Wednesday, February 8, 2012
WACKY WEDNESDAY . . . Easy Rider - or writer?
Anyone who knows me, knows I love motorcycles. My preferred brand is Harley Davidson. Between hubby and I, we've owned seventeen. Current sweet ride is a burgundy flake (sparkling beauty) Road King with a big old fat seat for my ... well, to cushion the ride. I've been to Sturgis, the biggest people show on earth and oh-so entertaining. The American flag can be worn so many different ways. This is also the place my virgin eyes saw, how shall I say it, body paint artistically applied to the most obvious places. One such endowed beauty had a gorgeous lion's head painted on her chest, with "eyes" that jiggled. Also, I cannot eat Bing cherries without recalling another vivid memory. Ah yes. Needless to say, I watched, but did not partake. My favorite trek is a toss up between Yellowstone Park and Durango, Colorado. My least favorite is the dry, windy ride to Laughlin, Nevada.
I was taught to ride a Honda 100 dirt bike by my high school boyfriend, whom I thought the sun bowed to when it set in the West. I wanted to be the coolest girlfriend ever, so when he asked me if I wanted to learn how to ride his, I jumped at the chance. I did okay. Biffed it a couple of times, but soon rode like a pro. Then we broke up and I lost my motorcycle.
When I got married, hubby thought it would be wonderful if we each had our own. He bought me a Honda 200 street/dirt bike. Things got complicated. I had to take and pass a motorcycle driving test. Aced the written exam, but the actual test would be taken solo, without my husband around. An officer mounted a large horse and stood guard as I did my Figure 8's, stopped and started my cycle without issue, did some balancing thing for 30 seconds (which I think was more for his entertainment as I have never needed that technique), then proceeded to the "brake test." Again, I'm thinking he was bored. He pointed down a long strip in the parking lot between parked cars. Straight, narrow, and running the risk of someone backing out into me. I was to reach a certain speed, then slam on the brakes and not skid to a stop.
I scanned the parking lot, which was at the courthouse, looking for old people who wouldn't hear me, teenagers pissed off with traffic tickets who wouldn't see me, and the idiot running late for his court hearing who would pull into the parking lot as I peaked top speed. The officer waited. The horse took a dump.
I revved my engine, eased out the throttle and shifted effortlessly through each gear, mentally screaming a mantra of obscenities mixed with fervent prayer. I passed! I took a vow that I would never let my motorcycle endorsement expire whenever I renewed my license because I never, ever, wanted to take that test again. I will be a hundred years old with a motorcycle license.
Hubby beamed, proud of his tiny (no children had been born and I was barely 20) bad-ass wife in her color-coordinated purple motorcycle gear and helmet. The ride home was relaxing, all the tension gone. In fact, my legs felt rubbery. We arrived at our suburbia paradise where our newlywed love nest was located (sounds much more romantic than mobile home). Hubby was a couple of minutes ahead of me, because I had to wait for traffic before turning into the subdivision. He'd already dismounted, had his helmet off and was watering the flower pots out front.
I've just given you a "camera clue." Ever watch for those in movies? The most obvious is the car driving down the road with driver and passenger arguing, the camera giving you quick flashes of each one with a view out their side window. You're engaged in their conversation, paying no mind to the background, and then it happens. The crash! The sound of glass exploding, metal grating on metal, screams, and for the grand finale on your heart attack, blood spattering everywhere. An eerie quiet follows, usually a low cello strumming in the back ground, covered slightly by the hissing sound of steam rising. A moan. An appendage twitches, then in the distance, the wailing of sirens resonating louder as they approach.
Okay, so my next "scene" isn't as dramatic, but traumatizing nonetheless. I pull into the driveway, grinning proudly at my betrothed heartthrob, paying no attention to the little stream of water trickling down the driveway, or the hose stretched across my path. I roll the throttle slightly to give the motorcycle enough gas to ease up the short incline to the carport. Suddenly, the bike slips sideways when the front tire and the hose fight for control. Panicked, I think I'm grabbing the brake when in reality, I grab the throttle with all my strength -- launching me into a wheelie Travis Pastrada would be proud of. My body, now operating without a brain, falls forward, pushing the front tire back onto the wet pavement, propelling me like a small rocket into the carport, narrowly missing my new Camaro, through a decorative fence once protecting floundering tomato plants, over a throw-rug size patch of grass and into the back of our neighbor's mobile home.
The bike is wedged between the skirting and the metal frame, the throttle stuck on high, and the back tire spinning on their patio. Blue smoke curls, the stench of burning rubber overpowering the smell of burgers cooking on a nearby grill. I've miraculously catapulted off the machine and am jumping up and down, possessed by poltergeists and screaming for my husband. As he passes the mentally disturbed woman he's sworn his dying breath to, he spews words void of any of the pride he gushed earlier. He shut the bike off, carefully pulled it out of the skirting and limped it across the grass back to our place on its now bald tires. The adrenaline rush finally reached my brain and I passed out.
Yes, that's how I started my "biking career." My machine stuck in sheet metal and me sprawled on wet grass. But color-coordinated. I've had a couple of other "Keystone Cops" moments, and recently, I sold my white angel bike (pictured above), deciding I make a better passenger. I'm getting too old. If something breaks now, it has to be "replaced."
I still love riding. Now, however, I get to read my Kindle and let my husband worry about the driving. I doubt we'll ever give it up. We met a couple in Cooke City, Montana on a rally one year. They were in their mid seventies. They'd "triked" their Harley, modifying the back with two wheels instead of one. We decided that would be us, only I threatened to kill my husband if he wore a leather vest and no shirt like this dude had. Gray chest hair with saggy "man-boobs" has a high gag factor.
So how does this relate to my writing career? It doesn't, other than riding my Harley is probably my best muse. The adrenalin rush I get from a motorcycle, driver or passenger, is the same as when a new story sparks in my imagination and I can't get the words out fast enough. Sometimes I get "stuck in sheet metal" but not for long. I write a superhero, not unlike the one I've been with for thirty odd years, to rescue the heroine, me...the story. Usually one with attitude, or a mouth my grandmother would shove soap into, and in the end, most likely he gets caught in his cape and needs a kick-ass heroine with sharp scissors to save him and steal his heart.
So there you have it. Another embarrassing page from my wacky life. Thanks for stopping by.