Tales of a Traveling Airbrush

When I write up one of my more memorable masterpieces, or some of my various memories, I will post them here for you to enjoy. Comments are welcome; I'll try to reply.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


The murmur of a soothing water fountain, elegant furniture and interesting paintings on the wall set the mood for relaxation in the reception area but my thoughts are elsewhere. Sitting quietly in the tastefully appointed waiting room, I look at my watch.
 I’m thinking, “hey, my session starts now.”
Part of taking care of me includes therapeutic massage. Having no injuries, a particular therapy is not necessary, just the demands of moving my body in various positions over and around a bike while plying my trade make some muscles tense and occasionally sore.
The minutes tick by while I wonder where my therapist is. A flood of thoughts occur about the projects ahead of me. I’m glad I re-read that letter from the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico and discovered that my submission to the upcoming show entitled “Pinstripe Madera”, a skateboard deck I've been putting a special paint job on, is due right now. The paint job with old school metal flake, gilding, pinstriping and an image of a stunning Indian girl is complete. I mentally compose some appropriate correspondence and realize I’d better get the finish coats of clear on it and get it ready to ship.
A hand decorated cigar box is ready to mail to a special friend, one more confirmation will establish the pinstriping route full through Halloween, a quick note of encouragement to my brother in law is ready, along with the schematic for the new rig to take to the upcoming conversations in Elkhart.
At ten minutes past nine the receptionist comes in to tell me that the therapist is running late. She expects her to be there in another ten minutes. I get up from my comfortable chair, mention that I have stuff that needs to get to the post office and head out the door. I’m thinking that the post office is just across the street. Leaving and headed to the van, I’m not impressed with the conduct experienced and wonder about the soundness of the idea of getting a massage with all that has to be done. I text my friend Jeff at Iron Pit Restorations to ask if I can come over and clear coat my skateboard deck at his shop.
One thing I have to be grateful for, due to the ever changing demands of life at the mercy of the variety of situations that can happen while working outdoors and on the road is having learned to be flexible.
As I drive the van back to the rig after the visit to the post office and put the finishing touches on a commissioned logo for a riding club, I discard the idea of returning for my massage. The occasional day between events is supposed to provide a window to get some rest, but there are always a bunch of loose ends to tie up. So I get busy in the office responding to emails, getting another exciting episode of “Tales of a Traveling Airbrush” ready to go, get another task list upgraded before heading to Jeff’s shop to put the finish clear on the Art Show entry.
The deck is painted using the same color scheme as the Letterfly “Wild West “ show bike and I write a letter to the curators of the show, bouncing the idea of an additional inclusion in their show of the pinstripers art.
While I switch gears, I mentally validate the episode encountered as another source of inconvenience and unnecessary expense. I recall a recent unfortunate experience at the hand of another, that cost me plenty, due to lack of integrity.
I think back to this spring and the experience of the bike not starting. The diagnosis at the first service facility was the problem was due to my having added some special marine fuel (that was supposed to be an upgrade with longevity, compared to the rapidly decomposing gasoline of today) to the tank that ended up fouling the fuel pump. The debacle resulted in a repeat of the same problem that required a second motorcycle service provider in another location along my route, costing several weeks of down time for the bike and a pile of money.
In Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the two weeks I was there, prior to entering into a service transaction with Cody and Nate at Moto-Tech, I explained that I had to have the bike back prior to my departure on Sunday, when I must leave for Virginia. They assured me that they would diagnose and fix the bike by that time no problem. On Friday I received the surprise news that my sister had passed away after a brief but severe illness. Later, the call about the bike confirmed that the fuel in the tank was again the culprit for the no start problem. After asking Cody what would be the best thing to do, he recommended that the tank be drained and filled with fresh racing fuel, a fuel that has a longer shelf life. While on the phone with him, I commissioned the additional work to be done. Not able to sleep that night, at two in the morning, due to the tragic demise of my sister, I was searching around on the internet for a flight to Pensacola to attend the funeral. No additional phone calls came from Moto-Tech Saturday but I was confident due to the assurance I had received from them and trusted that by Sunday I would have my bike, be satisfied and on my way.
On Sunday, the last day of providing my pinstriping services at Battlefield Harley-Davidson I wondered about my bike and called Moto-Tech to listen to a recording that announced they were closed and would also be closed on Monday. Now that I had a plane to catch on Tuesday morning in Richmond, I had no choice. I had to begin the trip to Virginia as scheduled, make an arrangement to park the rig somewhere prior to the HOG rally and bob tail to the airport and catch my flight.
Integrity is doing what you say you are going to do. I was taught as a child and later, as an apprentice to my trade this valuable ethic. As I watch children misbehave with their parents that have no handle on effective discipline, I wonder where integrity is in this country has gone. Now the debacle of the no-start bike has another chapter caused by not doing what they said they would do. After load out, I started the truck and headed south. Aimed out of Pennsylvania, I pondered my options; find someone willing to either ride the bike or trailer it for me to the HOG rally in Virginia, return to pick up the bike myself in September when I return from the Midwest, or maybe sell it for full price to Moto-Tech.    I mentioned my predicament in a news update to my friends on face book in an effort to compose a solution.    
