The Bitch Slap: On Truth

bitch slap on truthThis morning, I finished up the last story in Stephen King’s latest short story collection, Full Dark, No Stars. I’ve always devoured his short fiction and this book was no exception. While reading the Afterword, I stumbled on a classic On Writing-ish gem from the simultaneously in-your head/in-your-face storyteller himself:

For writers  who knowingly lie, for those who substitute unbelievable human behavior for the way people really act, I have nothing but contempt. Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the face, let’s say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.

We forget to tell the truth.

Yesterday, I had bike racks installed on my brand new Mini Cooper in preparation for a month-long road trip that will take me from Denver to Des Moines to Los Angeles. Two dogs, two cats, two bikes, two wheels, my luggage and a redhead will bend every ergonomic law.

I ended yesterday realizing there was one ergonomic law I couldn’t break: bikes on roof racks don’t go into garages. Mounted to my roof was my not yet a year old custom track bike. I’d just picked it up from the velodrome in Boulder and strapped it to my awesomesauce roof racks from Rocky Mounts. And I proceeded to drive directly into my garage. Broke the carbon fork ($350). Scratched the living fuck out of the roof on my brand-new car. Bent some parts. I backed up, got out of the car and stared.

That, my friends, is the truth. I didn’t yell. And granted, there were hostile tweets and Facebook updates that followed. But the truth was that I just drove into my garage with my goddamn bike on the roof of my car and there was nothing I could do about it.

On a side note, the garage is AOK.

Why do we deny the truth? Because it’s uncomfortable. Easier than the lie (though it’s not). Truth denied is a dark passenger with excess baggage. When carried around in silence, it’s heavier than a huge box we just packed all of our kitchenware into, forgetting we would eventually have to lift it. (Not that I’ve done that recently…whistling). Truth is fucked up and it forces us to see things when we could easily choose the charade. After all – everyone else is pretending. Why shouldn’t we? The best stories we hear and read – they make us uncomfortable. Why? Because we don’t want to believe that people actually do those things. The incidents of outrage, from 9/11 to the fact that Palin continues to hold an audience, we can’t believe that people actually act that way and believe what the perpetrators believe. Moments that bring us joy are those where we can’t believe that what just happened really happened to US.

So you’re getting bitch slapped. What’s your truth and what have you been denying? My current truth is this:

  • I am leaving Denver on Monday for a road trip of indeterminate length.
  • I have no fucking idea how the Noah’s Ark-style listing above is going to fit in my car.
  • I just jacked-up my bike and need to find someone to install my new fork today or tomorrow.
  • The man I love is (still) dead, and I can’t change that.
  • The damage to my car from the Epic Fucktard Incident of 2010 is going to run me.
  • My life has to, at least, temporarily, fit into a 16-foot POD.
  • I will be spending today doing things I don’t want to do and spending money I don’t want to spend.
  • When the sun sets, everything is going to be okay. Or at least, less fucked-up or fucked-up in a new and exciting way.

What’s your truth and what are you denying? It would be a metric ass ton easier for me to make up some story about yesterday’s Private Pyle-style major malfunction. But the truth? It’s here, in the center of my box-filled living room like a pile of cat vomit. And now I can start cleaning it up. That’s something you can’t do with fiction. You can’t clean-up fake. Or rather, you can. It just takes the truth to do it.

You’ve been slapped.

PS: From friends who also ride, I’ve heard that the stunt I pulled yesterday is something you only do once. Thank Christ, pass the carbon fiber. At least I can fuck up in new and brilliant ways in the future.

65 comments
Customcranium
Customcranium

I am always worried that I will make the same mistakes other people do, simply by hearing/reading about them. Self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, and today I am very grateful that although we live in Nederland and snow and ice abounds, we do not have a garage, because my Element has a roof rack. I know I'm late, we've been moving up here then traveling for the holidays. I couldn't wait :)

Nothanks
Nothanks

FYI. I briefly dated a guy who did the garage thing TWICE. After the second time, I knew for sure he was an idiot and dumped him.

The Redhead
The Redhead

No pics. I couldn't bring myself to do it. *sigh*

Leon
Leon

G'Day Erika, In the spirit of redheads, rides and reading, have you read "Ride, Red, Ride; The Life of Henry 'Red' Allen" By John Chilton Seems appropriate. Enjoy Christmas Regards Leon

Mikefook
Mikefook

A picture is worth a thousand laughs in this case... no pics of it?

jodiontheweb
jodiontheweb

After yoga last weekend, I drove into the underground garage of my building, decided to cut between two cars to save 23 seconds, and side swiped a parking column. Dents and scratches are understating it. I spent the next couple hours, not being angry or upset, but breathing deeply and telling myself that beating myself up over it would serve no purpose.... maybe it was the post yoga zen, but I think it was amazing that I didn't spend the rest of the day/week being pissed at my own stupidity. It is what it is. Love you Red!

