Sunday, July 26, 2015


Heretofore, I have refrained from mentioning that I own a motorcycle.

In fact, I've often thought that I should be including the many lessons learned participating in the martial art, religious system and personal choice that is motorcycle ownership.

Some people have children, some people have pets. Others kick their children out and send the pets with them so they can have a motorcycle.

Motorcycles win. Period.

I've had the 1996 GS500E that I call Pokey for nearly 3 years now. He was purchased with a friend without whom, I probably wouldn't have gotten him.

I often personify him.

He teaches me new things, reminds me of things I already knew shows me things I should know better than. When I do right, he does right. When I do wrong, he lets me know it. He is usually forgiving.

(thought not always)

Motorcycling, perhaps even more so than bicycling, requires vigilance. You don't just ride defensively, you ride in aggressive defensiveness. On my best days, I am relaxed but acutely focused and, most importantly, actively communicating with other drivers. I do the same thing on the bicycle on my good days. It helps keep one safe and engenders a better relationship with cagers. It gets a bit like directing traffic...or conducting.

Due to some maintenance......and by maintenance I mean messing up some maintenance, Pokey had been down from November to June. It took me some time to get him all the way back up and running, so I've only really been back to riding for a few weeks to a month. As of last November, I'd really begun to get comfortable riding - even using the bike to do some courier work.

(want to really learn how to ride a motorcycle? fight NYC cabs with it.)

As comfortable as I'd gotten with it, I was surprised how rusty I've felt after the 8 month layoff. It's coming back. But it's not there yet.

On the bike, one of the thing big worries (annoyances, fears) is people not respecting your space/right to the lane.

When I'm comfortable, I anticipate people encroaching and will politely let them know to give space or direct them to take a spot that I'm comfortable with.

I'm not comfortable.

Therefore, I've been being angry and indignant instead of prescient and proactive.

Today, after going on a mind-clearing ride (during which I allowed myself to get caught up in a bit of a pissing contest with a driver), I was two turns away from home.

The first was a left from a stop sign and the second was a right turn at a traffic light.

I signalled  and made the left turn, pulling up to wait to make the right turn. While coming to a stop, I noticed the driver across the intersection from me didn't have her lights on. This is a strangely common occurrence in this area and I have an entire hypothesis about how the trend of designing instrument lights to always be illuminated leads to headlights not being turned when it's a dark...


uh. anyway...

I'm trying to get her attention. She isn't understanding my signal, so I'm trying to think I of how I can get her to understand her lights are off. Just then, a car pulls up next to me with it's turn signal on. This would have been somewhat acceptable had I not had my signal on to turn as well. When the light changed, he proceeded forward to turn. I looked over and indignantly honked and pulled around him to make my right turn. I got around him, then pulled into my parking lot.

As I pulled up to the garage, incredulous at the audacity of the driver, I realized why the driver made that decision: I had my LEFT turn signal on at the intersection.

Motorcycles, typically, don't have self-cancelling signals.

So, the left signal was still on from the turn at the stop sign.

And instantly felt like shite.

And still kind of feel like shite.

See, the thing is...that wasn't even the first time today I mis-indicated...

Or made several other mistakes.

Mistakes are something that comes with the bike. You can tell when you're having a bad day...if you accept it, you can overcome it. However, there are days where you know you need to just go home and come back out another day.

But this feels different, persistent.

Meaning: I am persistently uncomfortable, tense...focused too much on what is wrong with people instead of concentrating on the ride.

I was bad today, so I've decided to put myself on punishment.

No motorcycle for three days so I can think I about my behavior.

(insert final, self-reflective observation)

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