Total Loss of Control
Realization number three in my ongoing unraveling brought on by this 5000 miles in 17 days motorcycle trip!
Yep, it has become the gift that keeps on giving.
It feels like shit at times, but it really is a gift.
Some of you have heard the story of our close call on the plains of Montana and some of you have not.
For those that have…go make yourself a sandwich while I re-tell it.
So…plains of Montana, trying to out run a giant storm that is quickly bearing down on us.
Two squalls of rain ahead, with a space in-between.
My husband yells back at me over the rumbling thunder, “We’re gonna thread the needle”, meaning, try to make it between the squalls.
We are traveling on a two lane highway at 85 mph.
Now I digress, for those of you from the mid west, you are familiar with these storms.
They are an anomaly to me.
I’m from SoCal, when it drizzles there, we go on “Storm Watch”.
There’s immediate and unbelievably loud thunder that accompanies the lightning – ground lightening (what the hell?)
Then there’s rain. heavy, heavy, rain. Giant wet drops the size of quarters.
One minute it’s dry, the next it’s like someone turned a fire hose on us.
Machines that rely on the centrifugal force of two six-inch wide spinning rubber discs, don’t play well with hail. Things get real squirrely. It’s like someone upstairs has thrown slippery, wet, marbles on the road in front of you and is having a laugh while you try to stay upright.
As luck would have it, the eye of the needle closes, and the squall moves over us.
Rain so heavy, I can’t see out my visor…at all…even when my hand becomes a windshield wiper.
All I CAN see are the blurry headlights of the cars in the opposite lane.
I digress once again.
Let me explain something here.
My husband is a giant guy.
6’3″. 230 lbs
My seat is a bit higher than his, so I mostly look over his right shoulder.
He does buffer most of the weather and wind, but he also obscures my view of what is directly ahead of us.
Let me also say he is an AMAZING rider.
Over 40 years of riding, he teaches off-road riding with 600 pounds of bike and gear, rides all over the world with me on the back.
Has followed the DAKAR in So America twice, and rode thru
South Africa and the Namibian desert just this year.
He’s not a poser, that weekend rider on a Harley.
He is a certified bad ass.
It is his passion, he is very skilled, and I trust him.
Okay, back to Montana.
Rain, wind, and as I am straining to see anything.
What I do notice are headlights…in our lane.
A car is passing in the on coming lane, at over 60 m.p.h in a torrential rainstorm.
I tap hubby’s shoulder and point. Are you seeing that?
He nods slowly, staring straight ahead, no break in concentration.
Because what comes next is where I lose my shit.
After that car completes his pass, right behind him, also passing and in our lane, is a pickup truck with a trailer.
There is not enough time or space now for him to pass safely.
He is in our lane, coming at us at 60 m.p.h. – in the rain!
Total loss of control
I’ve never thought I was about to die before.
This is where the screaming came in.
This is where ten thousand bazillion thoughts go through your mind in one second, and the entire scene goes into slow motion.
And this is where another realization came and tapped me on the shoulder.
“NOT NOW! CAN’T YOU SEE IM BUSY!”
I’m standing straight up on the pegs now, which you don’t do, because it destabilizes the whole arrangement we’ve all made, me, my husband, the weather and the bike, and all bets are off.
I’m screaming hysterically,my slasher movie scream, knowing I’m about to become a splat on the windshield of some jerks truck – in the middle of Montana.
I have NO idea how to get out of this!
But my husband does.
I can’t see an escape route, a way out.
I can’t contain my hysteria, because I’m totally and completely NOT in control
I’ m going to jump off on the right into a culvert and barbed wire, to try save myself.
It actually seems at the time like a better bet.
My husband, from years of experience, training, skill and guts,
remains completely calm.
Steady and still.
I can’t see from the rain, the speed, and the incredible turbulence as my husband goes around the truck and trailer on the right, on a sliver of asphalt that remains.
I continue screaming as I position myself to jump.
The right side of my body in motion, the left side decides to stay.
We slip beside him with less than two feet to spare.
The turbulence knocks our left hand mirror down, and buffets us for what seems like forever.
Total loss of control
The realization I’ve had is this:
In life, when we don’t have clarity,
Sometimes we’re barreling towards uncertainty,
When we don’t have the facts,
When we can’t see our way clear,
We panic and make decisions based in fear.
We can swerve or slam on the brakes on a slippery surface.
Most likely, to our detriment.
If we surrender to the part of us that does know,
That does have the wisdom, the skill and the steadiness to bring us thru the storm, we may give up control, which is terrifying, but it enables us to come out unscathed on the other side.
My body is still jacked up, because in every way except the physical
I DID jump off that bike.
The left side which stayed, is in so much pain,
The right side is fine.
I have yet to integrate the two.