Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Never Expected a Lesson in Philosophy...

... from my Motorcycle Tires! But there it was for me today. My own personal lesson in the form of a bit of Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance. :)

A couple of weeks back, an unexpected bad tire and the cost of motorcycle tire service had me making plans to take over all the chores of doing my own bike tire work. I'd calculated that it would save me something around $130 bucks per pair of tires...

I got as far as buying my next set of tires, and a fancy looking motorcycle lift.

... and then... some little thorn started poking me. A faint whisper suggested something was "off", something wasn't fitting.

Before I went and dropped the cash on even more specialized equipment, for peeling the tires off the wheels... a whisper in the wind rustled... "wait... wait..."

Over the years I've learned to listen to that wind whistling quietly between my ears. :)

This morning, I'd finally gotten where I had the time and good place to work to start getting after those waiting tires. But, that uncomfortable, uneasy feeling remained. I'd studied the manual and it looked pretty straight forward... Take off this... Loosen that... remove another part...

Easy, it's only a wheel... Right?

I went out to start. I'm looking at the bike... laying under it looking up at parts that are to be removed... and realize... The manual didn't say how to get to the part that needs removal... A Raider is not a light dirt bike... or even a lot of street bikes.

It quickly became apparent that the exhaust pipes have to be taken loose... among other issues... to get to the axle of the rear wheel. Simple and straight forward, it ain't. The simple job was a lot more complicated than it looked at first blush.

Finally... frustrated and if I'm honest, bullied, by the details of the task... I sat in the shade under the awning for a bit sipping a coke and thinking about this job; Something ain't right... If this was a good choice, Why am I so... uncomfortable with it?

This was one of those times when an ego you can't control can really let you down. ;) It'll push you to keep on doing things... because that's what you planned to do. You keep on keepin' on... even though your knowledge and perceptions have changed... You find it embarrassing to "change your mind".

You keep digging the hole deeper... 'cause you set out to dig a hole... so By God! You'll finish what you started! Even if that means you find yourself in a hole you can't get out of.

Me? I'm pretty much past that embarrassment stuff. That's one of the benefits of having done a lot of dumb things! :) but it does leave me exposed to flying bricks.

I'm sittin' there under the awning stewin' over this deal... When it hits me... like a brick flyin' over the fence and whoppin' me on the head.

Have you ever spent a big effort and time... and LIFE... worrying about your money or your possessions?

How many times have I preached and sermonized 'bout casting off the burdens of such thinking?

Today it occurred to me that there is a flip side to the curse of collecting possessions. An equal opposite that is just as consuming and controlling; Living Frugally.

Working to live frugally is a curse?

Yes! Leastways If you do it with the same all consuming blindness we're trained to pursue money and possessions with.

My sole and total motivation to do these tire chores was to cut the cost of tires a few bucks. Cut the cost of tires... at the expense of LIFE. Save a few dollars... using up bits of my life doing things that I just don't like doing... all on the altar of Living Frugally.

Saving dollars... is awful dang close to chasing dollars... if you're not careful... it can take over.

Investing great amounts of time worrying and scheming about how MONEY can be saved can become as heavy and burdensome a waste of time as producing the money was in the first place.

I was focused on saving a $130 bucks or so. To do that I started to sacrifice TIME... to give it to doing things that not only don't return me pleasure or fulfillment but are a clear and known DIS-pleasure to me. I started to invest Precious Life into jobs that consume life.

Just, plain, dumb. But, lucky for me... that lil' trusted buddy of mine... that lil' voice that lives in the empty darkness 'tween my ears started whispering. :)

Wrenching and mechanicing brings me no pleasure... but to save money... I misled myself back into the idea of sacrificing precious TIME to save much less precious MONEY.

The thing is... TIME is LIFE. Money... is merely a tool. How much of your LIFE... is worth sacrificing for a tool?

Laying there on a slab of concrete this morning, trying to brain out the wrenching on my Raider, wrenching that is only a burden to me... that brick came flying over the fence and KERWHAP! it found the target...

I sat there rubbing the sore spot on my head and thinking... If I'd just taken the bike and the tires to the shop a few days ago, Today... Yesterday... I could have... would have been Riding...

That is the purpose of money. It's only purpose of any value. To buy those chores done that need doing... but that the doing of takes more from you than they give... Freeing up that time... Buying you the TIME... To do the things that DO hang smiles on your face and Fill your eyes and your soul with Dreams.

For everything you dislike... there's a guy who hungers for more of it.

Luckily... for the guys like me, who truly dislike mechanicing... there are guys that dream of it. :) Though it might be hard to believe... There are folks who absolutely love being a Proctologist! :)

The point is... don't get lost in doing things to feed an ideology. If it doesn't make your day shine... question the need for it, or find someone to do it for you, and consider it money well spent!

This wasn't about tires. It's the other side of the possessions coin. Focusing too hard on being frugal is as bad for you as scrambling to gather more property... The REAL LIFE you should be living gets lost in that storm of ideology...