Raschella
Raschella

Thinking marketing, customer relations, etc: when people purchase one of their roof racks, it would probably endear Rocky Mount to many, if not all, of them, if they included a nice little card or some other doodad, reminding them to think before driving into the garage. Because I'm guessing there are a LOT of folks out there with fucked up carbon forks (whatever THEY are!) and ruined car roofs (yes, I know what THEY are) who would appreciate it besides redheads with two dogs and two cats and a shitload of other stuff...and a bike.

Fastskiguy
Fastskiguy

Garage takes out bike, unfortunately you're not the only one, hell a lot of us have done it. Some more than once. What kind of trick fork are you getting now??

Kellie J Walker
Kellie J Walker

Thank you for saying what needs to be said more frequently - you can't fix what you don't admit is broken. Telling yourself a lie is like trying to get somewhere with an upside down map. At best, you'll be lost. At worst, you could end up in a dangerous situation. My truth - Quitting my corporate job in January of 2010 and giving myself the year to figure out what in the world I really wanted to do was THE BEST thing I have ever done for myself. As for denial - I am a recovered Cleopatra. I spent the first half of the last 5 years pulling apart my personal knot of lies. It was ugly, but effective. The world and my life and both much better for me having made the effort. Thanks for the slap. As always, it was a pleasure to receive.

Rexi44
Rexi44

Carrying the truth around and not acknowledging it = bicycle. Reality = garage.

Valery Satterwhite
Valery Satterwhite

This is a must read if you're in search of truth and some pointy boots. My truth? I really don't know a fucking thing. I'm here to be curious - and curiouser.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks, lady :) I'll wave as I drive through KC!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Knowing you...that's been a gift for me this year. And the truth for me? I see a whole lotta ME in YOU. So I get where you're at and what I can tell you is that with every inch you move, the landscape changes. When I stopped trying to run a mile every time I needed to walk a foot, the landscape changed and I started to see what *I* needed most. Lots of hugs for you, m'dear. And you DO fit in. Maybe it's just not with the people you think you're *supposed* to fit with. Those damn "supposed to" thingies. They sucketh aloteth.

JosephRatliff
JosephRatliff

My name is Joe, and... LOL... Truth is, I've been denying my true, inner, creative self this whole year...scratch that, these last 4 years or so...and it's time to finally spend 2011 creating. You're a true inspiration Erika. Have a Merry Christmas.

Zoe Lewis
Zoe Lewis

Huh. You asked me this the other day I think, and I didn't answer. Here you go: I am 19 years old, but I usually feel about 32. This keeps me from feeling like I truly fit in anywhere. I don't want to go to college. But I have to at some point... or do I? The line between what I want and what my parents want for me has become completely blurred and I am now in a constant state of confusion over where I will be in a year. I'm broke. I'm losing my passion for the things I've loved and been good at my whole life. I hate everyone I know, for moments at a time, periodically throughout the day. I say hate way too often, and I know this, but it is always the first word that comes out of my mouth when I'm hurt or angry. After having the word "love" thrown at me in several epic hurricanes of bullshit, it now has very little meaning, and I can't even say it back to my mother at the end of a phone conversation. I have the voice and judgments of an abusive 18 year-old boy in my head. As far as I've come since then, I worry that they will never truly go away.

Mike Masin
Mike Masin

I think there's an additional perspective. (I apologize, this isn't well thought out; it occurred to me when I read your post so it's more like a neural mini-puke.) Part of the problem is our perceptual comfort zone. We know that our car fits in the garage because we always park in it; no conscious thought is needed to complete the process other than stopping. Our perception doesn't always sync with reality and when reality changes, we're screwed until perception catches up. We have to work to update our perceived reality so it accurately reflects the reality in which we live. Business, life, whatever. Good luck getting forked and have a great trip :) m2

PJ Mullen
PJ Mullen

Ahh, the truth. We really can't handle the truth can we? My truth? I'm a much better father and husband than I ever was a corporate lackey, but there are days we'd i'd prefer an ice pick to the forehead than face rapid fire 20 questions from my two year old and deal with a teething infant. To compound that there is always the real estate shibacle we're in right now. Whose brilliant idea was it to buy all these properties, oh yeah - mine! The good news is I'm down to three homes and the one I bought for my mom is fine, the bad news is I'm underwater on our smurf house that has an occupant to bedroom ratio of 4:2 and the condo has been sans tenant for the past five months. Pride prevents me from entertaining the "F' word, even if strategic defaults have become all the rage these days. So, that leads me to take any and every consulting gig that comes my way to bring in the cash to avoid becoming the individual equivalent of Lehman Brothers. The truth hurts and is a real bitch.

