Friday, November 20, 2015

Just a Big Biker Baby

Thought for the day:  You haven't lived until you rode a Harley down the interstate with a big grin on your face and had a bug fly in your mouth.  [anonymous]

[morguefile]
Yeah, I suppose I could do that. You know, fly down the road on a motorcycle with a big grin on my face.

As long as the bike had training wheels.

And I had the road entirely to myself.

Maybe.

The reality is, if I'm flying down the road on a Harley, the only reason a bug can fly into my mouth is because my mouth is stretched wide open in a terrified scream.

Yeah, some biker babe I am. More like a big biker baby. See,  I'm not a biker chick; I'm a biker chicken.

It hasn't always been this way, but see, I don't have a very good track record with motorcycles. The first time I ever got on one was as a teenager, when I wasn't afraid of anything. Of course, my parents had forbidden me to get on a motorcycle, but what can I say? The boy was really cute in a rebel without a cause kinda way, so when he asked if I wanted to hop on and take a spin around the neighborhood... I hopped on.

[morguefile]
And, um, the foot pegs weren't down. I'd never been that close to a motorcycle in my entire life, and I didn't know any better, so we rode around the neighborhood, with my legs dangling as if I were sitting on the back of a bicycle. Sure, it felt a little awkward, but mostly I felt... cool.

Until I tried to slide off the bike, that is. See those things in the picture? They're exhaust pipes. In case you don't know it, exhaust pipes get HOT. Very very hot. When I got off, a good-sized patch of skin from the inside of my right leg stayed behind on that pipe. It, um, hurt. Really really hurt. I howled loudly enough to make half the windows in our neighborhood rattle... on the inside. On the outside, I didn't make a peep. Just smiled at the boy and thanked him for the ride. (Do you have any idea how difficult it is to walk away with the proper amount of hip sway when your bloody leg is on fire...?) And for good measure, I had to wear long pants most of the summer to hide the oozing burn from my parents. Oh, no, ma'am, I don't need to wear shorts, Mom. (pant- pant) I'm not too hot at all...


Even with that rather inauspicious start, I still had a thing for bikes, or more precisely... for the guys who rode them. There's just something about the look. The attitude. The hair. Even the dangling cigarette and greasy fingernails were mega-attractive to this wannabe biker babe.

Now then, let me tell you about Smarticus. He rode a bike, and had all of those deliciously attractive bad boy attributes... but to make things even better, he was actually a... good guy. A very good guy. And to top things off, he was smart and funny.

God help me, I didn't stand a chance.

[credit: Basem Wasef]


The first time Smarticus took me out on his bike, it ran out of gas.

I kid you not.

Then, it started to rain.

Nope. Still not kidding.

To this day, he doesn't understand how that could have happened, because he said he'd filled the tanks before picking me up.

Still, it honest-to-goodness did happen. And I thought it was funny as hell. (Luckily, it wasn't too far of a trek to a gas station.)

[morguefile]
When our younger son was in his early teens, he had a small 50 cc motorcycle... a starter bike, you might say. Smarticus thought I should get on and give it a try. After perfunctory directions, I did. In retrospect, I guess I didn't follow those perfunctory directions very well.

I may not have flown through the air like the dude in the picture, but I DID forget how to stop the darned thing. (Never a good idea.) I plowed through the bushes and came to a halt by running into the side of my suburban tank 1967 Mercury Commuter station wagon. (Whatever works, right?) That was the one and only time I tried to ride on my own.

[morguefile]
Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.  [Hunter S. Thompson]

Yeah, well, no offense to the late Mr. Thompson, but I never got to that point. The very last time my tush straddled the back of a Harley was about  thirty-five years ago. Let's just say Smarticus embraced the thrill of speed far more than I did, and I decided it wouldn't be a good idea for us both to die on a motorcycle when we still had kids to raise.


[morguefile]

A few years after that, I got the phone call no one ever wants to get. One of Smarticus' biker pals called to tell me there had been an accident, and they're loading him in the ambulance now. 

No speed involved. A guy driving a truck claimed he didn't see the bike. 

At that point, my on-again-off-again love affair with motorcycles was officially over. NO MORE, I said.

