Finding Our Danger

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At some point it happens to all of us, I suppose. We hit a certain point in our lives where we feel a need to scramble a bit to find that “something” we missed out on. Excitement and danger used to be our middle names for crying out loud. Our youth is screaming at us to not let go, but we feel its hand slipping from ours as we hit middle-age. For some it might be traveling to far away places making up for all the years of the same old routines, while others might feel the need to alter their looks by bringing back the physique of our youth, either surgically or naturally – depending on your pocketbook or desire to exercise. You pick.

Working in the motorcycle business as I do, I see the chase for a cure to solving the mid-life crisis come in the form of buying a motorcycle. The sense of urgency to grab hold of something that will not only make us feel younger, but also (hopefully) make us look younger to those who might happen to notice. These are the guys and gals my age who have missed out on the danger and the sense of lawlessness that only motorcycles can bring. They see bikers portrayed in a way that says “that’s what I’m missing in my life.” Badass? Yes, please. Lucky for me, I averted my mid-life crisis when I was twelve years old. That’s when I started riding and let’s face it – I’ve been a rebel ever since.

Lucky for me, I averted my mid-life crisis when I was twelve years old. That’s when I started riding and let’s face it – I’ve been a rebel ever since.

There must be something in the smell of leather and exhaust that feeds the cure. It creates a different heart beat in our chest and allows the years to fall off our faces. We know when the engine fires up and the wind hits our face, there isn’t a beauty-aid or an over-the-counter drug that can be any better. The “Fountain of Youth” is a gas pump and we bikers discovered it. But living on the edge and finding that youth has a price and right now it’s about $3.15 a gallon.

We all have our ways of dealing with getting older, and I am a believer you’re only as old as you feel and your physical age has nothing to do with it. I have always felt like I’m in my twenties – even to this day. I will admit my face looks almost wrinkle free (when I’m riding down the highway) and though the gray in my hair has taken over it hasn’t affected my attitude. But I still think the mailman put my dad’s AARP mail in my box by mistake.

So what ever your Fountain of Youth is, drink it up (unless it happens to be premium gas) and ride off into the sunset. Find your youth and appreciate the wisdom you’ve gained along the way – just be careful, you’re not as young as you used to be.

Hello, My Name is Jeff

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The world really is a small place. Sure, if you pull back from the surface and look at a map, or take the globe off the shelf and give it a spin, it can look like a pretty large and daunting object. But seriously, how many times have you been miles away from home only to run into somebody you know? As random as it seems there is probably a logical explanation for that. For instance, like-minded people hang out or go to the same places, so it shouldn’t be out of the question that within the realm of travel that someone you know would also be there. Traveling on a motorcycle actually puts you in this position. As riders, we seek out the most scenic routes and the likelihood of running into familiar faces is probably high. Even if we are trying to find the solitude that riding a motorcycle brings, it is inevitable that the moment we look up from the gas-pump we will be faced with our neighbor down the street.

We’ve all been there – pumping gas, oblivious to the world around us, when someone calls out our name. We act like we don’t hear it the first time so of course we seem rude, but the second time we hear our name, we look up and then scramble to put a name to a face. We stammer through the conversation saying everything but the wrong name in hopes that it doesn’t seem obvious that their name has escaped us. “Hey guy, it’s been a long time!” He sure remembers me, but for whatever reason I can’t come up with his name and if I try I’m sure I will be wrong. And just as if it couldn’t get more awkward, his wife walks up and calls me by name as well. What did I do to have such an impact on someone’s life that they remember me? And now I have the opportunity to forget two names as they stand there before me. I can’t get my helmet on fast enough.

 This just became that weird feeling when you get on an elevator and say something to the only other person in the elevator and they don’t say anything back. You know they heard you, but…silence. Oh, and there is a gas-pump in the elevator with us.

The standard biker conversation ensues; how’s the ride going, where have you been and where are you heading sort of questions. But the one that caught me off guard was “when did you get a Harley-Davidson?” I’m confused. Most of the people I know are familiar with what I ride so this seemed like an odd question. They were riding a Goldwing so I felt it appropriate to answer their question with a question. “How long have you been riding a Honda?” Now they’re confused. This just became that weird feeling when you get on an elevator and say something to the only other person in the elevator and they don’t say anything back. You know they heard you, but…silence. Oh, and there is a gas-pump in the elevator with us.

Well it seems that at this very moment there is someone out there riding a Honda Goldwing that looks just like me and his name is Jeff. They realized their mistake and I’m off the hook trying to remember their names. I do have three new friends out of this, only one of which I haven’t met yet. It’s a small world and I wonder if I will ever run into this guy. And what will he say when I pull my helmet off and he sees himself on a Harley-Davidson? At least I’ll get his name right.