Flash forward to present day: Iím a moderately successful young professional violist. Iíve never had a ďrealĒ job other than a paper route in high school and working for my uncle in a machine shop for a summer when I was sixteen for the ďlearning experience.Ē All I really learned was that I wasnít wired for that type of work, and Iím pretty sure I ended up costing him more money than saving him. Oh well, sorry Uncle Bill! It was useful in hindsight, but it seemed at the time that all I was accomplishing was making a fool of myself in front of grown men that I had nothing in common with. Other than that ďlife shapingĒ experience of sweeping up metal shavings Iíve been able to pay my own way by playing the viola, first with string quartet gigs for weddings and receptions, and then gradually subbing in orchestras and eventually winning auditions for ever bigger and better groups. The scholarships helped to get some pieces of paper saying how artsey I am (three in all) so it didnít cost me much, if anything. I figure I broke even on the education, much better off than most young musicians I know. I donít want to make it sound like my success is chance or luck because there was lots of hard work, long hours of practice and many incredible musicians and family along the way to guide me, so Iím well aware that Iíve been given many gifts, but the past always seems so fast. How is it that I can condense over twenty years of learning to play an instrument into two paragraphs?
When I was getting my Masterís degree at the University of Oklahoma the motorcycle bug bit and bit hard. I was performing a 4th of July concert with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic at an outdoor event in Yukon, Oklahoma (the home town of Garth Brooks). I-40 westbound from OKC to Yukon takes you past a waterpark and more importantly a BMW motorcycle dealership. Curiosity led me to peek in the darkened windows after the concert. Iíd only noticed one BMW bike before (a ivory R1200C when I was at the Aspen Music Festival, and I remember being shocked at how quiet it hummed and how elegant it was visually), and my only riding experience was the summer I worked for my Uncle riding a teeny old Yamaha trail bike (70cc? 90cc? Canít remember the model), but in a family of fishermen I remember having more fun riding up and down the Colorado mountain trails to the fishing spots then the actually fishing (which is still true for me today!). When I looked in the windows of that BMW dealer I felt like I was seeing the hangar of the Death Star! So many glistening powerful machines calling out to me... It had been years since my experience with the trail bikes; honestly Iíd forgotten all about it. Seeing those bikes in the darkened interior stirred something inside me. I had to look into this! To make a long story short (well, to slightly shorten my long story!) I bought a used BMW ivory R1200C for my first motorcycle (!?! I've learned a lot since then!
). I was unlicensed and was damn lucky I didnít tip the thing over on my ďtest rideĒ in which I never left the parking lot. At least I had the sense to have them deliver my bike to my sisterís garage, saving me from becoming one of the riders who crashes leaving the dealership.