Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Zen and the Art of Human Maintenance

I have always had a long list of books that I just never got around to reading. Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was one of these that I actually picked up as a youngster, but didn't get past the first couple of pages.

While I enjoyed it and found it to be a good read, it has given me a desire for a road-trip… growing up in a small town in the middle of the desert, you had them just to go to the store. Road trips are a "comfort food" to me, you enjoy the first part, but later you remember why you don't get around to them now that you know better.

Passion can be transfered, and I did get caught up emotion of wanting to tune a motorcycle. While my motorcycle interest is quite shallow, I got his point: If you care about something, you'll care enough to take care of it. While I often organize and refactor my source code, but we all have a motorcycle to maintain-- ourselves.

Some of us are like "John" (a character in the book), we put fuel in it when we need to, and when it breaks, we take it to the doctor for work on the plumbing. Others of us are like "Bob" (the main character), constantly monitoring ourselves… "Hrm, where did that twinge in my neck come from? Ah, yeah, I'm starting that new project with an aggressive deadline, let's do a bit more yoga this morning, and go to bed early tonight."

Some take this maintenance even further by attributing messages and meanings into everything from dreams to birds flying into windows.

The real interesting part about this analogy is how we have no owner's manual-- and it just gets worse. No two motorcycles are the same. I'm a vegetarian with high cholesterol, so I have to exercise a lot more than my non-vegetarian wife who doesn't.

Perhaps some of us are BMW's, and require less maintenance. Others of us are constantly up on blocks. Either way, I think we end up loving our motorcycles because of the maintenance, don't you think?

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