Mario Andretti Saves the Day

The past several weeks I have asked of myself repeatedly where I could possibly find motivation when the reason for said motivation has gone; unceremoniously packed its bag, and left in the middle of the night to disappear without so much as saying goodbye.

"Dear Miss Busa,
it's been fun. But I have to go. Our relationship is just not working for me anymore.
Regretfully,
Your Motivation
P.S. Please don't try and find me."

Motivation, you are just like all the others! You swine! I will never be motivated again. Ever! I haven’t been able to figure it out. My motivation didn’t even leave a forwarding address. Or did it?

Today, during some research for an essay I am writing, I stumble across a quote by Mario Andretti. Words I’ve been needing to hear for a long time. Words that make me feel a little less lonely. Words that give affirmation to the knowledge that dreams are not easy to achieve, because if they were, everybody would be a rock star, wealthy and living the life.

Unlike the rock stars, I really don’t want much out of my life. I have most everything already. I just want to be damn fricken fast and have a two-car garage. I’d take the former with a healthy dose of the relativity theory and the latter I would also live in, if I had to.

“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.”

I’m going to run today. After almost two weeks of skipping out on most of my scheduled marathon training, because I just really didn’t see the point anymore, I am putting myself and my white flag-waving attitude on notice. The worries of a crashed economy, the rising cost of living, and an uncertain future were suffocating my will to live well.

My life as I have known it for the past fifteen years is quickly falling apart around me; and the stress of continued unemployment and pending financial hardship were enough to throw my happy-go-lucky disposition into the crapper. My brain chemistry went into crash-override and switched itself into depression mode and left me with smudged and streaky eye liner.

This is only an interruption of your dream. If this had been the actual end of your dream, this interruption would have been followed by the rolling of the closing credits and a fade to a wakeful state.

…because all I want to do is ride.

Fast.

Hard.

And scare myself on occasion. Because if you aren’t scaring yourself you aren’t going fast enough. I think Mario said that, too.


Yamaha: 5 – Miss Busa: 0

This is not fun anymore. In retrospect this hasn’t been fun in quite a while.

I want to ride these things as fast as I dare, not try and put them together and figure out what the previous owner(s) had done (or fucked up) so I can get an engineering degree online and learn to fix it. In the process I found out the following: I can teach myself mechanics if I can start from a baseline. I put a crashed S1000RR back together without this much fuss. Given, it took me 13 weeks and approximately $1300 in parts and tools, but it was a journey that was much more gratifying and taught me a lot about how motorcycles actually work. A road well traveled and worth it.

However, wrenching on the R1 feels like putting together a puzzle. I hate puzzles! You would have to put me on some serious medication for me to enjoy putting together some crappy picture printed on cardboard pieces.

Who in the world could enjoy sitting down to a 5000-piece puzzle and put it together when you a.) don’t have the box anymore with the picture on it, but you vaguely remember what it looked like; and b.) there are some puzzle pieces, from another 5000-piece puzzle, that don’t belong, but got mixed into the pile, but you don’t know that (yet).

I’m selling the R1.

I HAVE HAD IT!

That is all.

I have reached the point where the benefit does not outweigh the work put in and the frustrations encountered along the way.

I admit defeat. Shamefully, I throw in the towel, pack it up, and go home. I want to go back to paying somebody to do this shit for me, and I can only do that by returning to my roots: being a high-mileage street rider and combat commuter, who (maybe) goes to the occasional track day to keep most of the shenanigans off the street in an attempt to avoid going to jail for free body-cavity searches and crappy food.

This is the first time I have ever let an inanimate object (or a massive collection of them) beat me. My IQ will recover… eventually. Time heals most wounds. In the meantime I just allow myself to feel stupid as hell.

I apologize to Mr. Slow who has leaped tall buildings in a single bound to make it possible for me to own a dedicated race bike and has been nothing but supportive along the way. He has given up so much to enable me to chase some arbitrary dream I started having for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend.

It’s time for me to wake up and rejoin reality. I really should steal his license plate, move the electrical tape dot over one character and slap it on my bike. Although, my man would look pretty silly cruising down the road with “Rocket Girl” hanging off his tail.

Today, I am the MRS.LOW to his MR.SLOW because I feel painfully ungrateful by giving up.