I became aware of fearful thinking while sitting in the Charlotte airport waiting for my connecting flight, interrupted the dismal thoughts and raised this problem up in prayer and elected to let it go and trust God. A little later, a phone text revealed someone that would have the ability to pick it up for ten bucks an hour and gas. Soon immersed in conversations with various friends, I used my community to help with the problem that I have been gifted with, while I redirected my attention to the family function. All this unnecessary effort was now required due to lack of integrity.
While reviewing these options to get my bike, I get a call from Cody at Moto-Tech to tell me that bike was ready. When I reminded him that I had been assured that the bike would be ready prior to my departure, he mentioned that it was. He then announced that he assumed that I knew the length of time that the procedure of draining a tank and filling it with fresh fuel took, so he didn’t call me when it was ready.  Since I have never done this procedure and I don’t have any way of knowing how long it would take, I had extended the consideration of allowing them to comfortably fit this task into their schedule, trusting them to also be appropriate with me. Part of completing every service task includes the courtesy call to inform the customer that the task is complete. Since he caused the problem, I then asked him to bring me the bike or at least participate with creating a solution. I didn’t have the ability to return to Pennsylvania after the HOG rally due to having only two days to get to Wisconsin for Wing Ding. I was met with belligerence. The less than compassionate service provider now wanted to be paid in full and refused to participate in the solution to the problem that he created.
The response from Face book did get a conversation started with my biker friends in the Shenandoah area and while I was at the funeral service in Florida, I got a call from GP and Deana who had my pinstriping on several of their bikes, a show truck and a mailbox. He understood the severity of my dilemma and drove up to Pennsylvania to be of help, was at Moto-Tech, waiting, ready to load the bike on his trailer.
Being impeccable with our word is just one aspect of being that which is the most useful to our fellowman. But not everybody is on the same path. Some people remain only able to see things from a self centered perspective, a perspective that fuels justification, rather than objective investigation of our behavior. I can only hope that Cody and Nate learn from their mistakes, become stewards of their word and develop regard for their customers, the source of their abundance and interrupt the defeatist strategy now in effect.
Behaving in a way that demonstrates regard for others is the purpose I was designed for. Now inconvenienced, fortunately I have friends willing to come to the rescue to be grateful for, and a service provider to forgive for the huge inconvenience he produced due to his lack of integrity. My question remains; how could he close up shop Saturday night knowing what he promised to me as the doors were locked with my bike still inside?  
Jesus demonstrated being the “lamb,” calmly submitting to his suffering, the agony produced by others, as a way to show us how to rise above the mainstream mentality of thinking only about ourselves and sometimes unintentionally hurting another due to our distractions, and instead keep our focus on our higher purpose. Hurt people hurt people. Enlightened people reach out to help their fellowman up.
As I look at the corpse of my sister in that elegant church filled with spectacular artwork, I reviewed our past life, starting with her as my first friend in the frustrating household we were born into and realized she had never gotten the message that she was beautiful inside and that god loves her. The turbulence in our house and later at school affected our self esteem and as children we adopted many ways to cope. Fortunately, I had begun to receive healing from the impact of these childish attempts at survival in adulthood, after our estrangement had grown. One of the last conversations I had with my sister had to do with her grudge against my father that had fueled her lifetime pursuit of proving him wrong, an obsession that kept her trapped in self reliance and separated from the ability to be contributed to from outside and producing the self inflicted illusion of her being right.
A year ago, the resentment that had occurred in me as the result of her taking liberties with the desires of my mother for certain items in her estate had begun to take me down a similar lonely road. I could feel becoming separated from the sunshine of the spirit and fortunately wanted again, the peace and serenity that I have found. By working with my spiritual mentor to heal my resentment and broken-heartedness, becoming familiar with my behavior in the past and the tainted thinking I had produced in response to her actions, I could enter into an attempt at forgiveness for her behavior and make amends for my thinking and remaining separate from her. A formal letter was written, scrutinized by my mentor and when ready, sent to my sister. The correspondence that followed revealed that she was still expecting a fight.
Her lifeless body now serves as a testimony to the futility of not forgiving another, staying mad for decades and not letting go of everything that interferes with our connection to God and others. I get the message loud and clear.
  The whirlwind trip to the funeral was now a month ago – I was emotionally drained by the time I returned to the HOG Rally and was happy to see my bike intact at the venue. I then became immediately busy. Many friends made a special point to provide a word of comfort to me while I worked. My travels since then have turned particularly picturesque, especially the drive over the mountains and up into the Midwest yielding wonderful experience after wonderful experience in the heartland of this country. The task in front of me is clear - enjoy the moment that I am in now and let go of anything that interferes.
As I forgive Cody and Nate for all the grief that was created due to not completing their part of the procedure, I avoid passing judgment that will only get me just as stuck as my sister and keep my focus on what I can do that is positive to be a blessing to the people around me.
As I switch gears on this post card picture perfect day, hanging out with my friends in Indiana at Iron Pit Restorations, ready to add another coat of clear to the skateboard, the phone rings.
“This is Dawn at That’s the Rub Massage Therapy Center,” she begins, “I feel awful about the experience you had this morning.”
I remained silent, not knowing where this is going.
“I talked it over with the boss,” she continued, “and we want you to return to get a free massage”
The pages of yesterday cannot be revised. But today this page is blank and I hold the pen. By allowing others their flawed behavior and rising above to trust that all is just the way it is supposed to be, by staying centered in confidence that all is well, I get to experience a universe that remains filled with abundance. We radiate the script of the day we are going through. Let’s make this day something positive, loving and memorable for everyone else.