Goodness gracious y’all. It is an indecently beautiful day out. I’m babysitting for my neighbour’s pup and I took him on a thirty minute promenade through the neighbourhood and it’s glorious. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the college kids are hungover out on their lawns.
A friend of mine from school (Bruce Willis) called me up today to ask if I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride. I obviously said yes.
This was not my first time to the rodeo, folks. I have a little seedling of a desire to own a motorcycle growing inside me that was planted a very long time ago. My grandfather used to tool around the Canadian countryside in khakis and brightly colored sweaters on his Harley, but I think the fascination with unconventional motor transport runs even deeper, to the first time I rode a snow mobile as a girl. I was about ten and I’d been in a terrible chairlift accident – another story for another time – and got to ride with a ski patroller on the front of it. I still distinctly remember that moment. Ever since then, snow mobiles, motorcycles, jet skis, ATV’s, golf carts, you name it, I want it.
Yet I digress.
Bruce Willis and I didn’t get up to anything particularly noteworthy. He just looped around the outskirts of town on a few long, windy roads. Yet every time I get on the back of that bike, it’s the nuances that grab my attention. It’s not just the ripping wind and the very real fear of falling. It’s the fact that you can feel how the tiny shifts in your weight and your balance can affect the ride. How you have to work together with the driver just to stay on safely and ensure that he can drive without distraction. You see girls in films all the time wrapping both of their arms around the poor action hero stud driving – that’s nonsense. You’ve got to grip just the sides of the driver’s torso with your fingertips and maybe squeeze his hip with your knees just a bit. That’s it. That’s all you get between you and the cement. Maybe a little scoop of your tailbone to keep you from sliding forward when the gears shift, because it’s your job to keep your weight as much in the center of the back wheel as you can.
Essentially, riding a motorcycle makes you part of a sentient machine. You become part of the motor and the wheels and the turning, and you are stripped of any unnecessary filter that prevents you from being involved in the ride. There’s no music, no walls, nothing to keep bugs from hitting you in the face if your visor is up. Cars become very, very big and scary. You will never be more aware of how fast the car in front of you brakes in your entire life. You will watch and appreciate how fast the trees rip past and just how big and blue the sky is.
Anyways. That’s my rant for the day. If you ever get a chance to get on a motorcycle, do it. It will change you for the better.