Mr. Slow is actually faster than me, or could be, if he ever decided to trade his hard bags for knee pucks. But he is Mr. Slow because that’s his riding philosophy rather than a reflection upon his skill set. And that is my confession.

~*~

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House

Angry Bird: The Final Assault

Not too long after writing about having to make necessary changes in my life to assuage the medical problems and excessive stress-levels caused by my situation at work, I receive my walking papers from my employer. No verbal demerit, no write-up, no final warning. Not even a decent explanation. I was simply let go for “being unprofessional”. I realize during my interview, that “The Man” isn’t there to hear my side of the argument [rebuttal of the accusations], the decision had already been made. Consequently, I delivered a speech on my view of things. A verbal statement completely devoid of the flowery scent of diplomacy or the carefully chosen verbalizations of a player maneuvering for a better position in the game of office politics. In short, I told him exactly how I see this matter brought before me. I was tired of the lies of those who’d rather see me gone. When the deck is stacked, no amount of skill, competence, or psychological “warfare” will save the hand you’ve been dealt [repeatedly]. This wasn’t a battle I was going to win. Not at this very moment. I made my last stand. I said what was on my mind. I clued him in as to reasons why this is really going on. And it wasn’t anything to do with me or my job performance or my general attitude. The result: “We don’t need you to come in tomorrow.” He mumbled the words. I had to ask for clarification: “You do or do not need me to come in tomorrow?” He replied: “We do not.” I stood up, locked eyes, and said: “Now, that wasn’t that hard, was it?” He just looked at me. He actually had the nerve to wish me good luck as I made my way out the door. Luck? I don’t need no steenkin’ luck! I need a boss who stands up for his employees when they are clearly being mistreated by their contractor/customer bosses.

But the abuse doesn’t stop there. That isn’t quite good enough for the powers that be. After filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits, I am informed that I was fired for “disruptive behavior” and to please explain myself in a rebuttal. I do. I keep it short and factual. As I was asked: “No. I do not agree. I am not aware of any incident happening on [date of termination]. I don’t really know what they are talking about.” Can’t make an effective rebuttal if you’re dealing with generalities. Of course,  one can’t deal in specifics when the case is fabricated and the evidence is weak at best and has to be made to fit the cause. So generalities it is, like religion or badly implemented statistics.

I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but what I am experiencing are the five stages of the grieving process:

  1. Denial? Check. I thought reason could prevail here. Reason. And facts. I was in denial much of the last 18 months of my stint with this particular outfit. Isolation? Check. Did a lot of that. Just no energy for anything or anybody else. Sleep. Work. Eat. Repeat. Social interaction? No thanks. Get plenty of that already. Tempting, but I’ll pass.
  2. Anger? Check. Check! Checkity-check! Injustice and prejudice, harassment and slander [or is it libel? Both, I’d say, by definition] will push anybody into that direction. A thousand postal workers can’t be wrong, after all.
  3. Bargaining? Check. I’ve done plenty of that. Faulting my reactions to the various “incidents.” Cursing my inability to “see it coming” and refusal to “play the game better than them”. Honestly, I don’t want to live my life conniving and manipulating; and to that extent, neither do I want to spend it being paranoid; documenting and running worst case scenarios through my head in the name of being prepared. Screw that. I believe in the basic good of humanity. I have to believe that at the end of the day, justice and righteousness will prevail. That the facts will speak for themselves when the final score is tallied come judgment time. That sort of thinking has no room in corporate life. None! Law, rule, and policy only apply when convenient. After all, it isn’t a crime unless you get caught, right? I keep berating myself by making excessive use of the “if only I had…” thought process. I am mired in “what-if” mechanics and all that emotional non-sense leads to
  4. Depression. Got it covered. I have mastered the art of depression. I should get a reward or something. Seriously. Maybe I should try alcoholism next time…
  5. Acceptance? Not quite there yet. I waver in and out. Part of me wants to move on; forget (but not forgive) or maybe forgive (and not forget), not entirely sure which… put the past where it belongs, learn from it and not let myself be put into the position again. As I always like to say, I learn from my mistakes. The FIRST TIME AROUND. I try not to be a repeat offender. Part of me wants justice. Make right all the wrongs through judicious use of some well-earned courtroom time. Sue the bastards. Take ’em down! Hit ’em where it hurts: their corporate coffers. Give those self-righteous lowlifers a taste of their own medicine. Go ahead and get in line at the Department of Labor. Good luck to you. Make an example out of the responsible parties that this sort of thing will NOT go unpunished. That abuse of power and willful disregard for inconvenient policy eventually will be the ink you sign your own termination with. I want to make them bleed. But it’s not going to happen. Not like I envision it, anyway. If my fantasies were to come true, I’d have Charlize Theron play my character in that Lifetime movie deal. Acceptance? Not there yet. I promise I’ll get on that after I save my house from foreclosure and narrowly escape bankruptcy. A trusted friend of mine told me that the best revenge is living well. I was living well before they started in on me and as a result threaten the very thing.
This is why...

