Book 2, Chapter 42

It's another beautiful ride through the green. The road has switched from crappy to perfect, and my mind free-wheels as it's given its reins.

Humour me; I'm going to talk about what's going on in my head...

Don't worry, it'll be a short chapter (zing).

So. Here's what I think about when I'm riding.

My mate Victor Hugo (I'm chewing through Les Miserables) has told me off for thinking that reverie and thinking are the same things. Apparently they’re not. So I’m going to be more careful to make the distinction. I reckon that what I mostly do on the bike is think.

It’s some deep and profound shit.

All day I’m coming up with gems. Pearls of wisdom; left, right and centre.

I'd love to tell you what they are. Fuck, I'd love to know what they are; yet the moment, the instant, that I get off the bike is like the moment I wake up from a dream, and what was so vivid and clear just a moment ago is now a vague shadow, or nothing at all. It just fucking evaporates. Even as I clutch at it.

I think so much on that bike; way more than any other time of the day.

I reckon that it’s my muse. So I’ve decided to name it “The Shrike”.

I’ve pulled the name from a sci-fi novel I’ve just finished reading called Hyperion. The Shrike is an epic, singular creature made out of metal spikes. It kills people for fun...

It doesn’t seem apt as a name, sure, but I like it because it was the muse of one of the main characters in the book, and my Shrike is my metal muse; the inspiration for all of my best thoughts.

I’m also not sure that it's apt, as the main character was - spoiler alert - killed (and brutally) by the Shrike in the book, but let’s not get too into the details...

I just like it.

Voilà; I told you it would be a short chapter.

Today it's been a little hard to think; butterflies exploding in your eyes at 80 clicks can bump you out of your train of thought.

The poor demented fuckers then get wedged somewhere in my helmet around my ears, and flap and squirm frantically like a fish out of water in their death throes. All of this happening on my face. I’ve gotta pull over, all the time, to get the bloody things out.

I get stopped for the first time at a checkpoint. They're pretty toothless - despite wanting to see everything. They even accept my shitty, laminated photocopy of my drivers license.

There’s the occasional eucalyptus tree lining the road. I didn’t know that they had those here. It makes me homesick.

But hey, at least I haven't shat my pants yet.

The sky is a gorgeous blue with fluffy white cumulus floating about, taking up about half the sky. Again, perfect riding conditions. Cameroon is just green, green, green and more green. It's so monotonous that when you pass a rare, red, flowering tree in bright full bloom it really hooks your eyes and leaves an impression.

It tickles me when people are a couple of hundred metres up the road from me and they turn to look at where all the noise is coming from.

The Shrike at 80 clicks heading uphill makes a hell of a racket!

Fuckin righteous!

I’ve noticed that I fantasise a lot less about my desk job back home. It seems to get further and further away all the time...

I work and I work and I hoard up all that money; and for what?

To what end?

I reckon that the next time around I’ll work just as much as I need to make the ends meet, and then get to the ends themselves. The "Why".

Do things.

Learn shit.

I've been having daydreams about surfing in the morning, in to work at ten, out at two, then heading to a class for language or music or going for a run or learning how to be a pilot or something like that. Different shit. A modern day fucking renaissance man.

I've also had fantasies about not working at a desk job anymore, and being a labourer instead. The dream is to lift things. That’s all. Do an honest day’s work.

I think the way I want to structure my life when I get back home is of physical and mental exhaustion, every day. Have the eyes roll into the back of my head even before it hits the pillow.

That's what brings happiness and contentment, I reckon.

An honest day's work and an honest day's learning.

I think that before the trip I had the physical side down-pat. Logging big miles into my running shoes every day was making me sleep like a baby at night. But I neglected the mental side almost completely; in the four years I worked at the desk I don't think that I learned hardly any new practical skills or absorbed any real practical knowledge about anything.

I ceased to be a student.

I settled in to knowing what I needed to know in order to do my job, and no more.

Not through lack of opportunity, but rather through a lack of gumption. Lack of curiosity. I didn’t give a shit for it. I tried - half-arsed - with music. I put too much faith in osmosis - the idea that if I put myself in the right environment, that I'll just "pick it up"; if I soak myself in something that it will sink in eventually.

I've tried it with music, I've tried it with language.

Osmosis doesn't do shit.

Well, at least I don't work like that. At all.

We all need teachers; they give us direction and structure.

When I return home, I want to have many different teachers for many different skills. As many as I can get my hands on.

I want to be a jack of every trade.

Learning awaits. It's exciting. I know I have the aptitude for anything I set myself to.

My problem is discipline...

"90% of success is showing up." Don't remember who said that, but it's true.

I need to keep showing up.

Oblivious | Luke Gelmi