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It's Nelly's World

Chaos Theories

alec vanderboom

By now, everyone in the western world with a mouse and a vague interest has seen BMW's elegant commercial for the S1000RR. The crystal and flowers, dozens of place settings and candelabra--all remain coolly upright while the small matter of the thing they were standing on is removed from under them. (Suddenly, to be sure: 193 hp.)

My table, on the other hand, is haphazardly loaded right now, and the piled-up china needs no encouragement to come crashing and clattering to the floor: walk by, gently, or perhaps even just give it a hard look.

No, I am no longer depressed. I am too breathless for that. In my unconscious attempts to fend off the dark demon, I have apparently decided to back myself into impossible corners while carrying tippy loads: a schedule that looks like it belongs to six people belongs only to me. The deadline that looked doable when I inked it--and perhaps was, way back then--now has its jaws open wide, and I can see the yellowing on the great shiny fangs. That should be enough. But I've also tossed in a 24-hour rally (again, looked doable when with a click I sent my ninety-five dollars and my name; now, though, I think about the reality of riding hard, and thinking, for 24 hours, and I know I am utterly out of my league). Oh, and planning a month on the road . . . with my child.

On what bike? That is the first, and necessary, matter, and it too is falling away out of my grasp. Last week, on the way to Virginia for spring break with children, I stopped to look at an R1150R that was for sale. Riding it: in a word, wonderful. After the weighty issues of the K75, it felt resolved. It does not take me long to dream my way into an imaginable reality, and by the time I'd hit Williamsburg, that bike was mine. I was already making space (space? where did that come from?) in the schedule to return to pick it up. And then, in a phone call yesterday that I thought would include making an offer, I learned the owner did not intend to sell it after all.

I sit, chin in hands, staring at the table. I've moved some of the piles around, but they are still lopsided towers, trembling in their silent warning pre-fall. I wonder what exactly it is in me that makes me build such things, only to look at them--my life--in such bemused dismay. There must be a reason I get myself into such jams. Reasons, but no reason. Perhaps for the hilarity the recollection will bring, far in the future. Not now, though. Right now, I'd like another motorcycle, please. I have a feeling that would solve everything. I'll use it to pull the whole table down.