Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Grab life by the balls...

A friend of Fromage's is selling this 1992 BMW K75S
and came over to let us give it a test drive. Well, let me
test drive it, since Fromage doesn't know how to ride.

Fromage is taken by the idea of us getting a motocycle.

Now, some of you out there reading this blog know
that I was a pretty serious motorcyclist for about
ten years. I can honestly say that motorcycles
and motorcycling saved my life, my soul and my sanity
when I was 21-22 years old.....but that's a story for
another day.

I was making dinner, having a glass of wine and
the guy with the bike shows up. Fromage and he
talk shop and they do a tour of the house to show
our successful construction (bike seller is a
fellow housebuilder, too---natch, he's Alaskan).
I take off on a short ride on what is obviously a
too-big bike for my 5'6".

I only rode a couple of miles on the dirt and gravel
roads around our neighborhood.....but I could feel the
magic come back as soon as I kicked the shifter
down into first......

There is something so immediate and perfectly
visceral about motorcycling for me. It brings my
entire being into the present moment, the wind on
my face, the rev of the engine, the movement of the
bike on the road...

Needless to say, I was grinning like a jackass within
the first 20 feet of my little tour.

Still, the bike really was too big for me. Two miles or
so and I rode it back to the house, Fromage and friend
once again in the dooryard talking. Told the fellow, yes,
nice bike, BMW...of course it's nice....but too big,
thanks anyway, etc.

I went back inside and finished cooking dinner.
Fromage came in to the kitchen and we talked about
the bike. I tried to explain to him what motorcycles
did to me...that they were the one thing in my life
for a long time that meant living large, living in the real
moment, grabbing life by the balls!

There I stood by the stove, stirring the broccoli, for god's
sake, and I burst into tears! Fromage was a little
surprised, to say the least. I just started crying my
eyes out from the brief ride on that bike and then
trying to explain what it all does to me.


I then (tearfully) said to Fromage, "Why did you
do that to me?! Why did you have to have him bring
that bike over? Now I'm not going to be able to stop
thinking about BIKES!!"

He then told me I could get a bike if I really wanted.
What was stopping me?


I just don't know.....

Here I am, age 22 on the day I left for Seattle
on my 1984 Honda Ascot VT500. I rode the
1000 miles or so from Fairbanks to Haines, then
took the coastal ferry to Bellingham and rode on
south from there. I made the trip to go back to
school (I'd taken a year off) and to reunite with
friends and try out a romance with a special someone.

I had planned the trip all winter, gathering gear,
reading about motorcycle touring, saving money
and writing intense letters back and forth with
the aformentioned someone...

Not a huge tour by any means, but a really
important sort of spiritual journey for me.

Motorcycles....Yeesh. Like I don't already have enough
to think about with this show opening up in just over
a week.

I'm thinking about them, regardless. Them and
grabbing life by the balls. It seems I just don't
do anything as immediate and satisfying these
days. I write a lot of grant applications and plant
a lot of flowers! Orchids give me a thrill....but it's
certainly nothing like doing 80 mph on two
wheels over a long stretch of empty sunlit highway....

It's the's the adventure and challenge
and thrill and danger and control. There's just nothing
like it for me.....

...unless I were to do quite a lot more kayaking, that is.