Lost – 1. Unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts.
2. Unable to be found.
This week, at my job with the Bohemia Journal, I was tasked with the job of getting lost. My boss, Amanda, suggested that I flip a coin or spin around blindfolded and then write about wherever I end up. Amanda, as you can see, wanted me to be in a state where I do not know my whereabouts—lost. This task was very intriguing to me, and I couldn’t avoid the opportunity; however, even more intriguing was the opportunity to interpret the word lost in a different way. So, Amanda, this week, as you suggested, I got lost. But I did not get lost in the sense that I didn’t know where I was. I got lost in the sense that I was unable to be found.
I’m not an incredibly over dramatic person. In fact, I’m a pretty mellow guy—I like there to be as little drama in a situation as possible. So, understand that when I made it so that I was lost—unable to be found—I didn’t broadcast it to the world. I didn’t make a big fuss about my short-lived journey. I didn’t tell all of my friends on Facebook that, “I now go into the wild.” I just went. I walked out of my one bedroom apartment, walked slowly down the stairs, and then I went on a ride—I got lost. Had anyone started looking for me, they would’ve discovered quickly that I was lost. They would’ve said, “We’ve lost Michael!” and they would’ve been right. I was going somewhere that only I knew about; a place where, on more than one occasion, I’ve found sanctuary from the day-to-day rush; a place where I would certainly be lost.
I started my journey at 11:52pm, Thursday night, June 9th, 2011. It was a warm night—as most June nights tend to be in Texas—which meant that my journey was going to be a very comfortable one. The mode of transportation that I chose for my ride was my 1984 Honda Rebel. The tail lights, which rest comfortably on two wire hangers—a make-shift fix that, ideally, will provide both a safety when I’m turning, as well as a safety from my tail lights getting caught in my rear tire. The mirror on the left side of my handle bars was badly bent—bent in such a way that it is always pointing towards my stomach, serving as a reminder that I cannot see where I am going, and that I should probably cut down on the beer and pork rinds. My means of transportation, while humble, is, next to my guitar and my music collection, the most precious thing that I own. We’ve been lost before, me and my rebel.
Unfortunately for me, I do not have a motorcycle license. Yes, I do ride my motorcycle almost everywhere that I go. I do not, however, have a motorcycle license—which means, as you must’ve already concluded, that I do not ride my motorcycle legally. While I would like to tell you that this is some deeply philosophical means of sticking it to the man, or is some attempt at civil disobedience, I cannot. Those motives make me sound way smarter and cooler than I actually am. The real reason that I ride illegally is because I can’t afford a motorcycle license. In order to get a motorcycle license in Texas, a citizen of the state is required to take a motorcycle safety course—a course which, in my financial state, cannot be afforded.
At 11:52PM, I inserted my key into the ignition of my motorcycle. After turning the choke on and getting her started, my motorcycle and I began our journey—we got lost. I, moving at 60 miles per hour—constantly checking my surroundings for police officers and slowing down significantly when one came into my line of sight—felt the same rush that I always feel when the wind rushes through my hair like it did this warm June night. I felt amazing. I felt free. I felt lost.
For the entirety of the ride, I was singing lyrics to songs which I remember. Cat Stevens, Peace Train had been playing on my computer earlier, and I couldn’t help bust sing that. I also had Tuba Mirum, from Mozart’s requiem, stuck in my head, as well as a bunch of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs. The whole time I was out I was doing two things—I was singing, or I was thinking about how I was going to put this amazing, unfathomable experience into words. Singing “Up Around the Bend” at the top of my lungs is a lot easier than thinking about how I’m going to write an essay describing the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had in my life. But that’s what I was doing. I was singing, and I was thinking….
To be continued