from the get go.
Then I left. I had to regroup because I was thisclose to quitting my job, and with Chuck’s impending unemployment looming ever closer, I did have a smidge of sanity left and knew that would not be the best plan.
I fumed all night.
I was still mad when I got to work Thursday morning. I ran into both uberboss and asshole boss together. I grunted in their general direction in response to their inappropriately cheerful good mornings. Good morning’s offered like everything was peachy keene.
I left work at about 2:00, and treated myself to an afternoon at the spa. After a scrub and shiatsu I felt human again and ready to face the dread office.
Friday was somewhat better. I still hated asshole boss and uber boss but I had regrouped and was able to face them and my job without wanting/needing to claw someone’s eyes out.
Then Saturday morning I wake up and discover that I’ve started my period. A week early.
Now while I still think my boss is a complete and utter asshole and that uberboss is completely untrustworthy, I have a whole new understanding for why I completely melted down.
You see, this week should be my meltdown week. And my period should arrive the day after my husband comes home, not while he’s out of town.
And while there’s no disputing that this is a much better schedule (note to uterus: it would have been nice if you’d done this 3 years ago because after this week he doesn’t travel for work anymore), it caught me off guard.
So it seems asshole boss bore the brunt of a raging case of PMS. But… like any port in a storm, I suppose, when it comes to PMS, lashing out at any available penis will do.
So, I spent this past weekend learning to ride a motorcycle.
About two months ago I decided it was time. And while I may have stepped over the edge of the cliffs of sanity deciding to do this, I did not nose-dive head first by asking my husband to teach me. There are just certain things a marriage should not have to withstand, and his teaching me to ride is one of them. The other might be me dumping his bike (assuming I could even get it upright off the kick stand which I absolutely cannot).
I knew I needed professional help.
Handy web-searcher my husband is, he sent me links to two different training programs. I signed up with this school in mid-June. The first class that worked with our schedules was not until mid-August. I gave them my $201.00 non-refundable deposit, and waited. And waited. I had nearly eight weeks to consider the insanity of what I’d just signed on for.
Doing something like this–something you can easily die doing–is very far out of my comfort zone. Twenty years ago I’d have been all about it. Now, as 45 looms ever closer on the horizon, and I have a small child and husband in my life, staring death in the face is not something I’m particularly comfortable with. OK, so maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but let’s face it, I do not like getting boo boos and the odds of that happening are greatly increased on a bike.
And while I love the feel of the open road and the wind in my face, I drive a Volvo. I think that says a lot about how I feel about personal safety. I’m all about driving 90 mph down the freeway with the windows and sunroof open to get my feel of the open road and wind in my face, but I’m surrounded by steel cage construction and about a million air-bags. On a bike, not so much.
But Chuck rides. Zoe loves to ride. I have begun actually enjoying riding with Chuck. If I rode, we could all go out on family outings. Comfort zone be damned.
The program started with 2.5 hours of classroom instruction Friday night. Program attendees were a mixed bag (including my former hairdresser). Some had riding experience. A lot of us did not. Ages ranged from 18 to mid-50′s but I will guarantee you I was the oldest non-experienced woman rider in the group. By the end of the night I was feeling pretty good about things and even getting excited about going out the next morning.
Fast forward through a mostly sleepless night, as I revisited the stupidity of my decision, to 11:05 Saturday morning. They’d just assigned us our bikes. I had a cute little Kawasaki 250 cruiser. We had just finished sitting on the bikes and learning where the controls were. The next instruction was to put the kick stand down and dismount.
Well, I was wearing my groovy new motorcycle boots and while they’re all about being groovy, you can’t exactly feel everything and well . . . apparently the kick stand wasn’t all the way down and as I dismounted my bike came tumbling down. Right.On.Top.Of.Me. Ouch.
So yeah, I’ve been badass biker chick for five minutes and I’m on the ground with several hundred pounds of metal on top of me. Oh, and I broke the tip off the end of the clutch. Go me.
I’m pleased to report that once the bike was removed from me things started going much better. And even though it was hotter than fuck out there on the blacktop in jeans, long sleeved shirt, heavy boots, full helmet and gloves mid-August in the San Fernando Valley, hey, I was getting a glimpse of this whole wind in my hair thing as I puttered along at about 10 mph.
We spent the morning learning motorcycle stuff–starting, stopping, changing gears, turning, and whatnot. It was a little overwhelming, but after the first couple of hours they didn’t have to tell me to speed up anymore. Go me. I was going 15-20 mph.
I got home, sweaty, filthy, and exhausted, but also invigorated by what I’d accomplished. I had just enough time to shower, change, and head back for a few more hours of classroom time. I’m pleased to report they spared us the blood and gore I expected (a la those drivers’ ed movies we all grew up watching with the people splattered all over the pavement).
I slept a little better Saturday night with the help of copious doses of Advil. That spill in the morning left me more bruised then I thought, and I was pretty achy. Plus, a good portion of the morning had been spent waiting on our bikes in line to perform the next assigned maneuver, so we spent a lot of time walking our bikes forward, inching up to the start line. (Note to self: new exercise program: motorcycle aerobics–spend four hours with 400 pounds of metal between your legs inching it forward, splendid for the quads and inner thigh).
I was raring to go Sunday morning and made the stupid suggestion that Chuck and Zoe come and see me and digitally immortalize this. On my first ride after their arrival (on a different bike than the day before) I proceeded to dump the bike again, at least this time on the other side, but this time while moving.
Needless to say, right after I was done with my turn through the maneuver I asked them to leave. But Chuck did manage to get this action shot of me.
Once they left, things went much better and no one had to tell me to speed up even once all day.
The afternoon culminated with our road test. I was very nervous about the test. You had to complete the test with fewer than 20 points total.
The first thing we had to do was make a U-turn followed by an “S” in a box about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. And you have to do the whole turn sequence at a certain speed without braking. After you complete the turn sequence you get up to speed for a timed run and do an evasive swervy maneuver.
I had practiced the turning sequence dozens of times but wasn’t very good at it. My stomach was in knots. I was the 7th person to have to do it. Everyone was doing well. I was waiting. The whole time I was giving myself a pep talk. I was visualizing doing it perfectly. Reminding myself when to turn my head. If I could just get through this, I could ace the swerve.
Finally my turn came. I motored into the box. I aced the first turn. I slammed the second turn. One more turn to go and I could power into the swerve. I managed to do the entire sequence, only going out of the box by about one foot on the last turn, but far enough back in the box to get up enough speed to do the swerve. Yes!
Next on the test was stopping. We had to get up to 20 mph in second gear, pass through a set of cones, and come to a complete stop using the hand and foot brakes while downshifting back to first gear. If you started braking before the cones, it was an automatic 15 point deduction.
Piece of cake.
Finally we had to do a series of turns, again without braking. I’d aced those all morning and felt great about it.
I am thrilled to report that I passed my road test with a total of eight points, and got 49 out of a possible 50 on the written exam.
Once I get my paperwork from class I can go to the DMV and take their written motorcycle test and will be the proud owner of an M1 certification on my driver’s license.
The next step is a bike for me. I’m gonna get a (very) used 450 cruiser so I can practice some more and get comfortable going more than 20 mph. Then I have my eye on a very cute Honda Shadow 650.
This whole process was very emotional for me. I faced a lot of fears and learned some things about myself and a new skill at the same time. I’m very proud of myself and have an enormous sense of accomplishment (and a few lovely bruises to show for it).
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’m living proof that that’s not necessarily true.