Why was I holding on and putting up with so much crap for 18 months? Because my paycheck funded my habit. That's why.

Time for Plan B: Living well(er). Be the Phoenix. Rise up out of the ashes and be more badass yet! Restore my inner peace, be happy and hot in pursuit of intellectual goals that I have given up long ago, dismissed as impractical. Rise up and show The (wo)Man the middle finger of unrealized potential. Sad, really, that those who call me stupid and would want to keep me in my [preconceived] place [of subservience] are already topped out, stretched beyond the limit of their own capabilities and have nowhere else to go [but down]. They are all they could ever be. Contrary to what some may think, the world for me has just opened up.

We’ll compare sizes [again] in about eight years or so. Or you will, since I really won’t give a rat’s ass for very much longer. =D

UPDATE:

Angry Bird: Last Words to the Pig


The Phoenix and the Angry Bird

Many of my readers and friends have told me that I need to keep writing. I blew them off with a dismissive wave of hand accompanied by the same old and tired rhetoric; the same rhetoric I have repeated ad nauseam until it became personal truth: “Writing doesn’t come easily; I am, after all, the author of the 12-hour paragraph. Writing is a chore. I don’t have time for it. It stresses me out. I can’t keep up with the expectations of a regular audience, no matter how small it may be. Bla-blah, bla-blah, bla-blah…” Coincidentally, I also made myself scarce online.

The blog remained, narrowly escaping deletion in a moment of temporary insanity, standing testimony of personal failure, pointing the fingers of unfinished entries and missed deadlines accusingly at its creator.

So… what is really going on?

Life happens… rather, employment does. Not to get too far into that sad situation, let’s suffice it to say that my work environment borders on abusive. I have been enduring for over 18 months. Every time I think that maybe the storm has passed and things are settling down, I am hit with another salvo. I am not a problem employee by any standards. I am loyal, complete my tasks, am a team player, and a problem solver. I help my fellow employees whenever I can, I cover for absences when I am able. My job performance cannot be faulted, on the contrary; however, that didn’t stop the harassment. It just meant that faults had to be created. I was (and still am) spoken ill of, my concerns are of no consequence to the people in charge, and I am made out to be a person with anger management issues, apparently suffer from a personality disorder or two, which prevents me from getting along with my customers, coworkers and management. Or so I am labeled. My reputation has been sullied. I am paid less than I should be. I am constantly criticized for my “excessive” sick days. Some of the people I work with aren’t speaking to me anymore, because I called them on their continued laziness after trying to work it out with them for months. What came of it? Nothing. I was told to stay away from them and bring up further issues directly. They continue to not do their jobs, which in turn makes my job a miserable proposition when it gets busy.

Enough of that. Yes, that was the short version.

My health is suffering: my stress levels are in the red; my sleep is disturbed; I have developed migraines, have constant gastrointestinal upsets, suffer from low-grade depression, and am angry all the time. I barely keep it together at work, just so that my loved ones may suffer at the hands of pent up frustration and helplessness turned to seething anger. I have no recourse, this is a right to work state and my actual boss has no backbone. Can I prove any of this? No. They may be morons, but they know how to play this game. Short of some ridiculous write-ups and the throttling of my pay, it is their word against mine. I cannot win. I ate more crow during my stint at this company than I care to admit. There might be cause to put crow on the endangered species list. I just wanted to do my job to the best of my ability and go home. But it doesn’t work like that in the real world. I thought it did. For a little while until I became too exhausted for a life outside of my subservience to Corporate America at the hands of The (wo)Man.

