Ride and Die

Something to lose

1:39pm, Ho Chi Minh City

Today I woke to the sound of rain filling me with memories of growing up in the Pacific Northwest.

To me warm rain is like a warm blanket.

The warm rain of my past tugs at my heart.

Today I awoke to a dream life, a dream of memories.

My dreams had nothing to do with it.

In fact they were riddled with anxiety and other silly things.

But waking up to that pitter-patter is something comforting indeed and I never knew how much I liked it until experiencing it again in Vietnam.

I stayed up late listening to Joe Rogan interview David Choe, a person I know very little about considering his storied background, and yet I feel inspired by his vigorous distaste for the same-old same-old in art, and brutal honesty.

I had to drag myself out of the hotel room today as they wanted to clean. I’ve been living in hotels and Airbnb’s for the past seven months now.

It’s been an up and down ride.

Part of me loves it and part of me hates it.

Part of me wants to return to my place and make it my own.

I’m also somewhat of a germaphobe. Pair that with some tame OCD and sometimes I have a hard time with it.

Though I will say living this way has largely forced me to part with these eccentric insistences.

And so I remain mostly, willfully trapped.

In a months time, which I know will fly past at light-speed, I’ll be (hopefully) headed to South America to attend to familial matters, after a weeklong stint back north to attend a wedding.

The latter is not something I look forward to as my personality finds it hard to gel with such things as celebrations.

My birthday recently passed and I didn’t give it a second glance.

It’s always been this way as long as I can remember. As well as people taking issue with it: my lack of ability to be excited.

Quiet reverence.

Quiet reverence of whatever it is that’s worthy is the only thing worth being excited about, and even then it’s not exciting — just steeped in deep feeling that leaves one drenched even after long having exited it.

This is really the only thing worth pursuing in my eyes.

Art, I suppose. And the mastery of oneself that allows it to bloom.

The other day I had an interesting thought in the shower, and that was, why does one care about how one feels?

To most I presume the answer would be obvious: of course I care about how I feel because, it’s how I feel, and it’s important to me; it’s at the forefront of my life.

And I suppose my life is a slowly growing contradiction to all of these statements as I continue to learn that this is a game that cannot be won; the path to a wretched up and down existence.

To be ping-ponging like this at age sixty let alone thirty is my idea of absurdity, though I understand why it happens.

Life isn’t a store filled with promises of salvation and happiness.

The entire process is filled with turmoil and struggle.

Money does little to change this.

I don’t care to pursue money other than for the practical necessity.

There are many benefits, there’s no doubting this.

But just look at all of the lottery winners; the tech boom and bitcoin millionaires.

These people are still being stringed along by false chases and the best thing they could do is use that money as a means to true salvation and sovereignty.

Which perhaps isn’t a complete salvation.

It seems to me that this word is commonly misconstrued with the word Save.

And nobody can be saved.

It’s not this limitless, never-ending happiness.

It’s experiencing life in the most practical of ways, including its turmoils and troubles.

It’s rolling with them, at ease, perhaps even learning to enjoy them.

For they are an inseparable part of life.

Sickness and death; irrefutable challenges.

These things will come.

If they have not already, then you are blessed, and will not realize this until they do.

Man lives his life in such a way that he doesn’t see these things.

He turns pebbles into boulders.

But he doesn’t realize the real boulders have already begun rolling down the hill.

I see tired people everywhere.

People that have come to the conclusion that they’d be better off dead.

That it’d be more pleasant.

It’s hard to argue against this.

But I will always lean towards feeling that this experience, this thing that perhaps will never happen again — an “unrepeatable miracle of the universe,” as David Choe would put it — is truly worth seeing out to the end, if for no reason other than this.

Better something than nothing?

Perhaps, perhaps not.

But you may as well find out.

It’s not ride or die.

It’s ride and die.

The latter is inevitable.

The former is a tightrope walk; fragile.

And the more fragile it is, the more precious it is.

This fragility is what makes things interesting, whilst being the thing that most people are terrified of.

Their own fragility.

When I ride through HCMC in the back of a car, I’m always astonished at the danger and seemingly nail-biting experience that is thousands of scooters breathing down each other’s necks.

Countless near misses.

The accidents are numerous, that’s a fact.

But most of these people have no choice, or at least, feel as if they don’t.

It’s become normalized.

As for me, I can’t imagine putting myself at risk of becoming a paraplegic; a burden to myself and others.

I remember the day I should have taken four-hundred pounds of quad to my light frame: its weight concentrated by gravity, handlebars turned to bludgeon, having charged up an impossible hill.

Only days before had I acquired the protective gear that had its plastic chunked out of it instead.

So I’m no stranger to it.

That nothing to lose attitude.

High speeds on mountainous highways, wind pushing my $6,000 car around; barely aerodynamic enough to carve through the turbulence without sending me to an early death.

All for ego, and rebellion.

Perhaps a drop of adrenaline to feel alive.

Too many times I could have died or damaged myself beyond repair for that.

It seems those days are long behind me.

It seems I now do feel like I have something to lose, even after having taken Renegade Vows only a week ago.

But these vows are of a far different sort.

The sort that bubble over in a cauldron of contempt.

Yet these remain incomplete.

And I’ll say no more until I’m ready.