split lanes, not hearts

November 25, 2010

definition of split lanes : Lane splitting is riding a motorcycle between lanes in the same direction as traffic.

Been quiet.

The high of Saturday’s show was followed by a discombobulation into a mass of tangled of ugliness.

I tried to negotiate this with as much grace as I could. I failed. There was whiffs of war in the air.

A couple of days ago… I stare at the computer screen. My heart pounds. I re-read the lines etched on the screen one more time. I mutter “no way” then “no…” then “he’s crazy…” I felt a thin veil of despair wrap itself around me. Here was yet another message filled with mounting rage, insulting comments. And not just about me.

The sun was gone, the clouds had filled the sky, night was already setting up shop. I felt cold. I had just returned from my first ever Bikram yoga session, which is conducted in a very warm room, so you sweat profusely and stretch deeply. Sitting on the wooden chair my sweat dampened shirt felt like a death wish.

What the fuck?

Tears started to roll down my face. Here we go again. This is the third time this madness happens. Once is a fluke, twice can happen, three times confirms theory.

Remember my last dash in the desert?

Last week, Ozzy was working away on his computer, phone doing all the stuff he does while I was working away on a translation about natural gaz powered engines and fuel injection. Ozzy is a very wise man. Suddenly, out of the blue yonder he asked me : “Is everyone in your world in harmony with what you are trying to do?”

“Huh…” was my feeble answer.

How did he know? I think he did because the dark spirit was lurking and he sensed it. Some of us just know.

So for the last few days, it’s been heavy, sad, waking up with emotional soreness then plowing through the day trying to make sense of stuff, to rationalize, understand…

I did not want to judge, I did not want to fight… In the end there was nothing I could do. No matter what I’d say, do or try I would be bashed and accused without trial. I would be wrong and I’d have to crawl, beg and be sorry for having done nothing. Guilty of the ultimate sin : exist as who I am.

I am sad for the loss of community, the blessings, the fun, the dreams.

It was the story of a community who adopted me fresh off the road. I practically did not know anyone… I felt so blessed. I have so much love for you all.

Even you Mr T.

We all ride our own roads, trials and tribulations. We all have our lessons.

So this morning I woke up still estranged.

I looked outside : sun.

Remembered the day : Wednesday.

What’s on the to do? Translation, phone calls, a walk…


The guitar in San Diego!

A month ago I had visited Sam Radding in San Diego to see and try his “Go Guitar” (a guitar small enough and good sounding enough so that I could take on my travels with the bike.) I had loved the guitar, loved Sam and found that the little number was perfect for my riding-music playing dreams.

The temperature outside is around 50 degrees F so I gear up with an undershirt, long sleeves, heated vest minus the electricity (Little Blue is not set up for it) then my jacket and liner and wind breaker plus the leather pants, balaclava inside the helmet and I go. Yeah. Kind of cumbersome… Layering is a way to have all this available gear on the road so I can dress up or down depending on the temperature. Options for the motorcycle gypsy.

I head down the highway and my heart start to lighten. I’ve really missed the road and riding lately.

The sun shines most of the way. As I get near the ocean the air cools quite a bit. It’s borderline with how much colder my hands can get. a few less degrees and I am going to have to pull out the “mittens” I had seriously frozen my hands a few times last year to the point of causing some damage, so I have to be careful.

Today is the day before Thanksgiving and I realize that here in the USA it is a huge deal. Everyone celebrates, prepares, travels, is doing something. There is a lot of traffic. Twice we had cops on bikes or in a patrol car zig zagging the width of the Freeway to slow everyone down for some invisible cause ahead. There is something fascinating about following that. Feels like the start of a race. Feels like an unseen line of control. We are all like impatient race horses at the gate.

I get to Sam’s place, it’s good to see him. We go inside. He has a beautiful acoustic lap steel guitar he just made that he lets me try. I’ve never played with that metal bar. Its’ like slide guitar but on your lap. My first attempts were clumsy but I got a little better and started to feel inspired, imagining new sounds and soundscapes…

Then he went out to get “my” guitar.

I am excited and nervous. I feel like I am meeting someone for the first time. Will we connect?

He walks in with it, gives it to me. I find myself shy.

