On one of my nights off, i trucked on down to the ole coffee shop that I frequent. I had a sandwich for dinner and then started reading my blogs and reviewing email on my laptop.
One of the blog posts stood out. An author, Robert M. Pirsig has just passed away and the blog talked about one of his books that he had written called Zen and THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE. I was intrigued and read and read on. The author talks about a motorcycle trip across the country with his son and discusses some philosophical issues.
If you have never been to the Leaf and Bean, it is a father and son business and both of them are very enthusiastic motorcyclists. I enjoy having quick conversations with them, especially Bill, the father who I often see in the evening. He has lived a life filled with adventure, love, and loss. When he walked by, I asked him if he had ever read this book. Apparently this was on the list of must read books that I was never given. I don’t read a lot of books, but the ones I do, come to me in this fashion.
Bill said he had loaned his copy to someone, but I should most definitely read it. I thought, no time like the present, and checked the Barnes and Noble website. I didn’t feel like driving to Pittsford, but figured the book would be gone fast because of knuckleheads like me didn’t know any better. I reserved the book and jumped in the Trailblazer. I wandered around for a little while, picked up a couple vintage truck magazines and found someone to help me get the book.
From the second floor comes this middle-aged woman in white hair. “You got here fast”, she said. I told her the significance of the book and the author’s passing. She then said that this book changed her life forever. She went on to say that after reading this book she quit her job at IBM and went on to a more rewarding career. We had an excellent discussion. I told her about a similar book by Michael Crawford. She said “Soulcraft” I was shocked. I mean, I guess I stereotyped her into a corner and didn’t think of someone like her reading these types of books. We talked about how kids are not exposed to doing things with their own hands and how good it feels to actually make or repair something. She countered by suggestion and concurred with Bill that I must read Mr. Pirsig’s other book entitled Lila, which discusses morals.
Add that to Gary Craig‘s book Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still‑Unsolved, and I have a good summer’s reading list piled up. Here is a link to the robbery from last year’s New York Times.
On my way home I was struck by these two people whose lives I would guess have never crossed, but both had a deep appreciation for the book and the author.
The last good book I read was Flight of Passage, and I enjoyed that immensely. I hope these are just as good. Isn’t the ability to read and write one of the greatest gifts we have as humans?