Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

Part XI: What do you despise?

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September 3, 2003:

I got a late start today. I only need to make it to northern NJ. So, I took my time.

I headed north on I-95. I used to live in Newark, DE when I was pursuing a competitive ice skating career. So, I stopped by the ice rink where I used to train. I figure I haven't seen the place in 14 years, why not take a look.

"What do you despise, by this are you truly known." -- The Manual of Muad'dib by the Princess Irulan

It hasn't changed. It's still full of kids who are there because their parent say they have to be, serious skaters who are dedicated and a whole spread of others. The head coach was sitting right where I'd last seen him 14 years ago. So, I walked over to him and said hello. He started carrying on as if I was his long lost returned friend. From the questions he was asking it was plainly obvious that I was being patronized for the "benefit" of making him look good to his current students, who were standing at the rail. He had no idea who I was. I learned what I despise. I despise being patronized. I've had the quote above hanging on my wall for a long time. The paper is quite yellowed. If you had asked me what I despised before I walked over to my old coach I wouldn't have been able to tell you. Now I feel it in my bones.

Being around riders I have discovered so many genuine people. In my work in Freemasonry I have discovered more genuine people. In recent years I have surrounded myself in genuine people. Getting out on the road and being by myself for day upon day I knew I wanted to be around people who are genuine and true to themselves. This event was so stark it really drove the point home. I love genuine people. Life's to short to be anything else. You never know when you're number is going to get called.

On my way out I watched the skaters practicing for a while. It was interesting. What I saw were kids struggling with commitment. They were afraid to lay the skate over and let it do its thing. They were unwilling to bend their knees and let the blade cut the ice. I realized I was watching the same thing that I had struggled with when I started riding the bike down in NC, TN and GA. I was unwilling to commit. I got over it, started to commit and my riding transformed. I wanted to walk out on the ice and tell this one girl in particular who was struggling to just relax and commit. "Just do it." is such a tired phrase, but in some cases it is so true. You just have to commit yourself and do it.

The traffic in NJ was horrible. My fault. I should have left earlier.