Not only did my health suffer. My racing skill progression slowed, came to a complete stop before it finally reversed itself and my performance degraded to the point of regression. They cancelled my vacation to Germany to join my Dad in the celebration of his 80th birthday. I lost money on non-refundable tickets for my daughter. This is the last straw. I am done. I refuse to let this job interfere with my personal pursuits and degrade my health any further. It is time to start the process of making changes for the better. This job isn’t in those plans. If they do not find me a different contract suited for my skills, I am a short-timer in this outfit.

My days here are numbered. And knowing that gives me strength. I will rise up out of the ashes, like the mythological Phoenix, but I’m one hell of a pissed off bird. My UK readers will definitely get a chuckle out of this one, considering that I am at war with a couple of pigs.

I am back.

And if I get fired for having written this, you’ll find this angry bird getting arrested downtown by yet another couple of pigs, during the Occupy Augusta movement.

There. I’ve said it. Unedited, with horrible punctuation and grammar. =D

20111113-194022.jpg


Evasive Maneuvers

Miss Busa and The Fat Lady

Miss Busa & The Fat Lady: We are cute and innocent. Well, ok, innocent. Totally harmless. How can a girl in a Hello Kitty shirt possibly be dangerous? Look she's got pink stickers on her bike. Totally harmelss. We even look slow. We only take it to the limit. Right there and no further. Pinky swear. 😉


Since I have nothing better to do than write about the ride, let me recount this little marvel of a tale. Wouldn’t before, since I still had this little traffic court thing hanging over me like the Fog of War in a mismatched RPG battle; and my license tag coincidentally spells out the domain name (for the more inquisitive mind) of my blog, which in turn holds all the unforgiving evidence in digital print, photographic and videographic form of the workings of Miss Busa’s criminal mind; like a cracked, filthy bedroom wall holds the beloved pieces of the shrine erected to honor a serial killer’s next victim… so does this blog give testimony to…. WAIT A MINUTE!

<!– With my newly attained legal skills I would like to state for the record: I would like to assert, at this time, that the content of this blog. — May it please the court, the definition of a ‘blog’ is as follows: Blog is Internet jargon for web log, which is akin to an online journal or diary for exhibitionist folks like myself. — that the content of this blog is all fabrication and lies! It is strictly for entertainment purposes only, and as such, needs a proper legal disclaimer, which was added as of now. Further, I am a pathological liar even when I tell the truth. A picture is worth a thousand untrue words and a staged video is worth a thousand untrue photos. I have 2x2x2 words for you: Tabloid journalism, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere. –>

I was out riding, enjoying a nice spring day in March, in full race gear (gotta stretch that damn cow hide, it’s still stiff and it’s getting on my nerves), minding my own lane space and not particularly paying attention to the instrument cluster, which is part of the reprogramming efforts of breaking my recently developed love affair between the gauges and my eyeballs. So it does not surprise me that my pleasant ride is rudely interrupted by the annoying flash of blue lights and a quick blip of a police siren. Shit! I look at my gauges. 70 indicated in a 45. Motherfrakker! Not again. And not just one cop, but two: a Sheriff and what looks like State Patrol, but I can’t be certain. What the hell is this? Somebody put out the fresh donut sign? Gawd! Not again! I instinctively slow down while I’m cussing up a storm inside my helmet and keeping track of the two units in my mirrors. Hell no! I am so not stopping! I’m not… shit! I have to! No. You should. Ah, fuck this; gawd, you’re such an idiot, shit! Stop! Get the hell out of here. Don’t stop! OMG! There’s traffic behind me and they slow, obviously looking for a place to turn around to follow me. What the hell is wrong with you? They already caught you going what? 63 in a 45? I accelerate back to my previous speed of 70 indicated. The road is sweeping curves, so I lose sight of the cops fairly quickly. My heart is entering a state of arrhythmia. I have to fight the constant impulse to speed up. My brain is going into overdrive. Holy shit! You’re fleeing. You are now risking an evasion charge on top of going something like 18 over. My anxiety rears its ugly head, so now I’m feeling shaky on the inside in addition to the pounding in my chest and the racing staccato of my brain.

