Chalks Away, Wheels Up, Wheels Down, Pitstop…

“Aw shit… the wheels are comin off the bus…” said Chip, as he saw the red mist descend upon his (normally) mild mannered sidekick. “Beware the wrath of a patient man!” Screamed Charlie as he descended into chaos…

I felt like writing some fiction this morning. I’ve always wanted to write a novel, create a world in my mind, and invite people in to be terrified, mortified, and sanctified all at the same time. Any connection is a connection right? Why waste a connection by being mild mannered, passive, or plain old Vanilla flavoured? Don’t get me wrong, I like Vanilla, but when it comes to making an impression or making a connection I like to go all out and cut through the shit right away. I like to switch off the filter for a few minutes and see how this new person I’m meeting for the first time handles a trip down the Rabbit Hole.

I also love that saying – “The wheels are comin off the bus.” It just means someone’s about to lose their shit. Why do we associate the wheels of the bus (or lack of them) with the balance and sanity of the individual? It’s simple really I suppose. Without wheels you ain’t goin anywhere. Without balance in the tyres you ain’t gonna ride a straight line too easily. If your nuts are loose you ain’t gonna fly at high speed with any confidence.

Nuts? Did someone say nuts? Funny you should mention that. My newest little addition to the pack is getting his nuts off as we speak. My little Beagle puppy, Chip. He thought we were going out for ice cream. He thought we were going to the beach. He thought this was gonna be the best day ever with his new Pack. He’s gonna wake up with nothing to lick, nothing to sniff, and nothing to catch on the fence when he tries to escape the garden to chase the cat across the road. My heart goes out to the little guy but it happens to the best of us. I’ve been there twice but that’s a story for another Blog… which I’ll write if I ever start drinking again. I’m hoping the lack of nuts will indeed slow the little gremlin down. He’s a raging ball of cuddles, mischief, energy, and madness… and I fell in love with the little guy as soon as I laid eyes on him.

I’m writing this chapter of craziness from the tyre shop. That’s probably why I’m talking about wheels. My car hasn’t felt right for a month or so now. I knew I had a slow puncture but I also noticed the front tyres looked like they’d seen better days. I haven’t had an hour to myself to sort the issue out, but today I’ve stolen an hour, thanks to Chip taking one for the team.

Cars have changed a lot since Henry Ford unleashed the first production model – the Model T Ford, or the Tin Lizzy as they called it back when it first wowed mankind. Back then you had to be physically fit to crank the engine just to start the car up. You had to have arms like Arnie to do a three point turn. These days you don’t even have to park your own car. Automatic parking? Remote locking? Air Conditioning? Digital Radio? Massaging Seats? Sat Nav? And on and on and on goes the list of luxury specs that dazzle us and hypnotise us when we’re car shopping. Technological advancements are amazing and mind blowing… but they also rob us of the need to be aware and pro active in the driving seat. Movement has become a thing of the past. We have remote controls for everything. Somewhere in time, a TV company Think Tank were trying to come up with a way to ensure maximum TV viewing from their customers. “I know! Let’s give them a way to change the channel without having to get off the couch! We’ll invent a remote control! They’ll never have to get up off the sofa again. That way they won’t get distracted by real life.” Glib, I know. A tad fanciful, I know. But true? Abso-f**king-lutely. The machines really are taking over. In a much more subtle way than George Orwell maybe anticipated. Read “1984” by Mr Orwell and tell me it doesn’t terrify you just a little when you compare the book to the world today.

My point today is: when you make the effort to take the wheel and drive the car yourself, without automatic parking or any other crazy assistances you’ll start to feel the car, know the car, and know how it should feel… and know when it needs a tune up. Why are tyres important? Because tyres are the one constant, from Henry Ford’s Tin Lizzy to today’s high powered sofas on wheels. Tyres are still made of rubber. Tyres are still working on the same principle now as they were back then. Tyres are what keep you on the road. That simple little piece of rubber is your safety, your stability, and your assurance that you will reach your destination in one piece. Checked your tyres lately?

My car’s getting a tune up… poor Chip is getting a tune up… I’m currently going through a tune up myself. My ‘self-tyres’ have been needing a tune up – anyone who read the last Blog will know that. I’m aware that there’s a slight imbalance, a slight energy deficiency, a slight lack of control, and a slight veer to the left. I know this because I drive my own life. I look at the map, I pick where I wanna go, and I try my best to plot the course as efficiently as possible. Sometimes I realise I need to make adjustments to the route, and maybe take a different road. That’s ok. Changing your mind and changing your plans is all ok… providing you’re changing them for the right reasons. You don’t change course because of fear or self doubt. You change course because you feel an imbalance, a slight twitch in your gut, and a general feeling that you need to go somewhere for a pit stop. For me it’s as simple as switching off the engine, stopping for ten minutes, and breathing with my full attention. Taking back control, switching off auto pilot, and reconnecting with the experience of driving again. Today’s cars practically drive themselves. Where’s the fun in that?

There is always a pit stop. There is always a different road. There is always a plot twist that you’re not aware of. When you’re lost in that riveting novel and you don’t know how the protagonist is gonna get out of the nail biting situation he’s in you have to fight the urge to skip ahead to see how it ends. The best way to enjoy the ride is to just enjoy each moment and be confident that the Writer knows the big picture. He knows the end, he knows the beginning, he knows what paths his character has to take to get him to the road he finishes his journey on. When you master that concept in life you enjoy the ride and appreciate the bumps. You use the pit stops as a chance to catch your breath (and write a blog).

Enjoy your life one moment at a time. Enjoy the school run without worrying about fighting traffic to get to work. Enjoy your day without worrying about what you have to do the next day or some other day in the future. My Father In Law used to say to my wife “Diane, tomorrow never comes.” What a deep statement and what a blinding truth. There truly is no such thing as Tomorrow. There is only today. Time isn’t linear, we just measure it in linear terms due to our inability to grasp all the dimensions that surround our universe. Time doesn’t exist at all. Everything is now, everything is infinite, and everything is ever changing. Everything is paradoxical.

Check your tyres. Take the wheel back. Feel the car, and enjoy the ride. Oh, and if any dogs are reading this: if your owner ever tells you he’s taking you out for ice cream and then to the beach, keep an eye on your nuts and don’t take the free drugs they offer you, regardless of how much you like free drugs…


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