It is called The Waiting Room.
It is not majestic. Nothing that would be seen in the annals of a mountain bike magazine or a fast moving Pinkbike clip. It doesn’t even possess an encompassing or stunning view. Unless of course a set of power lines is considered ‘stunning’ (see what I did there?). They are only feet away.
Rather, it has a log. A log cut to hold a bike. Or a butt. The rider decides. For me, usually, it is my bike.
And it has a fire pit. Used infrequently but most prodigiously on the Thanksgiving Day ride.
It also has an appropriate number of leaves, trees, and sticks. And sometimes a bear. Off in the distance, hopefully.
But regardless of all that, The Waiting Room is a destination for any mountain biker in the Boston Lot trail network in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
The Waiting Room is a spot, if you will, of prominence. Or maybe even significance. Although it doesn’t have a sign to identify itself. Like the trails do. I suspect that it is not the least bit jealous, though.
And what, per se, does a rider wait for in The Waiting Room?
I have been asked that question again and again. By my wife, non-rider friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else hearing me proclaim through conversation or social media the benefits of stopping there. And waiting.
Given its name, it is a necessary question to ask. However, it is not an easy question to answer.
Maybe the difficulty in the answer comes in its connection for my need to ride. And that is hard to explain, too. So much need. Such few words. Story of my life.
I just have to do them. That’s all. Ride. And wait. Both restore me.
But that answer might be unsatisfactory to some. Even to me at times. So here it goes. An attempted answer. An acceptable one.
I wait for a lot.
I wait for another rider. Or a breeze. Sometimes I wait for a sound. Or silence. Or a vision of something positive. Often I wait on God. He has certainly found me there. And visa versa.
Sometimes others wait for me. I am not fast climbing. And they are. Particularly ‘Android Snackbar’ of Strava, Mason Racing bike shop, and Highland Mountain Bike Park fame. Or even Bruce Hathorn. Of childhood-friend fame.
Or maybe I am waiting for a beer. Some days it might be that simple. A beer. With Android or Bruce, a beer is always a possibility. Thank God for that.
I guess, in the end, of these words and the importance of the question, the waiting in The Waiting Room does not need explanation. And neither does my need to ride. Despite others. Despite myself. Both are simply what they are. Riding. Waiting. Amen.
I am not proud to admit it, especially to my Dad, but lately, given the craziness of my schedule, I have become a Jiffy Lube customer. My latest visit this past Tuesday not only had a handful of my former students changing the oil in my truck, it also had them rotating the tires and truing my rotors with a “newwickedfriggin’cool on-car lathe system that you have to let us try, Mr. Heavisides!!!!!” Always a sucker for seeing former students excited about their job, I agreed and, ironically, spent the next two hours in the “Jiffy” Lube lobby, perusing old copies of Sports Illustrated and looking for anything to kill the time. In that vein, I found myself in front of what I thought was the “awards wall” reading ten very similar looking documents. Upon closer inspection, though, they were not awards at all but rather Codes of Ethics written by every person who worked there, manager to pit monkey. I read every single one and was so impressed with the sincerity of their words, I vowed to give the activity a go of my own. Below are the results.
Code of Ethics
I will love my family unconditionally.
I will honor my wife.
I will be the best father that I can be.
I will encourage hope and optimism.
I will strive for balance in my life.
I will maintain good physical health.
I will maintain strong spiritual health.
I will not overreach.
I will not worship material objects.
I will strive to be trustworthy, honest, and honorable.
I will continually educate myself with whatever means are available.
I will be a positive leader.
I will promote progress and improvement, not achievement.
I will deal with conflict directly and respectfully.
I will help build a culture of collaboration and teamwork.
I will appreciate.
I will support.
I will be part of the solution, not the problem.
I was surprised at the difficulty of this activity. I thought doing a “Code of Ethics” would be a relatively benign and robotic piece of writing. However, I struggled with choosing the categories, what order to put them in (implying order of importance in my life), and prioritizing the indicators underneath.
Sure, any one of the indicators could be applied to the other two categories, but it was fun making decisions about what went where and why.
And although I struggled with this activity, taking way more time on it than I had to spend, it was fruitful; I have a clearer sense of what I value, or at least what I should value.
Who knew Jiffy Lube could be so thought provoking?