[morguefile]

It'd be different if it we lived somewhere where there's lots of open road...

THAT would be fun, exhilarating even. THAT would feel like freedom. THAT would be like the way it was when we rode a bike all over Oahu when we met in Hawaii for R&R back in 1970.





[morguefile]


But the reality is, we live near Atlanta, traffic capital of the world. (If it isn't, it should be.)

I'm talking wall-to-wall traffic, lots of in-a-hurry truckers, and way too many people who don't see a motorcycle. 

Still, all these years, I've been aware of my husband's lustful wandering eye. I've seen how his eyes light up whenever he spots a hot-looking... Harley. (sigh)


Then, about a month or so ago, my brother emailed me to see how I'd feel if he were to give his Harley to Smarticus. (I mean, how utterly cool is it that he ran it past me first?)

Anyhow, here's the question. Given our history, what would YOU have said? What would YOU have done? I mean, if I kept my trap shut about it, Smarticus would never have been the wiser...


Okay, so I'm a sap. I told him about it right away, and I'm telling you, his eyes lit up like a kid's at Christmas. Bottom line? He's not a child, and I'm not his mother, so I decided it wouldn't be fair to keep denying him something I knew he wanted so much. I love him; he loves motorcycles. End of story. So I caved. My brother came to visit us this past week, and he brought the bike with him. And we all (ta- DA!) lived happily ever after.

Especially Smarticus. Think he's happy to have another Harley back in the fold again...?


                                                      Um, yeah, I'd call that happy...


Initially, I figured I wasn't gonna be getting on the back of that thing, no way, now how. But I dunno. Maybe it's never too late to become a real biker babe. My decades-old faded black Harley tank top still fits, so who knows...? (And I do look a little better than this gal...)


Maybe it's time to let go of the fear, and embrace the fun, the adventure... and Smarticus. (Believe you me, this big ol' baby would be holding on tightly!) Maybe. Just maybe.

                                   Until next time, take care of yourself. And each other.


                                                                                   

71 comments:

  1. I can feel your fear. Isn't it just enough that Smarticus has his dream come true? He is thrilled to be on the Harley, and you are happy that he is happy. I am sure he understands your anxiety. However, it just might really be fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm happy that he's happy. He's planning to make a "project" out of it, so I said, "So you're going to be working on it, right?" When he said he was, I said, "Good! You can work on it for a LONG LONG time, and take it out on the street right after I die..."

      Yeah, it might be fun. We'll see...

      Delete
  2. He is grinning from ear to ear. What the heck - good luck and be careful. Ray had a bike (Kawasaki) for a while but even he conceded that Dallas traffic was too insane for regular riding. I only went around the block with him - rather scary for me. Boys and toys - that's life. Have a great weekend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt about it; he's thrilled to have a Harley again. I shoulda known you'd be a little skittish about riding on a bike, too. :)

      You have a super weekend, too.

      Delete
  3. I hate those bikes. My boys both owned one, but they never told me until well after they got over the bug. Actually one may still have one, but he ain't saying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm reeeeeeally glad none of our kids have motorcycles. At least Smarticus has a lot of years' worth of experience. And common sense. Beyond that, I'll just have to keep the faith.

      Delete
  4. I would NOT have told him...living with the guilt would be far easier than living with the fear of living without him. You are very brave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not so much brave... I just felt like I've "denied" him that pleasure long enough. Probably too long.

      Delete
  5. I'm afraid of those bikes as well, but I think you did the right thing. If he loves them, he should have one. My friend has a Harley and I actually went for a ride. It was fun - for about 20 minutes, then the fear set in. Prayers work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I think I did the right thing, too. It doesn't make any sense for MY fear to interfere with HIS joy. And yes, I'll be counting on the powers of prayer. :)

      Delete
  6. Hey, he could get one of those little side carts for you hahaha that is a bit less dangerous. If he enjoys it, let him have fun, doesn't mean you have to jump on the back though. Unless you want to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! I think I'll pass on the sidecar. Ever see that Cheech & Chong movie where Cheech is in the sidecar of a bike, and the driver jumps off, leaving him careening all over the road? That's what I'd be thinking about while in a sidecar...

