Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"Heck's Angels" at the music store.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted a picture of Sophie in front of a music store. It's for an upcoming post. You'll just have to wait a bit to see what that post will be about. There was a brief bit of sunshine before the big storm blew in on Friday. I hadn't seen any other bikes until I stopped here. Then I met Don. He and I would have an interesting experience with the music store clerk.

The parking lot was empty when I pulled in. On the left side of the building was a recessed spot. It was filled with a blue colored beat up Vanagon. Since the customer parking was empty, I pulled a tight turn and backed Sophie up against the curb. Pulling out my camera, I started snapping pictures, looking for good angles that showed the bike and sign. One of these days I'm going to have to get over being timid and shy, I guess!

Not long after I started taking pictures, the front doors opened. A skinny guy with a scraggly reddish beard peaked out. He looked like he hasn't seen much sunlight in his twenty some years. As you can see in the picture, the windows are mirrored. The interior of the store must look like a cave. The first glimpse I got of the clerk was of his head sticking out between the two doors. I explained a little about what I was doing. Mr. Nocturnal started to pull his head back in. About that time a new Honda XR650L pulled in. I assumed it was a customer.

The XR rider told me it was good to see another bike out. I seconded that statement. Mr. Nocturnal disappeared back inside the store. I briefly chatted with the other rider and then invited him to move his bike over by Sophie for a photo. After telling him about my blog and that I'd use his picture, he readily obliged. You see the result above. After he pulled off his helmet and gloves I stuck my hand out and introduced myself. He said his name was Don. The reason for his trip was to pay his insurance on the bike. It's always interesting to meet another rider but this encounter would prove to be entertaining above and beyond that.

Don's a truck driver who had the Summer and Fall off. I'm guessing he was between jobs and could afford to enjoy the break. Lucky dog! His '08 Honda had been purchased mid-Summer and now had nearly four thousand miles on it. Most of that had been on the kind of roads this Honda was built for. Long days had been spent on small roads winding among the Cascade mountains.

My new acquaintance is a relatively inexperienced rider. Just enough to be comfortable but not having faced many abnormal situations, yet. This day's wind was proving to be one of those unusual situations. Don lives a little ways out of town. His ride in had been spent trying to second guess wind gusts. He commented on how much big trucks, trees, and buildings changed the wind. Don was worried that a big wind would wash out his front wheel. He was concerned about having to "play pattycake with the asphalt", as he put it. I told him that probably wouldn't be a real problem. He'd have to worry more about being pushed all over the road and into other traffic. I'm not sure if I put his mind at ease or not!

Don told me he was starting a new driving gig with Sherman Brothers Heavy Trucking. I used to ride by there every day on the way to work in Springfield. One of the yard bosses told Don that some guys would strap their bikes on the truck. Right behind what he called the "headache rack". Suddenly the idea of long hauls and layovers seemed a lot more appealing!

I shared a few tales of my own. By now we'd been chatting for about fifteen minutes or so. My watch dial's telling me we're well into the lunch hour. There's nobody in the parking lot but us two troublemakers. At least, that's what Mr. Nocturnal seems to have decided we are. He comes out his dark cave again to confront us. Well, sort of.

You see, I'm sure he really wants to just tell us to leave. A lack of intestinal fortitude is holding him back. Don turns out not to be a customer. He'd merely seen my bike and stopped to visit a spell. Neither of us is buying anything, but neither are we hurting anything. The fact that we're there at all seems to be bugging Mr. Nocturnal.

If a person wants to confront me, they should just do it. Don't insult my intelligence in the process. Mr. Nocturnal starts telling us how we're taking up his precious parking spots. What? Two bikes in the same spot surrounded by empty spaces? Nonetheless, he tells us that the lot can suddenly get full. I put my black Ray Ban's back on. Then I give Mr. Nocturnal a stone faced stare. You know, the cop thing. I keep it up until the clerk starts to squirm in his trenchcoat. Yeah, he's got one of those. He heads for the Vanagon and drives away. Presumably there's still someone inside the store as the doors remain unlocked. I really wanted to take a picture of the clerk but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have been happy about it, let alone give me permission to use it!

Don's cracking up. How can two guys on Hondas be such a threat? How can two bikes in one spot be taking up all the parking? I'm wondering what was really going on with Mr. Nocturnal. It would be interesting to take a look inside his head. As we mount up and cheerfully take leave of each other, Don sums it up.

"Who does he think we are? Heck's Angels that are going to tear the place up?"

I hope Don got out of town and home before the really bad winds hit.

Miles and smiles,



Steve Williams said...

He probably wasn't afraid of Heck's Angels, he was probably doing something illegal in there and you guys were making him nervous with all the unusual socializing you were doing.

Or not.

Hard to imaging those two bikes with you two guys scaring anyone. I could see it if you both showed up in big old pick me up trucks...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Conchscooter said...

At least the idiot didn't call 9-1-1 to complain about suspicious people lurking. The plague of the modern dispatch center is the cell phone. I think you should feel complimented that you threatened so nmeone by merely being there.

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

"At least the idiot didn't call 9-1-1 to complain about suspicious people lurking."

I had to laugh at this... We went on a club ride a year erso ago. Met at a Starbuck's (Dan would have loved it), maybe 40 of us. As we were getting ready to leave, a cruiser pulled through the lot VERY SLOWLY. I figured someone called to report either a motorcycle gang or incipient rumble. ::grin::

irondad said...

Hence the smoked windows? At least he'd have had a real gripe with the parking space two big trucks would take, wouldn't he?

If I remember right, you list being a dispatcher in your profile, don't you? I can see where having cell phones makes it easy for people to call in every complaint, real or imagined.

What would be funny is if a motor cop showed up. After seeing no threat, the officer would stay and chat a bit. Then there'd be THREE bikes and not a thing the clerk could do about it!

With 40 bikes at a typical Starbucks, where did you all find room to sit inside? I can see how someone would be concerned. People don't do a good job of separating stereotypes. Funny story.

I remember cruising through a group of "customized" bike riders and wondering how many outstanding warrants there were in the bunch.

Take care,