On The Road Again


Honey, I just can’t wait to get on the road again.

Baby.

Ooh.

Yeah.

That’s right.

I got back in the saddle, I hopped back on the horse and I rode her all over town.

My Vespa that is.

Yes, my Vespa, not his Vespa, my Vespa.

Because a lady can change her mind and that’s ok.

There was a time, and not too long ago where I would have said ok, I said I’m going to sell it, I’m selling it, or whatever it was I was doing or thinking about doing, even though I had some doubts, because I said I would, I would.

I wasn’t allowed to change my mind.

Which meant I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes.

Which means I have to be perfect.

And man.

I tell ya, perfect is a hard state to achieve and maintain.

Having neither achieved or maintained said state ever, I should know.

Having tried to maintain that state of perfection all my life, I should really know.

I was unsettled this morning about the scooter when I woke up.  I prayed.  Yeah, I do that, weird huh, but it works and I’m not about to change the efficacy of something when it works, do it.  So I asked for some direction and did some writing and then I did a sitting meditation on top of it.

What did I need to do to get the scooter ready?

I should put air in the tires, I should dust her off, she’s basically been at a stand still since June 4th when I sprained my ankle trying to kick-start it, I should maybe, if I can get it started, top of the gas in the tank.

Then I sat.

There were two things bothering me at the edge of my brain.

One of them had to do with a piece of mail I had gotten the day before yesterday.

The other was that I sort of wanted to ride my scooter.

I mean, I was sort of jealous of the dude that was coming to buy it.

I was also concerned that the whole plan to sell the scooter, turn around, put a down payment on another and then transfer the title, get new insurance for the new scooter, pay extra taxes for a new scooter, and the getting my scooter dealt with, felt all too complicated.

That knowledge coupled with the piece of mail I received, which was an offer for a credit card, sat with me.

Now.

I haven’t gotten an offer for a credit card in a long time.

Like, oh, seven years to be exact.

I picked up the VISA pre-approved credit card application and smiled, I had forgotten, though not truly forgotten, about my bankruptcy filing that I did, yes, you guessed it, seven years ago this month.

October 15th, to be exact.

I filed for and was granted a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

I did some stupid things, drinking a lot and doing a lot of cocaine fueled those stupid things, and I had to pay for them when I first got into recovery.

But I did not.

I did not for about a year.

I was really destitute my first year of recovery, I am still uncertain how the hell I got through, but I did, I was graced and I got through and after that first year I had to start cleaning up the wreckage of my financial history.

“We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them,” she quoted to me as we sat and drank coffee in the kitchen of her house.

Fuck me.

I owe a lot.

I was scared.

It was hard.

I made a lot of phone calls with a script I had help writing, I made amends and repaid what I could when I could where I could.  I repaid my best friend $1100 for rent.  I paid off the IRS.  I paid of Victoria Secrets (the pair of jeans and the bra that I had bought on my credit card for $128 eventually cost me $785 after not paying on the Victoria Secrets card I had taken out right before I got sober, but I paid it off–said pair of jeans, fyi, I sold to Buffalo Exchange for a whopping $15 store credit, or $8 cash, I took the cash and bought some groceries).

I made payments to VISA and MasterCard and another card I had, maybe another separate VISA account?  Not even sure, but I made payments.

Sometimes five dollars a month.

Sometimes twenty.

I finally, after a year of doing this, maybe a year and a half, took the advice of a room-mate, saw the free lawyer at the San Francisco Public Library, who told me to file bankruptcy, and I set the wheels in motion.

It cost me $1500.

It cleared me of over $68,000 in debt.

Most of it interest.

The original debt might have been around $12,000 or $13,000, I’m hazy on the numbers.

Anyway.

The only thing I owed on was my student loans, which they won’t absolve, and I have spent the last 9 1/2 years paying my way in cash with very few exceptions.

The plane ticket back from Paris.

And this scooter.

That’s what got me.

When I saw that piece of mail saying I was pre-approved, my first thought was, now I can buy a new scooter and get on this thing.

Then I thought.

Wait.

What?

Why go into debt when I am almost completely done paying off the Vespa?

I have two payments left, I could probably pay it off right now if I wanted to, why go into debt buying a new one?

And then.

It’s so cute, my Vespa, that is.

I sat.

I meditated.

I got quiet.

I thought, felt, asked, listened.

It seemed to be that it was not the prudent thing to do.

I sought further instruction.

I rode my bicycle to 7th and Irving and sat at Tart to Tart and did some reading and spent some time talking about where I am in my life and what’s happening and dating and work and then I rode home on my bicycle.

I was beginning to feel, honest, in my gut, that I was not supposed to sell the Vespa.

I made lunch.

I sat on the back patio and flipped through a Vogue and watched the sky and then I went and got the keys to the scooter.

Act as if.

I pulled it out.

I dusted her off.

I wiped her down, put air in the tires, and decided I would try to start her up and take her to the gas station down the street.

I used my right foot, not my left.

Guess what happened?

No, really guess.

Ha.

She started on the second kick.

The engine-turned over, I gave her some gas and then I let her sit and warm up.

I went inside, put on a jacket, grabbed my helmet, my messenger bag and my wallet.

I hopped on my scooter.

I had not forgotten how to ride it.

I knew within a minute, less probably, of being on the scooter, I knew by the first stop sign I reached at 46th and Irving, that I was keeping her.

I was grinning ear to ear.

I took her to the gas station, topped off the tank, for a whopping $3, and rode her back to the house.

I parked in front of the garage and called the man who wanted to buy her and said, I apologize for the late notice, but I have decided to not sell my Vespa.  I hope you understand and I am sorry if I have inconvenienced your schedule in any way.

He was super sweet about it and that was that.

I rode her to the grocery store, just to get a little more comfortable on her, through the park, and then back to the house to unload my bag.

I rode her up Lincoln to Cole Valley, then to 17th Street, up and over the hill, god damn the view, then up and over Diamond Street to St. Phillips in Noe Valley.

And like that.

I’m back in the saddle again.

It was a bit rocky at points.

I killed it twice.

But I restarted her without a hitch and breathed through the entire thing and whooped with joy more than once.

Grateful that I am allowed to not be perfect, to make mistakes, to learn from them, and to literally get my butt back in the saddle.

I have to say.

I am more than a little proud of myself for doing it.

Walking through some fear.

It does a girl good.

Note to self.

Remember that tomorrow on your date!

Which I will enjoy, no matter what, because I will know that I have a gorgeous little scooter waiting to take me for a ride when it’s done.

Vroom!

Vroom!

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