We drifted as briskly as the surrounding desert sands, the narrow openings presenting themselves in the complex disarray that had once been called a street. Ravaged by the brutality of the Mojave Desert, what lie before us was nothing less than asphalt chaos.
I sat stiffly on the backseat, watching over Highway's shoulder. He smoothly selected the path, gliding from one solid piece to the next, completely ignoring the huge potholes, missing chunks, and enormous cracks in the gray matter before us. In a flash I remembered the words of the instructor during my motorcycle training course.
"Look for the good road. Don't look where you don't want to go. Just focus on the path you want ahead of you."
Thoughts of The Who's Pinball Wizard came to mind; the deaf, dumb and blind boy who played pinball by some indescribable sixth sense. Highway seemed to ride by that same type of instinct. The vast difference between Highway's relaxed approach to the situation and my tense observation from the backseat became painfully evident. How could he not be concerned?
When we arrived at the pyramid in Felicity, at 10am the heat was just approaching a stifling 105 degrees. I peeled off my helmet and riding jacket, gulped some water, then stared into Highway's eyes.
"That was brutal! How did you do that?"
He looked stunned.
"How did I do what?" he asked innocently. He had no idea to what I was referring.
"How did you avoid all 10,000 cracks and potholes in that road?" I choked.
"I just rode the good part."
I realized that this wasn't something monumentous or new to Highway, because this is his philosophy in life. He sees the good and ignores the bad. He lives in the present, not 10 miles ahead or 20 miles behind. He doesn't get off of the bike and ask if I saw something 40 miles back; he gets off and asks about something right in front of us. He doesn't anticipate or forecast our destination, nor does he regret or dwell on roads we passed. He spends his life in the here, the now, the good and the beautiful. To Highway, he can't imagine why anyone would see life any other way.
When I met Highway, I had just spent 15 years with someone who only saw the bad in every person, place, thing and situation. He complained about a million things he couldn't change and took no responsibility to change the one thing he could; himself. The burden of that relationship left me bone dry when I bailed. Highway turned out to be the never-ending-well-of-optimism. The beauty is, he doesn't even see it. Enjoying life is simply inherent for him; part of his DNA.
The Bible says, "Seek and ye shall find. . ." Riders like Highway got it right. They spend their lives looking for the good road. It is inconceivable to Highway that a road has nothing good to offer. It takes no effort for him to see the good road because from his perspective, that's all he can see. Optimists don't seek joy, happiness, goodness or beauty. They simply accept that those things are already there.