Ten Years of Bonus Life

Episode 53 -- A Great Adventure Along the Cuyahoga

Hello. Welcome to “Living in a Body.” Today’s episode is a video blog of a March 1st scooter ride along the Cuyahoga River. Click PLAY above to watch the 12 minute video with original piano music or read the transcript below. Thank you so much for being here. Enjoy. ❤️ Hal

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Ten Years of Bonus Life

Hi. Today's episode is happening on my scooter. It's a beautiful day in Ohio. It's 60 degrees. And the day that you're receiving this is my Bonus Life Day. It's been 10 years of bonus life since I almost died in Kauai.  You can read that whole story here, (Ep. 9 - Bonus Life) but let's get the scooter started up and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.  (The ride begins)

We're cruising along on South Chestnut Street right now. I'm heading toward the Cuyahoga River where things will mellow out a little bit. But right now I just gotta get across this major highway. (Almost wipes out) Oh shit. Don't worry. I'm very safe. Please… I don't want a bunch of comments about how unsafe this is.  Anyway.

I’m waiting to cross highway 59. I better press the walk button.

All right, here we are at Fred Fuller Park. We can relax a little bit now heading down the hill. Wow, it's amazing today! 60 degrees with sunny blue skies. Me and Melba cruising down the road. Ooh, look at the sun behind me. Yeah!  Woo hoo!  (Hits a big bump) Ow!  Yeah, boy. I think we'll take my usual… No, we'll head out to the trestle.

So, tomorrow is my birthday. And I have a special request. I’d like everyone to leave a special birthday greeting on the Substack comments today. I know that sounds a little pathetic. (Greets passer-by) Hello. I know that sounds kind of needy. But I am needy. I am needy. I'm just needy of your love and your affection. (Greets passer by) Hi.  Boy, it’s a beautiful day in Ohio. Anyway, come back tomorrow and leave a comment on my Substack. It's birthday 57. Okay?

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There are so many people on the bike trail today. It's amazing. I keep having to say “hi” to so many people—so many dogs and bicyclists and pedestrians. It's really a beautiful day. It's amazing how much the weather has uplifted my spirits. All right, here's another dog coming up… They didn't want to say “Hi.” (Hits a bump) Huh!

So as I was saying, I'm 57 years old tomorrow. 57! How did that happened? I remember when I was 40. I really don't have a whole lot to say on this ride. I just want to be with you. I just want to laugh and be grateful for the weather. And I'm thinking about getting off my scooter and walking up this big hill to go onto the trestle.  What do you think? Is it crazy? Yeah, it's probably stupid. But I don't know… I might do it anyway. I’ll let you know.  Bye.

So, there's the railroad track and this is the hill that I have to go up. (View of a steep gravel hill) I’m going for it. Alright see you up there. (Starts climbing) We’re just gonna take it real slow… real nice and slow up this big hill… real easy. You know, the reason why this is stupid is because I'm living with chronic fatigue syndrome. Oh gosh, look. (View of steep hill)  Alright, I changed my mind. I'm not going. Dang. Chronic fatigue syndrome is like one disappointment after another.

(Pausing beneath the tracks) Chronic fatigue syndrome is like one disappointment after another. It's all these limitations and I am not one that does well with limitations. I'm generally one that pushes the limitations and likes to push the boundaries. So what a drag it is. And there's this thought in my mind that maybe I could just hop up that little hill. (Starts climbing again) Just real easy. Breathe. Take it easy. Take it easy. Nothing bad's happening yet. (Laughs out loud) You guys are gonna be pissed at me. Look, I already made it. I’m already up. And now I get a view. Now I get a cool view of the railroad tracks and the river. (Cool view of the river and the underside of the trestle) There we have it. Ohio!  All right, just a little further to go more to the top.

(Out of breath) Wow. Since this is Living in a Body, I will tell you that I just found some human feces up here. Somebody… somebody needed to go and couldn't hold it. And there are no toilets nearby. Okay, we're almost to the top.

There we are—the trestle. (View of the tracks crossing the river) Beautiful, what a beautiful day. Let's head across. Okay, this is as far as I'm going. (View of the Cuyahoga River) I’m out of breath. See, everybody with chronic fatigue syndrome will scold me for this because I can tell that I pushed it up that hill. It was the adrenaline… it was the excitement of making this movie that made me get up that hill. But anyway, you know, I gotta live my life. (Laughs out loud) But anyway, I'm here now, it's an easy walk down the hill. See, I'm not one who does well with limitations.  I tend to push the boundaries.

So I just want to take pause for a minute to thank everyone for a year of Substack. I've written 50 essays, and I'm compiling them into a book. That's my secret project. Guess what the books called? “Living in a Body.” I'm compiling these essays and editing them, color coding them according to how how much I like them. And it's a very challenging process. But hopefully, by the end of this year, there will be a book that you can have in your hands called “Living in a Body.” And it's very doable. It's very doable because the essays have already been written. The essays have already been written!

Okay. We have a beautiful trail system here in Northeast Ohio. (View of the trail from above) This is just one of the many bike trails. Here's a view of the wastewater treatment plant. (From above) The beautiful blue sky and the Cuyahoga River. Now let's walk back.

(View of walking across railroad ties with river below) I’ve been doing this for years, so you don't need to be worried. I used to come to the trestle when I was much younger and think about life. Yay. Yay!  Yay, life. Bonus life. 10 years of bonus life.  Thanks for celebrating that with me. Okay, now actually, it is challenging to go down this hill, check out the hill, I gotta go down. (View of steep gravel hill) It’s hard to see the perspective but this is basically down a sharp grain of gravel and then down the path over there. (Heading down the hill) Going down the hill real slow. Beautiful February. March 1st! It’s March 1st.

(Back to the scooter) That was a workout and I may be regretting it for days. That's the crazy thing. But we're back. We’re back on the bike. I can rest. I can relax. All right. Here I'll give you a nice view of the bike or the scooter. (View of the three wheel Excalibur scooter) There she is. Melba. Melba Toast. Yeah. Okay, we're off. (Continues ride)

(Riding with blue sky behind) I made some new friends recently. They're coming over tonight. Wednesday nights is a few friends that come over to my house. We share intimately with each other. It's all guys. I love it. It's the highlight of my week.

And I also made another friend, Pádraig. Pádraig Ó Tuama, the poet. Unfortunately, I don't remember how to pronounce his last name. But we became friends.

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(Pausing on the trail) Well everybody, I think I might call it quits for this video. I'm running out of steam. But it's March 1st today. You’re receiving this on March 4th. Ten years ago on March 4, I almost died in a wave in Kauai. But I didn't die. So it's been ten years of bonus life. And it's been very challenging the last couple of years, but thanks for being along on this ride with me. And tomorrow is my birthday. 57. (Greets passer-by)

Okay, I'm just going to turn off the camera now and enjoy the rest of the ride on my own. Have a great day, have a great Saturday. Enjoy living in that body of yours, because it's not going to be around forever. And thank you, thank you for being here. Bye bye.

My sister does this thing called “The Highlights.” Every birthday. You go back and you think of the highlights of your year. So, this list my sister always says is what what was the emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual and financial highlight of your year? I'm not gonna (laughs out loud) I’m not gonna tell you. I don't trust you guys yet. No, that's not true. I trust you. I'm just.. I’m gonna go take a rest. All right. Thank you for following along with me. Hopefully I'll write another essay one of these days soon, but look out for the book “Living in a Body” coming soon to a bookshop nearby. All right, bye.    ❤️ H

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Living in a Body
Living in a Body
Hal Walker