998 Cubic Centimeters, 2-5 inches of Rain

These daily swinging stints keep me from madness, soothing the rough edges of an otherwise taxing day.

Twisting around the back roads, this new routine of high risk behavior is as much exhilarating as it is terrifying, zipping up then swooping down, the commute is now a wild run through a highway hillside filled with tractor-trailers, SUVs and and Priuses.

This furious nighttime rally sweeping up and down these West Hills of rain-dropped asphalt upon a sleek and dangerous Japanese beast truly is the only way to live or not live.

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Breathing: Power Overlooked

Sometimes I forget to breathe. I often catch myself holding my breath as if I were in some grade-school contest to see who doesn’t pass out first. Or who does pass out first. I can’t quite remember the rules.
Breathe, Cooprider.

Well past 100 on the 405 loop, all I’m thinking is that the steel separators are a little sketchy and this particular curve will undoubtedly one day result in either a hefty ticket or permanent toe tag but I hold my line and it all smooths together nicely. All the while not drawing a single breath.
Breathe, Cooprider.

Finding myself in a crowded room thrust solo into the throes of networking groups of go-getters all intertwined yet divided like chatty, smiling galaxies tightly holding drinks and trying to hold attention. My anxiety hits a peak and I stand, surveying the landscape as to find the shortest distance between my shoes and the nearest cocktail, or better yet a familiar face to pretend to be excited about. All the while not exhaling once.
Breathe, Cooprider.

This human has upset me. Whether it’s a ridiculous argument with a colleague or some emotional meltdown brought on by a woman who knows my buttons, or maybe an extraordinarily rude individual who was itching to be publicly reprimanded, these moments sometimes literally steal my breath. Through rage and impulsive frustration my body just ceases to take in oxygen.
Breathe, Cooprider.

A kiss. A hold of a hand, a moment in a crowd with the right single woman, a glance across a room or a hard gaze 6 inches away, there are times when my brain and body relinquish to the moment and sometimes I just forget to breathe.
Breathe, Reid.

Do exercises, do whatever it takes to remind yourself to BREATHE.

You’ll live longer. You’ll definitely think clearer, feel more powerful and be way more smarterer than the person who never thinks about it.

Breathe…or die.

Fireworks Go Boom

The freeway circuit that surrounds downtown is the best view for the fireworks that are shot from a barge on the Willamette. The arcing slope of North Interstate 5 as it descends the Marquam Bridge puts me 150 feet above the water but close enough to touch the smoke and bursts of lights and deep explosions and as I orbit these huge airborne fireworks the city’s little skyscrapers are eye to eye with a boy on a motorbike on a bridge on a holiday.

Lovely Rita

Eating sushi behind a big street side picture window and after what must have been my ninth little plate off the cheapo train, I watch a meter maid walk across the window. She’s making her way down the street from where I’ve parked. Where I’ve parked without paying. Where I parked without caring. It was Sunday, for god’s sake. I continued to have a couple more plates because I was sure that she just wrote me a ticket a half block up just out of eye-shot. It made my unagi taste like “ugh-nagi”.

A week later the impossible happened. Twice. In one day. My luck is irrepressible, I almost don’t want to express my amazement in fear of somehow jinxing this sweet roll I call my sweet, blessed life.

Most of the times I park like my motorcycle like a normal, courteous human being, sometimes slick like a ninja in between cars already in spots but leaving plenty of space. However, there are times when I blatantly flout the law and put my motorbike anywhere I can find space, short of popping it up on a sidewalk (I hate those guys!) Usually on the pretext of being just a few minutes while running a quick errand or picking up a sandwich, I’ll slip into a spot and not pay the meter.

I was about to be cited by the fine City of Portland’s Parking Enforcement but I luckily arrived at the right time and by utilizing my uncanny ability to plead my case, was able to avoid paying some exorbitant fine. Did I mention that this happened twice in one day? Two times. Each meter reader seemed annoyed that I managed to interrupt their nabbing me and both reprimanded me like a parochial overseer, and each time I took my licks and promised to feed the meter every time I parked.

Luck has everything to do with timing and emotional reaction. Or maybe that’s just making your own luck. Whatever the case, my luck is like soft serve, every once in a while it’s totally awesome only because I don’t get it every day.

VN Jan 21, 2013s

Where does it begin? Rise early in Hue, fog lines the roofs, grab a steaming bowl of soup for an American buck, a cup of coffee then hop our eager rears on the backs of rented motorbikes and off we go down Highway 1 in search of the beach.

4 hours of meandering, bombing through beautiful, backwoods neighborhoods, past translucent green paddies where lumbering, glistening water buffalo wallowed away from the heat. Vast, vibrantly colored cemeteries line hillsides and roadsides, dozens of schools where hundreds of students strolled, biked, played, mere feet from where these wheels would zip by.

After about 4 hours of winding roads, canopies of palms and endless farms, we reached the bridge that led us to the beach. That sweet, salty tributary of the South China Sea, the water was balmy but more than warm enough for us to strip down and dive in.

The random house where we stopped for food (banh xeo) greeted us with a heaping plate of fresh greens, peanut sauce and delicious delicacies only found in the inconspicuous reaches of town. The family was glorious and generous, absolutely wonderful people.

About 25 kilometers from town Uncle took a dip on the motorbike after avoiding a truck and other obstacles, gashed up his knee and elbow, I had to ride his crooked wheeled scooter home.

After fouled spark plugs, running out of gas, cock-eyed handlebars, being lost virtually the entire time, it was a pretty incredible time.

Rain Damage

Wearing the wrong pants for a rainstorm that’s unleashing a horrifying display of freeway ineptitude.

It’s us against the soaking masses of traffic. Fun.

Delirious from anticipating collision while being hidden by dark rain, tucked deep behind speeding shadows and blind spots, the only constant element is the howl of the engine and the blankets of water.

like a fish I sift through puddles and mist
sleek, I persist against the fear in my wrist
hydroplaning lanes in the darkness and rain,
adrift in adrenaline, drowning in bliss.