Changes 3 (Motorcycle)

Jul. 02, 2003 * 3:09 p.m.

Okay, so what's the first thing you do after quitting your job? Why, buy a motorcycle, of course!

This is me on my newly-acquired 1982 Yamaha Seca 550. I can't say exactly when the hunger for a bike set in. The first rumblings were some time last year, and although I hate to admit TV had an impact on my spending decisions (it's not TV, it's HBO!), I think "Six Feet Under" may have had something to do with it.

There was this episode where they have a biker funeral at the funeral home, and because Nate showed such respect for them, the partner of the deceased gave Nate her dead beau's Harley. With the possibility looming that he could keel over any moment from his brain tumor, his journey at breakneck speeds down the winding stretches of highway spoke to the rebel in me, the urge to be free. I didn't have a need to ride recklessly down a curvy road per se, just the need to fly, to feel the wind pouring over me as I rode past trees and sky. The desire grew.

I casually kept my eye out for good deals and trustworthy sellers for several months, and my patience finally paid off. I found a bike in my unemployed-person's-price-range, an oldie but goodie that had been very well taken care of, and a seller who was very honest and helpful and was a just a little reluctant to part with her first bike; but she wanted to upgrade to a bigger one.

It occurred to me once or twice that I'd never ridden a motorcycle (except for riding on the back of my dad's bike when he was doing summer stock in Connecticut about 25 years ago, where I burned my calf on the pipe but was rescued by an actor with an aloe plant in his dressing room...). Now that I was unemployed, it became of utmost urgency that I sign up for the beginners' riding course. Two days of riding around the parking lot fueled the fire and I knew I was going to love this.

After graduating, I still needed to take care of several details (registration, insurance, helmet, etc.). My head is an in-between size, so after trying on way too many ill-fitting helmets, I finally succumbed to a very pricey one - almost half what I paid for the bike! But as they say in the trade, "If you have a cheap head, get a cheap helmet."

I've taken it out once to ride it around the neighborhood, with my woman riding behind me in the car with her hazards on. (It made her feel better.)

I still have to take care of a sticky clutch, but it's one more step in living my life the way that makes me happy, not just the way that makes everyone else happy. Vroom! Vroom!





yesterday ><((((> tomorrow