October 27, 2021

What Just Works?

It's satisfying when something “just works.”

In college, I was one of the first and only students who discovered that scooters were an incredible way to get around Chicago. My first scooter was a cheaply made, cherry red Vespa knock-off called “Big Chief” (an awful name — apologies to all of my Indigenous American friends).

The scooter had way too many bells and whistles, including an alarm system. I must admit, I felt simultaneously amazing and ridiculous walking away from my toy-esque vehicle pressing a button that would emit a sound of two high-pitched beeps (insert slow motion strut).

Unfortunately, my two-wheeled blingy chariot just couldn’t cut the Chicago streets and developed more problems than my college budget could justify. I spent many a night in a parking garage trying to fix something that, in my mind, should just work.

So I went to a local motorcycle shop and offered to help with odds and ends on the weekends to learn more about the world of mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles. They gave me the job and I was invited into a vast garage with some of the most beautiful machines I’d ever seen. Classic BMWs, Ducatis, Triumphs, Vespas, Stellas, Royal Enfields, and so on. It was incredible.

Some bikes were a total pain to work on. The guys called those bikes “regulars” because they were there so often. Others were just in for their usual tune up. Those just worked.

I thought back to my scooter often. As flashy as it was, I decided it might be time to get something a little more solid. I saved my money and picked up a trusty, navy blue, 2003 Yamaha Vino. It was a tank that lasted me for years, well beyond college.

What's working?
There are things in your life and work that may seem nice and helpful, but when you take a step back, they require more maintenance than they’re worth. It could be a physical object, a relationship, a job, a way of leading, or a certain lifestyle choice. Be honest with yourself and admit it’s just not working.

There are other things that have been trusty companions or choices. Yes, they still take effort to maintain, but their maintenance leads to more joy. Celebrate and continue those things. They make life sweet. And you only need a few of them.

What just works for you?

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