Saturday, August 21, 2010

extended education

I attended one day of motorcycle school today. I went to bed at 1 and got up at 6, with several intermittent (3:30, 4, 4:15AM) waking and checking my clock moments. I didn't want to miss another learning opportunity in my life. More than that, I didn't want to forfeit the $275 I choked up for yet another hobby that I hope I will have time for.

That's when I realized that here was another one of my recent stints sitting in classrooms listening to some craftsman, artisan, or professional who has gotten so good at his trade that he can get paid teaching it to others. But I love to take classes to learn the proper way to do things - it's like a woman collecting shoes that she never ends up wearing. And it's just another hobby that will eventually get hung into my closet, after I shell out a few more hundred bucks for accessories to go with it. Will I ever use these adult education seminars? Do we get the choice to take more classes because finally, as an adult, we can take classes for skills we enjoy rather than skills needed to get a job?

The most recent one before this streetwise motorcycle school was a home brewery class. Fortunately that one came from a groupon so for $35 (?) I got a full kit and a beer brewing lesson that comes summarized in a handbook. And the brewery kit paid off once, failed horribly once, and is now sitting in my cabinets. At least I can always tell my friends I'm a brewmaster, and in case I lived somewhere where a constant beer supply helped run a household, I would be proud to uncork my 5 gallon bucket again.

Before that, there was bartending school. Which, of course, really taught me the right way to do things whether at an actual event or just with some friends. And I still do it, just on my own, with far fewer standards, and with no possibility of screwing up or making money. It's just that now I meet people who are more successful than I am at getting bartending jobs, but at least we can all chat and say wasn't bartending school fun? And when I see someone else try to mix a drink I am filled with contempt at their ignorance, and sadness that my bartending snobbery brings me no extra joy. College kids can do fine with college bartending skills. It's like I got a PhD and now work at a McDonalds.

And another thing before that in which I spent weekend days listening - sailing. I took the sailing class - books all morning, sailing all afternoon, and with that they sent us out on the water with the sail in full motion. I made it back that time - the next time I didn't, and haven't sailed since.

So hopefully this time the motorcycle lessons will pay off. Because once I drop another $2k on a bike, $1k on gear, and decide I'm brave enough to go onto the road and eventually commute to work...this class will have paid off. Because I will be much better at not dying while riding my bike than if I had "learned it from Uncle Joe" as our instructor said.

So...maybe it'll actually be better if this habit gets hung into some cabinet as well.

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