Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rockmoto Blog #4 - "You Have Nothing To Worry About"

February 1, 2009

It’s getting real now. Jess has told me I should take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation certification course to learn to ride. And it just so happens she teaches the course. Now other people teach the course as well, and I’ve told her I’m more comfortable learning from someone else, but she was unmoved. She wants to coach my course.

“It’ll be fun!”

I smell disaster. This is worse than my dad coaching my baseball and soccer teams – which he did seven years running when I was a kid. I appreciate the effort and love it indicated, but the scrutiny of having your dad as a coach is just a hard line to tow. Even if I got a base hit, I didn’t follow through enough. My elbow was too low. I didn’t keep my eye on the ball. The list goes on. I was never good enough. And now to have my girlfriend as my coach? Judging me and everything I do as potentially wrong? Lord only knows how that might explode.

Last week, I suggested again that she not coach the course I’m taking, but she doesn’t see it as a problem, so I’m going to just suck it up and get through it. I’ll be on my best behavior and hopefully I’ll ride well and not embarrass her. I’m sure she’s a great coach. It just seems like mixing personal and business is a particularly bad idea when sitting on a machine that’s notorious for mutilating people who don’t know how to ride them well. In soccer at least there are no machines you can go flying off of and be crushed underneath.

It seems there’s quite a waiting list for MSF courses, so I won’t be able to do it ‘til the end of February. In the meantime both she and my new roommate (who oddly used to be a motorcycle coach as well) have been trying to calm my nerves about taking the course. My nerves were fine until they started sharing their horror stories. My roommate related that his first day of coaching was the worst: “This guy totally lost control, flipped over the bike and broke his arm.” He checks to see my reaction. “But don’t worry. That never happens.” Then she’d chime in with a tale of some guy who popped a wheelie and nearly ran her over. “But really, you have nothing to worry about.”

What they don’t realize is that I’m really not concerned for my physical safety. I’m sure I’ll pick it up quickly enough and no one will die. That’s not my real source of distress.

What I fear is that if I don’t have the same enthusiasm for the things that mean so much to my girlfriend, we’ll be unable to connect in that arena that could severely limit the depth of her affinity towards me and perhaps my understanding of her. You might say this is all in my head, but it’s happened before.

The lucky part for me is that I have zero expertise in motorcycles. So I have no pre-formed opinions which might conflict with my lady’s crystallized vantage point. I’m such a clean slate, I’m open to absorbing her wealth of knowledge, adopting her preferences and generally being on her side of things as I take my first baby steps into this world. If she were a singer, I’d be in trouble, because I’ve got opinions galore in that realm. But, in this case, ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s just really helpful in getting along.

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