Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Escapist Driving Way Too Fast

During the very same time Leif was back in contact with J and telling her how her leaving had affected him, professing his love, and seeming to us as though he were still depressed, spending endless hours online playing Planetside and drinking himself to sleep with several beers every night, he was portraying a far different picture, at least for a short time, to some others. Reading his email now, it seems almost schizophrenic.

On the one hand, he was in a new job and had hopes of rising in the company to a substantial income. He was looking for female companionship and love online with and and other dating sites. He spent most of his off-work time at home, though he was dating, and most of his time at home online playing games and looking for women. I was still worried about him. And also worried because although he was earning a good living and basically had no living expenses living with us that year, he wasn't saving any money for his eventual move to Tampa. Instead, he bought his new super-fast Suzuki motorcycle.

We had never liked him riding a cycle, partly because we knew of the inherent danger (which he pooh-poohed) and partly because we were certain that it increased that danger immensely by driving far too fast, which he did in his car as well. It was a continue worry to us that he would smash himself up in a motorcycle crash and either kill himself or be maimed for life. I've posted exchanges between us about that before, including the account of the accident he did have, ironically at a low speed in Tampa in traffic when a car swerved in front of him. I always kept my cell phone with me in case he had to call in an emergency, or some emergency personnel called me. I will always remember the call that I did get that July 2007, from a young couple who stopped and helped him when he had the accident in Tampa.

I guess we were all lucky that he never killed himself or anyone else with his cycle or car. I am thankful for that. I'm thankful he never injured or maimed himself or anyone else. And reading the email I am going to post makes me aware just how great that danger was.

Leif wanted love, a home life, a purpose. Maybe if he'd found it, he would have modified his behavior. Maybe not. We will never know, but I do know that I told him that if he was going to continue to live like that, he'd better get a large term life insurance policy and be sure if he married he had a wife prepared to be a widow or take care of an invalid. He peppered me with statistics showing that most motorcycle accidents happen in a cycle rider's first six months when they are not experience riders, but that didn't satisfy my concerns.

Despite Leif's desire for a home life and love, he didn't seem to grasp that the kind of life he was leading was not going to help him find that. He did what he did because his life was empty and he filled it with thrill rides, hooked on adrenaline. He loved riding more than anything else in his life. As he stated to me more than once, he would rather be homeless than without a motorcycle. It really was an addiction for him. I sometimes wonder whether even that had something to do with his suicide, that because of his debts he might have to face giving up and selling his cycle . . . something his dad had urged him to do, though we didn't know the extent of his debts that final time around until after he died. He hid that from us, thinking, I'm sure, that he didn't want us to know he had gotten in over his head a third time, and this time worse than the others.

But in June 2005, three months after moving to Florida, he was still hopeful, still alternating between the hope of a bright future in a new, sunny, warm place (so that he had less problems with his asthma), the hope of meeting a new love, the joy of owning a new, super-fast cycle, and the depression that was still there after losing J. Like many men, he "medicated" his depression with expensive man-toys and dangerous, fast living. He got far too little sleep most of the time, drank too much, and drove too fast.

Leif lived like there was no tomorrow
And it became tragically true.

It took less than three years from the time he wrote this "triumphant" email (one which horrifies me at his admissions of extreme speeds) to a male friend to the suicide when riding no longer overcame the dark depression. He might not have lived as long as he did if anything had gone wrong on a ride like this one.

It seems to me there is way more than a little self-delusion here, for a man who is writing to his lost love and missing her terribly, the same lost love he was still writing to two months before he died. That man was escaping through adrenaline. He was not happy. It may have been a euphoric day for him, the one he describes, but it never lasted. This may be a portrait, the best one I've seen, of the possibility of bipolar disorder.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 6:01 PM

Want to know the real reason you see less people online? How's this for an excuse for absence?

So, Sunday I chill out and play PS cuz it's raining. Watch a movie for a change and finally got to bed around 2 a.m. Wake up at 5 a.m. to go to work. Work from 6:30 a.. to 1:30 p.m. Come home, post topic about Markov play. Go to doctor's office to make sure I am in good standing for when the VA audits my disability.

So, then I get out of there and decide to find out where the doctor's office road goes. OOOOh, lots of secluded straightaways for doing wheelies. Twist the throttle a few times, scare some cows at a farm I didn't even know was there and end up on Hwy 301 south. Pass the light and hit the throttle again. Roll down the wheelie and chill looking at the big puffy white clouds and blue sky and walls of green trees on either side and think to myself how unfair it is to the rest of humanity that they don't live in sunny Florida.

I glance down at the speedo and an amused smile comes over my face as I realize I am doing 103 down 301.

While I consider 103 mph a perfectly reasonable cruising speed on a nice lonely highway I sadly ran into traffic and had to slow down. Damn semis throw up so much sand. OK, drop a gear, twist the gas and zoooom right around the semi. Ah, sand free fresh air again. OH LOOK! 135mph. OK, maybe I should slow down.

By now I am way down the road. Could turn around in some farmer's driveway but why? It's gorgeous out. Why turn around? To go home and play Planetside? I think not. So, sign says 35 miles to Sarasota. Why not? I haven't rode through Sarasota yet.

So I cruise on down, hit the coast and run down Anna Maria Island through Bradenton Beach. Stop at Coquina Beach to check it out. Drooled a bit at a way to hot and probably too young Yummy Redhead in an Ursula Andress bikini.