Making money, and being frugal, are only tools... to build Foundations under those Castles in the Sky. Use the proper tool when you need it.

But, be careful. It's an insidious thing. The treadmill has devious ways of luring you back into harness. Money, like fire is a dangerous and deceptive servant. Like fire you have to handle it with care or it will burn you. It's one of those things that if you're not careful, the Master wakes up one day and finds himself in chains.

Make sure you keep money... and frugality in their proper places... Servants of your Dreams.

Enough learning for me today... My Brain is Sore... I'm for bed!


Cindy Kingma said...

Very good, Brian! I couldn't agree more. I had a feeling, too, that you'd come to that conclusion. Its hard to admit, that you can better be served by having someone else do some things. Money IS a tool. And your time and its use, is relevant to how you wish to use your time breathing and enjoying. You can spend time ranting and raving about something or you can see the bigger picture and just relax and enjoy the moments you worked so hard for, to get where you are...on the road with Heidi and your pups, and that Raider! I am glad you heard the DING when it went off....

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about spending it Brian..its ok. Use it as a tool! This is what are fine Gov't does too!) Just be a little different with yours and don't be a tool. Go and enjoy the day while you know a fella with the art will have you burning rubber in no time! BiLL

Paul said...

Very well said. We each have our own likes and dislikes and are all willing to pay to have certain things done we don't like to do ourselves.

I do nearly all my own 'cause I enjoy the tinkerin', buildin', fixin' and the challenge of figgerin' stuff out... sometimes better'n it was. Of course, if we were all that way, lotsa folks'd be out of work.

It's good you had that brick smack ya before you got it half-way apart and had to haul it in in pieces. That's never fun.

Brian said...

Cindy; The problem is, I don't "hear" so good any more... those "Dings!" are getting fainter! ;)

Bill; No worries... I never have trouble spending it and I feel good about doing my part to keep real mechanics employed :)

Paul; I tried to feel guilty 'bout not doing the work... but when I had exactly THAT vision; "How do I get this thing on the truck if I run into a REAL difficulty and it's in parts" I thought... Ok... you know you can do it if you HAVE to... but... you don't HAVE to! :)

... and riding that big rumbling V Twin home last evening... with that big new AVON on there... that lil' bruise to my ego just Went Away! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian;

I was thinkin' this might happen... Of course I didn't say anything cuz one thing I've learned about you over these many years is that while you're very capable, you're even more stubborn.

You can always stop by here whenever you need motorcycle or vehicle maintenance. We've got a nice garage with heat in the winter and big steaks to eat after a hard day's work on the vehicles.


Brian said...

Mike; Tried one more time to push myself to do some wrenching ;)one of the capabilities I've been working on is learning to say to hell with that!When the full reality is exposed... :) and not let my "stubborn" streak push actions which have no pay off! ;) and... uh... having a heated garage in Wyoming... in the WINTER... is no benefit to a guy who fully intends to only see snow in pictures ;) now... an air conditioned garage in the SUMMER time, that's something entirely different... but keep the cooler stocked... so I can lean against the wall drinking beer... while somebody else gets wrenches dirty! HooYa! :)

Mike said...

Unlike last winter, we've had very little snow this far. All the roads are bare except the last 1/2 mile or so to the house, and that's ice covered. Supposed to be sunny all week so maybe a wheel track or two will be ice free by next weekend... Besides, you need to practice your winter driving skills. :)

Paul said...

Yup. I always go by the axiom, "Discretion is the better part of valor." I ain't no "rocket surgeon" so, if I know ahead of time I might get myself into a pickle, I avoid it. Umm... at least sometimes. LOL

I hope I'm not the only guy with a 30' class A that has considered pullin' a big ol' trailer with my "workshop" inside. Some things, I just cain't leave behind.

Brian said...

Nope Paul... You're not!:)

Fact is... I'm struggling with that lil' issue right now...

Only the "shop work" I miss... is my Custom Leather Work...

So I scribble and sketch out way after way of having my house on wheels... stuff a mobile leather shop in... and still have room for haulin' the bike and a toad would be nice... and then... she thinks maybe a Spyder would be a "bike" she'd like to 'Ride her Own'...

... and... gettin' all that done on MY budget... :) and in a rig that was still small enough to get into the places we like to go...

Running against the Wind don't begin to describe my Psychosis! :)

If I had any hair left... I'd jerk it out!

Paul said...

ROFL Brian. Reminds me of the movie "The Jerk' when Steve Martin is goin' around, pickin' up stuff he "needs." It's a simple life we chose, remember? HAH!

I was gonna do a much smaller rig 'til I took into account the critters and their comfort. Then, I thought I'd like to have a regular bed to sleep on... and a nice shower... and a decent kitchen...

Hell. I may as well get a 45' bus and pull a 30' trailer!

Don said...

GREAT POST!! My dad taught me that money is a tool. It took a while for the lesson to soak in but now that I'm over 60 it's in there. Glad to hear you are getting it earlier!