July 18th, 2010

I talked recently to Joe, our night auditor, about riding his motorcycle. He said that the thing, for him, is to move at a speed that feels fast but also controllable. It’s important, he said, to make sure you can react to whatever the road has to give to you. He used the word prudent. Just so we’re clear here, of the seven speeding tickets Joe’s gotten, the highest speed he was ticketed for was 130 miles per hour. Which is, of course, just the fastest he was ever going with a policeman watching. But still, there was this clear idea of finding a comfortable cruising rate, and then letting the bumps and curves come when and how they may.

When he then switches to talking about his life, it feels very much the same. He’s been working the graveyard shift here at the hotel for five years now. It’s given him a strange existence, out of sync with most of the rest of the world, but he’s adjusted, continues to adjust. He speaks of this odd job as something that was given to him by Life, and that he is seeing through to the end. There are other jobs, he knows, that would be more stimulating, but they would also be more stressful. His girlfriend also works a night shift, so there is comfort and ease in that area. He feels content, but stresses the difference between contentment and happiness. He worries that this story about him will be boring. But he waits for Life. Right now, it seems, he’s on a long straightaway. It’s easy; he can relax. There will steep inclines and hairpin turns in the future. In the meantime, he’s finding it best to relax, conserve resources, be ready.

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