I pluck strings, it’s like I don’t know a single piece of music. I am surprised by the amount of bass tones, I did not remembered them to be so big for such a small guitar. Then the sounds. Precise, co-existing, focused, very present.

I re-position it a few times, I play as we chat. I’m liking it… a lot.

I feel really happy. In my deep heart I would like to just disappear in a corner and play it alone. Then Sam tells me about how even the “above us mere mortals” kind of guitar players do get shy when they try a new instrument. It is very intimate. Personal. I’ve only gotten guitars from stores or from friends, I never had one built so this is my first “ built for me” instrument. When you think of it : the trees, the metals, every part of this instrument was something else that was harvested, mined and manufactured so it’d end up in my hands. I should do a thank you ceremony. She was born for me.

She has a California heart, was made by the hands of a free spirit, a master creator… she is different, perfectly crafted, special. She is mine. I think Alberto my sculpture master would approve of her minimalism.

It was then time to go. Sam invited me to come back at some point, he would teach me some building skills, he also gold mines, fish, cook… I am welcome. I am so blessed. I tell him. He smiles.

I put my gear back on, then we went outside. I shivered going back in the cold air. We figured out how to carry it. Little Blue is not a pack horse, it’s a thoroughbred so I decide to put the guitar on my back. The case has one strap so it is crosswise across my back. We tie a bungee cord around my ribs and the guitar to hold it down and prevent it to catch in the wind. It is so light, I don’t even feel it. A twinge of worry… Can’t have anything happen…. we say goodbyes and I head back up to Los Angeles.

Sam the master

strapped on

I end up splitting lanes almost all the way from San Diego to San Dimas. Long week end. There are numerous fender benders and accidents. Me and Little Blue are well acquainted now and I marvel at it’s steadiness. I basically ride the strip of asphalt about 6 inches wide between the newly painted lines and rows of plastic reflectors. The paint is so thick it pulls the tires right and left, but on that strip it’s nice and smooth.

I am focused, in a sort of zen concentration where I am not really “looking” but more like sensing. The bike is so solid, the lightest grip is needed and it will go where you think to go.

At one point, the sun was going down over the Ocean… what a view, some clouds, the golden glow.. then on my right I see our shadows. The bike, the guitar on my back and myself. It was just the coolest thing.

When I get to San Dimas my heart smiled as I see the warm light in the windows. Ozzy and Melanie have been so amazing to me. They are both so beautiful, admirable, creative, strong and we also laugh a lot. They are a gift. I am so grateful.

I walk in with the guitar still on my back and a stupid grin on my face. I need help to undo that bungee cord. I am realizing how happy I am about this thing. Then I pull it out. I’m just beaming, I feel like a child. I am amazed. It feels good to be happy after all this heartbreak and tension.

Today was great. I got my new little one. I also got to ride. I am sitting in a warm, beautiful place with amazing people. There is still magic, in truth, magic is always there… Sam is a magic person. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there will be much to be thankful for.

I am so incredibly sorry for not having been able to navigate this crazy situation and the emails to a peaceful conclusion. I wish for forgiveness.

His last words were : “ Now go away.” As if that was ever possible…. All, everything is in our own hearts. None can be deleted or ignored. Challenges are lessons that cannot be learned through judgment, violence or denial. I could go to the end of the earth and I’d still be in his world that is how that works…

I wish for grace. I wish for love. I wish for understanding and patience. I wish for music, wind, beautiful souls and the courage to stay true.


2 Responses to “split lanes, not hearts”

  1. Alan Says:

    Ah, jeesh !

    Best wishes Danielle, maybe it’ll resolve itself, maybe it won’t. But your travails made me smile (major apologies).

    Been thru a few dramas of my own the last several years….I’d characterize those episodes as ‘dancing with dynamite’, so your astonished musings brought back fond recollections of mis-directed energies once upon when.

    Humanoids (all of us) can be fairly unpredictable and illogical. And every encounter is gambling, pure and simple. People you think you know well can turn on you with savage, sudden fury.

    If I could find a remote cave with internet, I’d probably go there for a spell. Or Mars. That’d work.

    Ah, maybe not.

    Cheers !


  2. Bo Says:

    OMG! what a beautiful instrument, I can’t wait to hear my fave Ugly Girl, Trust and Way Home played on it.

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