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What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

Stupid excited

I only bought a helmet so I can
do my own Harlem Shake videos...
I am stupid excited, yo. Stupid with excitement. Excitedly stupid. Stupid stupid stupid. Excited excited excited. I'm not able to think of any other thing but tomorrow: the day I do my Compulsory Basic Training. I feel like a kid before Christmas.

No, actually, it's bigger than that – because with Christmas there was always that sense of suspicion: "Isn't Santa Claus really just Mom and Dad? That would certainly explain why he seems to shop in the same places they do."

Perhaps I could equate it to the moments leading up to the first time I had sex. But, no. That's just a creepy-weird analogy; if I had to choose between motorcycles and boobs, I would choose the latter every time. I'm pretty sure there's a "dual overhead cam" joke in there somewhere, but I can't quite think of the wording.

Besides, you don't really get a fortnight of planning for your first sexual experience. Whereas I've had days and days to ponder my CBT – ample time to develop anxiety dreams in which I forget the right paperwork or fail the test because of simple mistakes. Enough time to convince myself to buy a helmet, a pair of gloves and seriously consider a jacket and trousers.

Not too long ago, Sash suggested I "live as though the money is coming," (1) but I just can't abide  such purchases. The training school provides all the gear one needs, save boots, and it is simple economic good sense not to buy loads of brand new stuff before I've even had a chance to say for certain biking is for me.

True, I bought a helmet. And certainly part of the reason for such a purchase was an effort to will this whole motorcycle thing to happen. But also there is the simple fact that British men have a vastly different interpretation of hygiene than I do, and I don't like the idea of spending a full day with some other bloke's hair and face grease rubbing into my own, nor breathing the remnants of his full-breakfast-and-a-packet-of-Lamberts breath stench.

And, yes, I bought a pair of gloves because... uhm... the fella who sold me my helmet discounted them by £40. But the jacket and trousers I will wait on. Until the experience of being on a bike again confirms what I know in my heart: that I want to do this.

Which is one of the deepest fears. Hidden in a vindictive corner of my mind, far away from practical worries about paperwork or showing up on time or losing my nerve on the test is the fear that, somehow, I will find I don't really like motorcycling. What if I haven't got the nerve for the speed or the lean? What if I haven't got the coordination? What if it's all just too uncomfortable? What if it turns out that I don't really want to be the person I am presently so certain I want to be?

I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

–––––

(1) Thanks for reading, Sash!

Comments

  1. I think Sash was referring to "law of attraction", where if you truly believe it will happen, then the Universe will make it happen.

    ReplyDelete

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