So, back on the road. Rolled down to St. Armand's Circle and did a loop. Hopped off at Lido beach, watched some bikinis, listened to the waves crash and then headed into Sarasota in search of a beer and grouper sandwich.

Sadly, could not find a nice salty beach bar with grilled mahimahi to die for so hit Hwy 41 north to head back. Then saw the sign. "Motorcycle Mondays" at Hooters. 10% off your bill if you rode in. I'm there. Got me a big grouper sandwich and sucked down two ice waters and an Amber bock while watching a parade of hotties in tit-hugging tanks tops go by.

Paid the bill, ripped a wheelie out of the parking lot and headed back.

Was about to hit the turn for the interstate home and then impulse got the better of me. Cranked the throttle, turned left and hit the Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay on my way to to St Pete Beach to watch the sunset. Looked around. It's a long bridge and no cops around, so after a moment to appreciate the view, twisted the throttle and rolled up to the top of the bridge at 140 mph. Rolled it back to enjoy the view front the top of the Skyway bridge, then looked down to see a huge gap in the cars. A question entered my mind: how fast could I get this thing up to before I catch up to those cars ahead? Answer: 150 mph as it turned out. Rolled it back a bit and cruised through traffic at about 85 till I hit St. Pete Beach.

Pulled up to the "Daquiri Deck" in St. Pete Beach just in time to sip a pina colada as the sun went down. Started up around towards Tampa again and realized I was gettin tired. It was 9:30 p.m. and save for Hooters and the daq I had been in the saddle since since 4:00 p.m. So I was up around where this girl I used to date said she lived.

So I called her. She invites me over. I am all hot and sweaty. Need a shower bad. She says let's jump in the pool. So there I am floating on my back in an 80 degree pool with a chick in a bikini thinking, “Wow life really sucks. how am I going to survive?” (sarcasm)

So it starts to get chilly. We go inside and get out of the wet suits. She starts showing me the latest sex toys she has to demo at her next couples' party and we chit chat about that. {One thing leades to another . . . } Then I must say goodbye. Looks like rain is coming and she has to work early. Life's rough.

So I am riding down Adamo Drive on my way towards Brandon, making my full loop of Tampa Bay and it starts to thunder out. I am a bit refreshed from a fresh swim but I could stand to get out of the saddle for a bit and don't want to get wet.

There isn't much on Adamo but closed car dealerships but I happen to notice a sign at "Showgirls" full nude club that says "Free admission with Military ID." I think, Hmm, I got a military ID. It's right here. It's gonna rain and if I am going to be stranded inside till it blows over I might as well be surrounded by hot naked chicks.

So that was fun.

Hung out, stared at all the yummy pussy that filled the room and fought off girl after girl trying to take me upstairs for a lap dance. I kept telling them I was just chilling but they just wouldn't stop. I am like, Look, I just came in here because it was free and I didn't want to get soaking wet and freeze on the ride home. They didn't take the hint and finally one particularly well-endowed one brought a friend and they double teamed me. They keep asking, "Why don't you like us? Don't you want to go have some fun?" To which I finally replied, "Look sweetie, don't get me wrong. You a babe, but not two hours ago I had a girl that didn't cost me a cent, so why would I want to pay you $25 do do far less?" They finally let up, as did the rain.

So, I hopped back in the saddle and on the way back home decided I was sick of I-75 and there are not likely to be a lot of cops on lonely Hwy 301 at 1:30 a.m. on a Monday night. I was right and ooooh what a sight. A lone, endless, perfectly straight road into the blackness. The little devil on my shoulder peeked behind to make sure the coast was clear. Yup, not a car in sight. No traffic. Throttle twisting back farther and farther.

70 mph, 80 mph, 90 mph, 100 mph, 110 mph, 120 mph. Such speeds are routine and commonly achieved while passing or heading up onramps on this thing. But then I kept twisting. 130 mph. Wind getting intense. Don't want to take eyes off the road. Curiosity gets the better of me and I look. 145 mph and still climbing like mad. 150 mph.

I look ahead to make sure there is plenty of road before I dare to take my eyes off and look down at the speedo again. Still miles of nothing ahead. I glance down quickly. 165 MPH!!!!! and still pulling hard. This thing is beyond evil. I shut it down and coast back to the speed limit and savor the shit-eating grin on my face. Then I look behind me. Nothing. Look ahead of me. More nothing. So now what? DO IT AGAIN, but this time in a lower gear so I get there FASTER. Muahahahahahah. Some day I will see the top end of 187 mph.

After some more foolish but fun life endangerment I make it to the intersection of my home. Take a right, hammer the gas, rip a nice power wheelie and then coast to the light and turn onto my street. A nice leisurely ride past all the houses looking at the moon, into the driveway and drop my keys on the counter.

I head to the computer and see a message from this girl from The one that is a real estate broker by day and a exotic dancer by night. You should see the pictures. Tells me I shoudl come out to her club tonight so we can finally meet. I think I just might. May not see me online tonight either.

And that was a $)#*&%ing MONDAY!!!

I wish I had two accounts so that I could TK myself next time I log on for having this much fun.

Well, the bike is beckoning. Got women to meet. Some guy that wants to to give me a job at almost double my already generous salary, an ultra hot rich stripper girl to meet tonight, and two other girls that want to get together tomorrow.

Yea,h Summer in Florida.


The photo of Leif on his Suzuki (which was stolen from his apartment complex parking lot in Tampa after less than a year) was taken as he rode out of our driveway on November 7, 2005, almost exactly two years before he wrote the email to me saying his life was purposeless and bleak. What a contrast.

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