Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Inspired by Single Dad Laughing: "Hundred dollar jeans"

A foreword: this blog is going to start getting more personal. I think I'm gonna start posting more about me without editing details as much. I'm starting to not care who knows what, which might be dangerous and I might regret it later. We'll see, eh?

I love Single Dad Laughing. It's a blog written by, as you'd assume, a single father. I don't know the circumstances surrounding his status, but he chronicles his life with his son and their dog and it's almost always hilarious (and if homosexuality weren't birth control enough, some of his posts about the disgusting things his son does would be [boogers]).

Anyway, today I was perusing when I stumbled across this gem. He talks about how one day he spent over $500 in a clothing store because he needed to feel confident and good-looking. That blurb makes him sound incredibly shallow, but if you read the post, you'll see he's anything but. He makes a very compelling case for splurging on things you don't need.

Without having read the post beforehand, I did something similar this weekend. Bought something big, just to make myself feel better about my life.

For those of you who don't know, my beloved BMW has bit the dust. Just a few days before I was to move back to Idaho, the clutch fried and then, just a few miles later, the head gasket blew, clogging the fuel injectors. Total bill was well over what the car was worth and I didn't have the cash to keep investing in it. So I sold it for about a tenth what I had in it, not including gas, tires and insurance. Broke my heart.

Having decided that I didn't want any more temperamental European cars, at least until I could better afford to keep them, I started looking for reliable, economical cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Nissan Altima.

For those of you who do know who I am, you know how this broke my heart even more. 

No offense to anyone who drives these cars (unless you drive a Corolla, in which case I've lost a lot of respect for you), they are boring, soulless machines that tell the world that you've given up on ever having fun behind the wheel. They are great modes of transportation, a reliable way to get from A to B. They're as inoffensive and dependable as a white Frigidaire. But when was the last time anyone got excited about a white Frigidaire? 

My car hunt was looking grim. There wasn't anything out there that had that balance between fun and responsibility within my admittedly tiny budget.

Then, one day, I casually made my way over to the motorcycles section of craigslist. I never found anything good there; everything was either in pieces or too expensive or too big or too small for an inexperienced rider like me. But still, I trolled it occasionally, hoping for something to pop up that would be a good fit.

I saw a bike. On first blush, it wasn't what I was looking for. It had a big windshield and was fully faired and kind of ugly. It was a biggish bike, definitely designed for an old man rather than a young, hot stud. It had a vaguely Harley vibe about it, but without the Harley swagger or street cred. And it had a pretty small engine for how big its bodywork was.  But still, the price was right and it looked interesting, and it was in town, which meant I didn't need to pay a roommate or scumbag a ride off a friend to get to it.

I walked to the house, eager for the owner to lift the garage door and show me what could be my future. As he did, I couldn't resist bending down to look at the bike before the door was open. There it stood, leaning over on its kickstand and taking up almost as much space as one of those small Toyotas. It was far too big.

I resigned myself to the fact that I'd wasted my time by walking over to look at it, but still, I asked the man, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army, if I could take it for a ride. Still dressed in his fatigues, he sized me up, asked if I could handle the bike, and somewhat reluctantly showed me how to start it and ran me through its quirks.

I took it out, completely surprised by how heavy it was given its relatively small engine. It wallowed in corners a bit and it was difficult to get used to. I started towards the freeway, aimed it up the onramp, and punched the throttle. It settled back on the rear wheel and moved forcefully down the road, like a big locomotive. It wasn't fast, but it felt strong.  

Then a gust of wind came and picked up that large windshield and wide fairing and attempted to throw it across the highway, almost taking the bike with it.  Oh no, this bike was not for me. 

Still, against every judgment in my head, I took it over to a mechanic friend to have it inspected. He gave it a thorough once-over, took it out on a ride, and decreed it to be mechanically fit and worth the asking price.  I wasn't convinced.

I rode it back to the owner's house, having already decided to offer him an insultingly low number, a number he'd never accept. I was right. He countered me with a number more to his liking, and in spite of how much I disliked the bike, I found myself fighting him on the price. And then, before I knew it, I was pulling my cash out and handing it to him in exchange for keys and a title.  Almost by surprise, a 1982 Honda GL500 Interstate, sterling silver metallic, was mine.

And again, surprisingly, I found myself completely in love with it after an hour of riding. It was love motivated by sheer possession, to be sure, but it also was more than that. I learned its secrets. How it dislikes being chucked into a corner but will happily follow your lead if you are deliberate and sure in your movements. How it'll hum along the freeway at 65, but it likes 70 better and will cut the breeze more. How to position your hands and feet if it's too hot or too cold to be riding. 

What I loved most about it, though, was that I was mobile again. After three dreary weeks of walking everywhere and confining myself to the mile-wide radius in which I could walk, I had a way to escape again. I still walk to the store and to school and work, just because they're all close enough. But just knowing that I have a bike waiting for me to throw a leg over it and fire it up makes me feel better.

I feel more confident and happier. I like waiting for people to notice the helmet in my hand and ask about my ride. I enjoy giving a cool-guy head nod or the four-finger-extension-wave to every motorcyclist I pass. Even the little things make me feel cool, like using my heel to put the kickstand up with a solid "thunk." I am genuinely grateful that Heavenly Father led me to this bike and that it was affordable enough.

If a few hundred dollars can make all that happen, I'd say it's money well spent.

1 comment:

  1. I've had a few FB friends try and push some of his entries, and I just cannot see what the fuss is about. Plus, he reminds me of the raging douche nozzle my stepsister is married to, so that may have been against him from the start, for more


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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