Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Company for the ride.

The Big Interview happened yesterday. I think it went pretty well. The day turned out to be fairly interesting. The bike and I ( and Katie for some of it ) travelled 226 miles together. I got to spend some time with Katie. Good all the way round.

The ride to work was pretty routine. My interview was at 4 PM at a location 113 miles North of the office. Rather than push it to the last minute I left the office at 11:30. Yelling "I'm free, I'm free!" I took the long way home. The plan was to change clothes at home. Dressing up for the office would have raised suspicions. By the way, I clean up pretty good for a hardcore motorcyclist. At a little after 2 Katie got home from her job at the school. "Are you still planning on riding?", she asks. I thought maybe she was going to ask me to reconsider. "Can I go with you? I'm suffering withdrawal." Bonus!!!

I carefully wrap the 'stich around the slacks and off we go. The jacket and tie are in the saddle bag. I don't remember ever riding in a tie and don't want to start now. This next part is weird. The place I'm supposed to meet these guys is right off the Interstate at the South end of Portland. Portland is listed as having a population of around half a million. Big city traffic on a bike. We make our way into the parking lot which is teeming with cars. This place has banquet and meeting rooms that a lot of companies use, I guess. We're looking for a place to park. A dark haired guy with a goatee is driving a silver Buick. He cuts us off in the parking lot. So I do what any seasoned Road Warrior would do. I blast him with the puny horn on the bike. He looks at the bike and goes on his way.

The hotel has a nice lobby. We are in the process of pulling off the rest of our gear in a quiet corner of the lobby. Katie's got some stuff to read and plans to either sit in the lobby or go to the restaurant for tea while she waits. Hey, it was her choice to come along. This same guy walks by us. He's in a dark suit. I see the flicker of recognition as he looks at the gear. Off I go to the restroom to put on the tie and jacket. I'm supposed to meet the "possible future employer"'s representatives in the lounge. ( I drank iced tea, by the way ) There's three of them at a table for four. Since it's the only group I go there. It's them, all right. And there's the guy in the suit. Turns out he's some sort of Regional Sales Manager for the company I'm interviewing with. Sorry, I'm not kissing his butt. If he drives like a jerk I'll react accordingly. His name is Jim. He finally mentions the incident. It's just kind of passed off. Jim says "At least it proves you're not shy".

By the way, an unofficial offer was made. We go find Katie and introductions are made. I do not tell her I want her to meet the new boss. It's too early for that. I still have greatly mixed feelings. I've been told that the company will pay mileage so I can drive whatever I want. Just not sure how practical it will be to do this job on the bike. I guess I could carry an extra helmet. Then if I want to take a client to lunch I could invite them for a ride!

It's dark by now. We head back South. I've given Katie the retro-reflective vest. Better to have it showing at the back than covered. We've decided to stop in Salem at a mall food court. There's a Chinese food place there that Katie likes. So far the weather has totally cooperated all day. It's a refreshing ride. We pull in to the parking structure next to the mall. I back into a spot kind of off by itself. I really like elbow room and hate to be crowded. I'm taking a chance of getting ticketed by backing in. There are signs that state only head-in parking is allowed. Several of the parking enforcement folks have come through my classes. I carry a business card from our motorcycle safety program. This gets clipped to the fairing. I am left unmolested. Little by little they are getting the hang of living with bikes. Good for them.

As we're coming back to the bike I see a woman with a baby and a boy that looks to be about four years old. The munchkin is really taken with the bike. He keeps pulling Mom toward the ST. Mom smiles at us and pulls him back. It seems like she just doesn't want to be a bother to us. I tell her that it's fine if the boy wants to come look. In fact, I have no problem if he wants to sit on the bike. As long as it's ok with her. Since Katie's with me Mom seems more relaxed. I tell her that I want to be the one to lift the munchkin onto the bike. The pipes could still be warm. So up he goes. They always seem to know what to do, don't they? The arms go forward and he's practically prone on the tank bag. He doesn't make motor noises, though. The little mouth is too busy grinning. The little Cherub's face is beaming. I always love times like these. I'm sure we made the little guy's week.

To top it all off, we get home around 8:30 PM. Just after we get in the house the rain starts. Our ride has been blessed by the weather Gods.

This morning I leave as usual for work. I've taken to riding the old highway in the mornings. Today I seem to have fallen in love with the ST all over again. I feel so alive this morning. It's not the job offer. That issue is slightly stressful right now. No, I just seem to go through this off and on. It's always good to be on the bike. It feels like it's exactly where I belong. Some days, though, it's better than good. Today's one of those days when it moves up to "TOTALLY AWESOME"!!!!

In particular I seem to be in love with the throttle. Not top speed. Just feeling that special thing that happens when you twist a little and the bike leaps forward. So much power right at my control. I end up following a dark red Nissan Titan pick-up. I'm sorry but I find these trucks butt ugly. It's not long until I can use that lovely throttle and leave the ugly creature in the dust. Well, as much dust as you will find on a wet road, at least. Guess what? You guessed it. There's a woman driving and she has a cell phone plastered to her ear. Probably tellling someone how good looking her truck is.

About fifteen minutes down the road I come up behind a guy on a bike. It's a Honda 919 in that black color. You know that color with the unfortunate name of "Asphalt"? I find it funny since I was just talking about this bike on Mad's blog. There's a link to his blog on the right of this page. Anyway, I follow this guy almost all the way to work. Don't know if he commutes or is just riding. Once I see someone a couple of times at the same spot or time I know they're probably a commuter. This is a first encounter. I just follow. He's in no hurry. A true bike person. Just enjoying the ride. It is so good to have company.

We talk about being independent. How we are "rugged individualists". How we "do our own thing". Could it just be that us rough tough hardcore riders are getting a little lonely?


Steve Williams said...

Life seems bright for you and a lot of different paths are open. Sounds as if it might have some flexibility for riding though I wouldn't hold my breath for clients wanting to go for that ride. Personally, I like to meet with reps and have them go on their way. I don't like having to go to lunch with them and usually don't (like my lunchtime to myself and the newspaper). I always wonder how productive those business lunches are anyways.....

As I read your post I just think you are really fortunate in so many ways. Opportunity, friends, riding adventures, Katie, your spirit, teaching.....

What a rich life!

Good luck with whatever path you choose.


irondad said...

I guess you have returned the favor and made me think of things above and beyond motorcycles. Leave it to a photographer to make me see the "big picture". Thanks for that.

There might be cookies in it for you!!

Gary Charpentier said...

Hey Dan, nice post. Good luck with the job, if you take it.

I didn't comment on your last post, because I didn't know what to say. It reminded me of some of my early writings in Diary of a Cafe Racer, and I don't want to revisit those days.

Besides that, I have been unbelievably busy lately. It seems that things are quickening now that Spring is just around the corner.

Time is of the essence, right now, and I've gotta go.

Ride well,

irondad said...

thanks for stopping by. I'll have to look at those writings.

Mad said...

Irondad, I'm glad it went well. I bet you're glad you didn't make any rude gestures to the guy in the suit.

irondad said...

I resisted the rude gestures. It was tough because working for a Welshman I have learned some really good ones!! Since I was in a parking lot doing low speed manuevers I kept both hands on the bars. Wouldn't it be ironic to fall down due to making a nasty hand signal?

Mad said...

Funny you should say that, I was filtering today and I got beeped at by a car... I'm afraid to say I made a rude hand gesture which gave me a wobble. Will I ever learn?

irondad said...

repeat after me "I will grit my teeth and grimace but I will keep both hands on the bars".