I formulate a game plan… a girly one at that: “I didn’t see you, officer. I would have stopped. By the time I did see you behind me, I couldn’t find a safe place to pull over. No officer, I don’t know how fast I was going, I was practicing a riding skill I have developed problems with. What?!? OMG! You can’t be serious. {at this point I break down in sobs and then start bawling for all it’s worth}. My husband… is…. *sob* so going to….to…*sniffle*… to… oh no…*hangs head* going to be so mad…. at me. *wail*”

I round the last sweeper and am faced with a line of three cars waiting for a newly erected traffic light to change to green. Gawd! Just my luck. I briefly consider making a run for it through the gravel that will soon be a dedicated right turn lane. I dismiss the thought after the visual my logical mind is sending me of a Hayabusa laying on its side with me getting put in cuffs and stuffed into a police cruiser shortly thereafter. I envision myself sitting in a holding tank with a bunch of ugly, fat hookers… at least I’d have my knee pucks for when the jailer comes around… Not good, can’t explain that one away to leave reasonable doubt. While I wait behind the cars, I’m practically staring in my mirrors just waiting to see the coppers put in their flashy, wailing appearance. I’m so nervous, I’m tapping my foot. Oh please, oh please, change to green, I gotta get out of here. I’m starting to sweat. Bullets. The light finally turns, my erratically beating heart is still hammering the inside of my ribcage and my fingers are starting to feel numb. I can’t stand to wait any longer and squeeze by the car in front of me, while he’s waiting for cross traffic to clear. I execute my right turn, and rip it with one last look over my shoulder. No cops in sight, still. Good. My brain still racing, my eyes still searching to the rear. I can’t stay on this road, it’s five lanes, too much traffic and straight as hell, I have got to get out of here. I spot a dump truck to my left. Without so much of a thought I whip it into the suicide lane and execute a quickie left, using the dump truck as a shield. Looking over my shoulder, the rear is still devoid of my friends in gray or blue.

This concludes the evasion. I made two unobserved random turns before the chopper’s in the air. But my nerves are shot. My mental constitution borders on paranoid now and it’s not getting any better. A pickup truck pulls out in front of me and I freak out. Holy crap! Come on, man! He’s going incredibly slow, or so it seems. I got to get the hell out of Dodge! I grip it and rip it and pass him in a no-passing zone. Add one more count to the growing list of infractions. I can’t cope any more, I’m using all my remaining willpower to do the speed limit. Wouldn’t do me no good now to get noticed by some other cop on his way to that imaginary donut shop for a shot of java and a creme-filled whatchamacallit. I take the next available right. Hey, I know this road. Nine more miles of zig-zagging and I arrive at my house, fully expecting the cops to sit there waiting for me. (“Yes, Miss Busa, we know where you live. You are known, and now you are also wanted.”) More paranoia, I remind myself. I pull into my driveway, put the kickstand down, practically jump off The Fat Lady with a half-twist and yank the Bike Barn’s cover over her in one smooth motion, then sprint to my front door, punch in my code and enter in a hurry and slam the door shut. After disarming the alarm, I rip my helmet off, fall to the floor and dissolve into a mad case of the hysterious giggles and the laughter of the kind you will only hear from the insides of padded cells at the insane asylum. Haha! Take that coppers! Woooohooooo! What a rush! Way to stick it to the man! Yeeeehaaaw! Good gawd, I’m mad! Maaaaaaaaad, I tell you! After I calm down, I drag myself to bed to catch my breath and relax and promptly fall asleep in my gear. This much stress is exhausting. Being a fugitive criminal is exhausting. I sleep the sleep of the weary, a three-hour paranoia-induced coma.

Officer M. wasn’t lying about the non-pursuit policy that is in effect in the two counties that I frequent on an almost daily basis. I feel like they could have had me at the traffic light, but I have to assume they aborted as soon as it was clear to them that a.) they couldn’t turn around to follow me quickly enough, and b.) I wasn’t going to pull over.

“He who pulls over gets the ticket.”

~ Officer M. (whose wife made him sell his GSX-R1000 and is condemned to riding a Harley when on duty)