      Delete
  7. I like bicycles. Motorcycles I'm not too fond of. Smarticus does look very happy though. Good luck to both of you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you. I always liked bicycles, but the ones with foot brakes. No fancy gears and hand brakes for me...

      Thanks! Have a super weekend.

      Delete
  8. Hi Susan - oh that's great ... I'm so glad you caved in! Then it will be fun giving it a go after all these years ... I guess you could tow it some place - stay a few nights ... and enjoy that open road? But the sidecar sounds fun ... and I guess Smarticus would drive more sedately now?! P'rhaps??!!

    Have fun - happy dreams over Christmas til the Spring comes along .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it COULD be fun. MIGHT be. Not on our local high-speed, high-traffic roadways, though. I could handle the towing in somewhere more rural, though. Good idea!

      Smarticus more sedate? Um... not so much. :)

      Delete
  9. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but....I was terrified that time I rode a moped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What can I say? It takes a real man to admit that. :)

      Delete
  10. I would love a Harley. But I would park it in my home as an beautiful work of art. Or get one that had a side cart for The Square Ones.
    You had me laughing at your post today.
    A doctor friend of mine always called bikers, doners.
    I am so happy Smarticus is alive, very happy and doing just fine.

    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, some Harleys truly are works of art. And (shhhh) I must confess to loving their deep throaty sound, too.

      I'm glad this post made you laugh. Yeah, that "donor" part is what makes me a little nervous...

      Cheers back atcha. Happy weekend!

      Delete
  11. I love riding the back of a motorbike - the very best way to see cities like Kathmandu!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's because YOU are a mega-cool adventuress, my dear. :-)

      Delete
  12. Must be some experience indeed. Bikes are great for seeing the city, and finding new places. Greetings to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bikes are great for maneuverability but I'd rather do that maneuvering far away from the big cities. Too many cars and trucks on the roads around here.

      Greetings back at ya!

      Delete
  13. Never a great fan of bikes, though I've ridden pillion a few times and one crazy night rode my friend's scooter home from work when she had a late date.No problem...until I realised that I'd have to ride past a cinema where the biker boys congregated and where traffic police lay in wait.Oops! Did some quick thinking, made a sharp right and rode home via the "Western Springs Bullock Track" Would I do that now? Hell!NO. you can google it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woo HOO! New word alert! I never heard of the term "pillion" before, so even though I kinda deduced what it meant, I looked it up. Very cool! Thanks for expanding my vocabulary.

      Western Springs Bullock Track, eh? I'll look it up right now...

      Delete
    2. Got yourself quite a work-out, didn't you?

      Delete
  14. I have spent a lot of time on bikes. Mostly pillion, sometimes as the rider. Scary and exciting.
    Many years ago himself was knocked off his bike. He picked himself off the road and went to assure the woman who hit him that he was (more or less) alright. She was in a phone booth (remember them) talking to her husband...
    'I've hit ANOTHER motorcyclist darling. What should I do?'
    And, like you I have clapped my leg onto the exhaust. A bee stung me, and I flinched. Much pain.
    Congratulations to Smarticus - and applause for your courage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How cool is that?! I had no idea you were a biker babe! :)

      That woman saying she's hit ANOTHER biker is exactly the kind of driver that gives me goosebumps. Oh, and yes, I remember phone booths. And the way some of them smelled...

      Thanks for calling it courage. Some of my friends have been calling me an idiot. Still, it simply wouldn't be fair for my fear to mess up his fun. And who knows? I may still end up deciding it's "fun", too. (It could happen...)

      Delete
  15. Go for it! :-) Mind you, I'd be terrified myself. The only time I've got on the bike was when one of my colleagues gave me a lift to a shopping centre down the North Circular Road. And it wasn't even a Harley! :-) I wasn't wearing any helmet and felt rather... exposed. And chickened out. So, I, too, am a bike chicken.

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! "Exposed" is the perfect word to describe how it feels to be on a bike, surrounded by zooming traffic on every side. Good to know I'm not the only bike chicken around. :)

      Greetings back atcha.

      Delete
  16. A fascinating post which sparked so many memories. Most of the bikers I knew were good guys. When I was in high school one of my best friends was a black guy named Kenny. He had a motorcycle and he used to take me on joy rides all around town.
    Could you imagine me - a skinny bespectacled high school nerd - cruising around a tiny rural California town on a motorcycle with a black guy?

