"Why do you need to speak to a councilor?"
She looks at me over the top of her glasses. Her lunch is in a Subway bag next to her. The drink is sweating into a tight puddle. There are three desks to greet needy students, and hers is the only one with a person behind it.
'To talk about my Mother." I say dead pan and I wait for the smile. Crickets. Tough crowd. Is this thing on?
"Sorry, I need to speak to someone about enrolling and to get a copy of my transcripts."
My whole life has been the pursuit of recreational endeavors. If you can't make any money at it, I am an expert. I am obsessive. I am fortunate that I never directed that energy toward gambling or drug use, because I would be long dead.
Lots of my friends skateboarded. They just didn't do it for an hour before school and three to five hours after. They liked it, but none of them asked their doctor when they could skate again before the compound fracture in their arm was set. Fewer still had Fathers so concerned for a sons safety, they locked up the skate gear, knowing that the kid would skate before the swelling went down.
I could not sleep for thinking about surfing. I would dream of waves. During long flat spells I would drive to the beach every day hoping for miracles. Once preparing for a surf contest, I went to the beach everyday for thirty two days. When there was surf, I'd run mock heats and see how many waves I could get in fifteen minutes. If there were no waves I would run to the end of the park and paddle back, two or three times.
"You need a mathematics assessment test......it's in this building, room 208. Come back with the score and you can talk to a councilor."
"Sweet!" I say (with a thumbs up).... Nothing.
"NEXT!" She says, as a tattooed skinny jeans guy walks by, so bored he can barely stay awake.
My sons music teacher asked me how much I was practicing by the time I was Lil W.B.'s age.
"Three or four hours a day." I reply.
"Ah.......obsessed." She says. She knows the symptoms as a long time sufferer.
I had a mismatched kit, that looked like jelly beans. All different colors and brands. I had one tom, a snare with no bottom head for the second tom and an old bass drum balancing on a waste basket for a floor tom. Most of it was fished out of a trash pile by my Brother and I. My room was covered with saw dust from my sticks. I ruined the rug with my pedal.
My music life occupied my every thought and dollar for the next twenty five years. Jobs for me were only a means to support the habits. I have never really had a job that defined me. It was just what I did for money. That was all fine until I over heard my youngest tell a friend that I didn't finish college and we were fine. It changed the way I saw my life. On a hill in Georgia, the thoughts of what I should have done robbed me of my focus, and caused the single biggest mental bonk I ever had on a bike. Call it what you want, I couldn't shake the feeling.
"One of your history credits is going to fall off but other than that you just need a Humanities, and elective and your Math. We can enroll you in the History and I will make a note on your file that you will start the Math next semester."
You wake up one day and you're forty five. Worried about losing time on the bike. Worried about not being with the crew enough. Worried about this years W-2. Worried about putting on weight. Worried about all that time. Worried about choices. Worried about setting a good example for your boys.
I've had a really good time. Now I need to crack the books. I will still ride as much as I can, I just can't put it first for a while.