The Journey

What I am – part II

In my last post I mentioned that I am naturally longwinded. As if proving my point, I started to tell the story of the beginnings of my motorcycle obsession but then had to cut myself off because I had reached the self-imposed 500-word limit for posts.
In that post I told of my doing poorly in high school and posted, too, a picture of a 1985 Honda VFR, with the caption “No Fat Chicks.” It’s a picture and caption that doesn’t make sense in that post because they don’t have the context of this story:
As summer grew closer in my senior year of high school, all my friends were full of thoughts and ambitions about what they would be doing after graduation – what amazing and far-away colleges they would be attending and all the incredible things they would be doing. Whereas my head was filled with the increasingly impossible-to-deny realisation that I was going nowhere. I wasn’t going to graduate and I felt awful.
It was sometime during all this that I found myself chatting to one of the guys I worked with at the local supermarket. He had a white Honda motorcycle that was very much his pride and joy. I’m afraid I don’t remember exactly what kind of Honda motorcycle it was. He told me, but it was just a slur of letters and numbers to me. I remember, though, that it was a 1985 model and on the tank he had placed a large sticker that read “No Fat Chicks,” which, to a Midwestern suburban teenage boy in the 1990s, was the height of wit.
This guy was cool*. His bike was cool*. A kind of cool that I felt easily superseded the uncoolness of failing to graduate high school. I decided then that I would get my motorcycle license as proof to myself that I really could do something if I put my mind to it. I bought a helmet and gloves, threw on my all-leather letterman jacket, and enrolled in a rider training course. By the end of the summer, I had earned my motorcycle classification and in the process built up the confidence to push hard and finish high school. Just a semester after all my friends had done so, I, too, went to college.
That was more than 18 years ago. And strangely, I never again rode a motorcycle. Life happened, as they say. Minnesota is a snowy and icy region that can be a tricky place to ride as much as eight months out of the year. Money was always tight. And eventually I married a woman who swore she would leave me if I ever got on a bike. Up until a few months ago I would have thought the desire to ride a motorcycle was in me long dead.
In fact, it was just lying dormant all that time…
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*Not really. There is nothing cool about a “No Fat Chicks” sticker.