    Also, in my California youth, my dentist had a motorcycle. He got into an accident and lost a leg. AND I had a friend who got killed in a biker accident.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of the bikers we know are good guys. Some of them may look a little intimidating, but they're fun-loving teddy bears at heart.

      Dude. You could have left out that last paragraph, and simply left me smiling at the image of you zipping around on the back of a bike in California.

      Delete
  17. My 1st motorcycle was a Honda 50 --roughly the same displacement as a weedeater-- in 1965, 6 gears and topped at 50 mph. Have no idea how they engineered that miracle. And, since I met the nicest people --according to their ads-- on a Honda, I stayed with the brand. My last one, a 360, is parked in the barn since 1980. My reaction speed and it don't match anymore. But, oh my, it was a great work vehicle as long as the weather held out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those little bikes can be more dangerous than the big ones, especially when burly men imbibe a few beers before trying to do wheelies on them.

      Reaction speed. Oh crap, now I have something else to worry about...

      Delete
  18. My first love had a bike, and I loved him and the bike. I was even learning to handle it all by myself, then the world changed. Well, mine did. Still I do love a man on a motorcycle. But I married a man who can't even ride a human powered bike, that one I don't understand. LOL
    I'd have done exactly what you did. The time in now!
    That last photo - OMgosh. :)
    Oh, and just for you, my latest Flash! Rendezvous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool. I'm glad to hear you would have done the same thing, but then again, you LOVE bikes... :)

      Just for me, huh? Oh boy... must have a happy ending! :)

      Delete
  19. Yeah...I would have told him, too. And I'd worry, too. Luckily Smarticus is a sensible guy. It wouldn't be for me, but I can see you and Smarticus taking some nice rides in the Georgia hills on that Harley!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not surprised you would have told. After all, great minds think alike. You're right about Smarticus being sensible and responsible and all that, and I have no qualms about his skills on a bike. It's the other people who aren't very good about "sharing" the road who worry me.

      Yeah, the GA mountains would be nice...

      Delete
  20. That first bike ride....ouch, that sounds really painful.
    I wonder why there is always such an attraction to motor bikes..... especially
    with the guys. Smarticul is beaming . What more? He must beam over his old cars, too.
    I think everyone in our family has owned a bike at some time (except me). Three of them still ride. My oldest son said he got scared and when a biker gets scared, it's time to stop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the reason people are attracted to motorcycles has to do with the exhilarating sense of freedom they get while riding them. Kinda like the feeling we got as kids when coasting downhill on our bicycles, only better. We clothes-pinned baseball cards in the spokes of our bicycles to make a nifty noise, but motorcycles? They roar with the deep throaty sound of their engines, and the sound vibrates through you as you ride down the road, almost making you one with the bike. Especially with a Harley, because you don't sit ON it as much as you sit down IN it, if you know what I mean.

      (ahem) Thant's what I think, anyway. Not that I'm enamored of motorcycles. Uh-uh. Nope, nope, nope. Don't wanta be...

      Yes, Smarticus beams over his old cars, too. And his old radios. Over a lot of things. What can I say? He's a beaming kinda guy.

      Delete
  21. Boy I wish someone would give me a Harley! Of course then I'd have to get my licence again, but for a Harley I'd do it.
    I really miss my bike, it was just a little 50cc Suzuki, like you said a starter bike, I got it when I was 16 and weighed about 5 pounds, so a heavier bike would have been too much for me. I sold it when I was pregnant with #1, at my husband's urging. I could see the sense in what he was saying, but it turned out he really needed (wanted?) the money I got for it and was pissed off when I didn't get enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, you've presented a whole new side to yourself. Cool! I like the idea of you tooling around on a bike. (Sounds like ya shoulda kept the bike, and gotten ridden of the guy...)

      Delete
  22. I could never get the hang of gear changing on a bike. I should have persevered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That makes me feel better. Good to know I'm not the only one who didn't feel comfortable with the gear-changing. (Or the brakes...)