LeVar Battle
LeVar Battle

I try to live a truthful life, mostly because I hate the burden of lies. That shit hurts my back. So here goes. My truth is my mom is plucking my nerves. I'm talking I almost made her walk home yesterday from the other side of Denver, and she's not from here. I know. I'm a bad son. But, honestly, I love her to death. Just wanna sop her up with a biscuit. And despite the headache, I'm going to cherish this time spent for years to come. By being a pill about her ways, I'm denying myself the beauty of the moment. Thanks for making me think about truth & denial, Red, and for the vent. ;)

Ashlersca
Ashlersca

Ouch! I've had friends drive their bikes into garage rooves before- why I've always stuck with a rear mount rack. That way I just ram bikes into things when in reverse ; ) Good luck with all of it...

Matt
Matt

I guess none of us are immune from repeated episodes of boneheadedness and downright dumb-ass maneuvers. It's what makes our flashes of brilliance feel so......brilliant. My resolution, no bikes into garages in 2011!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Not only did I "like" this, it's ossum.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Gee...now my cup runneth over with anticipation for the next bonehead maneuver.

Kris M O'Connor
Kris M O'Connor

Hmmmm - Dexter references to the dark passenger? My truth? The stuff I bitch about I created. How's that one? Wishing you a lovely sojourn - and if you think about heading north from LA - I'm only a few short hours away in the middle of paradise ;-)

The Redhead
The Redhead

I admire you for putting a roof rack on that toaster ;-) Stay out of garages!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Huh. Well, I suppose everyone has their own Darwinism protocol.

The Redhead
The Redhead

And thank you, Leon, for another read that I'm sure will be brilliant. Happy Christmas to you from this side of the pond!

The Redhead
The Redhead

And having known you for (gasp) 4 years, THIS is progress, miss Jodi Badodi! Love you back and see you at (finally) SXSW.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Now THIS is an awesome idea. HIGH FIVE.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Same trick fork I had before: and EDGE/ENVE Composites Carbon Track Fork. #w00t

The Redhead
The Redhead

All I know is that bikes on roof racks don't clear garage doors. Aside from that, I'm a fucking idiot.

The Redhead
The Redhead

And you can bet your ass that once I know my return itinerary for the LA leg of my trip that a dash through KC will be on the skeddy. The drugs in the collective animals' systems will be fresher and thus, they will not spaz as I step out of the car. Love you beyond oodles and sorry for the hasty reply above.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Glad to inspire...and thank you for dropping by long enough to be inspired.

The Redhead
The Redhead

HAH! Getting forked, indeed :) Thank you, Michael. Happy holidays to you as well...

The Redhead
The Redhead

Well, hello Colonel Jessup! And at least you know your truth. Better than living in the Land of Delusions, ain't it? I also think pie tastes better in reality. But that's just me.

The Redhead
The Redhead

"Sop her up with a biscuit." Son, you from the south or sumfin'? :) My pleasure, LeVar...rant here anytime.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thank you, says the redhead sitting at Mini of Loveland.

Fastskiguy
Fastskiguy

Enve....sweet, sweet carbon goodness from Ogden, UT! They say money can't buy happiness but.....

Danny
Danny

What are you riding?

PJ Mullen
PJ Mullen

My biggest issue was getting there. Then again all it took was total professional failure and a need to completely re-evaluate my life. But I agree it is at least good to know the truth so I can deal with the fallout. BTW, got my TY letter from the Morgan Adams Foundation and was wondering if you wanted to nominate them for my client's contest. If not, no worries, just with the holidays I'll be taking a few days off and will push any other nominations I receive after this weekend into next months contest. We're always looking for good causes to support if you're game.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Yes, it's a sweet fork...Maybe one day I'll be blessed with a pair of deep-rimmed track race wheels by ENVE built up on some sick hubs!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Glad you keep coming back, Danny, and thanks for sticking your head in :)

Danny
Danny

Nice! I'm riding a Santa Cruz LT2, industry 9 hubs, xtr build kit for the rest, and a Morewood Shova with a XO. Never rode road bikes much, I love the feeling of hitting the off road trails and getting a lil muddy. :) Keep up your writing, I don't comment much but I enjoy every one of your posts. Merry Christmas.

The Redhead
The Redhead

My track bike is a Tiemeyer with an EDGE/ENVE Composites fork. My road bike is a full carbon frame from China pimped out with some Campy Centaur/Record hodgepodge - a new road bike is on the slate for mid-2011. I'm a 4-bike family if you count the commuter and cruiser as well! You?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RedheadWriting, Danielle DeWitt. Danielle DeWitt said: @RedHeadWriting THANK YOU for making me laugh today! –> The Bitch Slap: On Truth http://t.co/Vt5zJIl via @RedheadWriting […]

  2. […] I wrote about blue balls and lighting fires. The next day, I gave you a holiday-flavored Bitch Slap about truth as I prepared to set out on a mobile phase of my life. And on December 22, 2011, I find myself at a […]