      Delete
  23. That leg burn sounds so painful. I winced reading about it. I've never ridden a motorcycle (by myself or on the back), but I've been curious about doing so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was painful, and I still have to scar to show for it. But... it was caused by my own stupidity. (And disobedience.)

      Who knows? You might love riding on a motorcycle... lots of people do!

      Delete
  24. I cringed at the leg burn, especially trying to disguise it. What a badass you are. We don't do motorcycles. We had a mutual friend who got one some years back, and one night he was riding home and hit a curve that had a bunch of gravel on it. He wasn't speeding, wasn't being reckless, but because it was gravel it still caused him to wipe out. And even though he was wearing a helmet and full leather the spill still did enough to screw up one of his legs to the point that they weren't sure if he'd be able to walk again. After years of therapy he finally was able to, but his leg still pains him if he stands on it too long.

    Yeah. We don't do motorcycles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I haven't done motorcycles for a lot of years, either, but I have a sneaky feeling I'm gonna be "doing" 'em now! And I'm "almost" getting used to the idea...

      Delete
  25. Susan; if you're going to be 'doing' motorbikes, just remember when you go around a corner, lean WITH the bike not against it. That's if you're riding as a passenger (pillion) especially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, ma'am. I know that... now. Believe me, it wasn't something that came naturally to me, though. I was forever leaning against the bike on corners in the beginning, thinking I was being "helpful." In truth, it's a wonder I didn't cause us to wreck.

      Delete
  26. My husband has a Harley and I occasionally ride with him. Sometimes it's kind of scary though, because of all the crazy drivers on the road. My cousin was just in a serious motorcycle accident. He's lucky he's alive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, there is a lot of crazy traffic on the main roads around here. It might be fun to go off the beaten track where traffic is scarce, though. (I'm sure we can find that around here SOMEWHERE...!)

      Sorry about your cousin's accident, but I'm glad he wasn't hurt worse than he was. Scary stuff.

      Delete
  27. Not only is there traffic in Atlanta, most folks don’t realize how much it rains there. I’m not a fan of anything that goes fast bikes, cars, planes. I’m an overly cautious person to the point of panic attacks. No motorcycles for me—ever. Been there done that, not going back. I prefer to walk.

    VR Barkowski

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I actually LOVE the feeling of speed... of rapid acceleration, especially, like when an airplane is taking off. (It's the possibility of a violent splatting stop that concerns me a teensy bit...)

      Walking works, too. :)

      Delete
  28. Love the motorcycles. I can't ride them anymore, have become a big clucker myselfm and my brother just bought a brand new Indian. I kept my mouth shut. There is so little fun anymore, let them do what makes them grin ear to ear. And your brother is a prince. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, gotta let 'em grab the happy wherever they can find it. Even if it means gritting our teeth. :)

      Yeah, he is...

      Delete
  29. As long as you wear a helmet, and bubble wrap you'll be fine. I hope you both are very careful, and don't drive more than 15 mph in broad daylight.

    Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, Mr and Mrs Knieval!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! Yes, mom...

      We had a fantabulous Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too.

      Delete
  30. Oh my gosh Susan, I am so anti motor bikes... I used to drive on the back of one with my dad when I was younger then as I got older I started having a healthy fear of it... lol...

    My both sisters were biker girls, the girly types, I never got the bug for it... then again I never even learned how to drive a car... have a great week xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smarticus used to take our older son to soccer practice on the back of his Harley. I THINK our son enjoyed it...

      Wow, I'm surprised to hear you don't have a driver's license. Not that I'm that big a fan of driving, but where we live, it's pretty much a necessity.

      Delete
  31. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! :-)

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. :)

      Greetings back atcha.

      Delete
  32. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
  33. haha...never too old to become a biker chick! So true! I would love to be one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, there's absolutely no reason I can't be a biker chick while wearing support hose and a housecoat, right...? HA! Just kidding!

      Go for it!

      Delete
  34. Just a personal observation but it almost appears like Smarticus is "fondling" that hog.
    Maybe you would be more comfortable riding rural roads in a long skinny state.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And a very astute observation, at that. But in his defense, he'd been deprived of Harley companionship for a veryrrr long time.

      Hmmm, and I wonder what state that might be...

      Delete