Bikeless in Seattle!
Things haven't quite turned out like I'd wished for. I was hoping I'd be sent to Denver for this factory product launch. The bad news is that I'm not in Denver. Whoever dreams up all this stuff decided to make everyone come to the West coast, instead. The good news is that travel expenses are down!
Ok. I can see not riding if I'm taking a plane ride. If I'm stuck here I should be on the bike. If there's any justice in the world, being robbed of a trip to Denver should be compensated by a long motorcycle trip. No such luck. I'm forced by circumstance to be trapped in a cage. What circumstance, you ask? The Golden Rule. He who has the gold makes the rules. In this case, the man who signs my paychecks asked me to bring up a rather bulky and awkward mock-up door assembly. It fills my whole trunk and I could barely maneuver it in there. Headquarters wants it to build a thing to present to Microsoft. Come to think of it, I'm being coerced by two guys who have the gold!
Like Marianne Rogers used to say on Hee Haw, "Oh well, life ain't all bad!"
I'm sleeping in a fancy Marriott Courtyard hotel on company expense. The gal at the front desk must have liked my smile because she put me clear on the top floor. My room has a nice view of a river and lots of greenery. The fact that there's a huge shopping mall peeking through the trees doesn't spoil the view. Eric, the Regional Director, took a half dozen of us to dinner at this exquisitely fantastic Italian restaurant. I consumed a Pollo Parmegiano dish that was one of the best I've ever had. There was an olive oil and garlic mix to put on it. I used a lot. Nobody in the room to be offended by garlic breath but me. And I'm not going to complain to myself. That seems slightly psychotic, even to me! As I write this, I'm listening to a really righteous soft jazz station. We don't have this at home except for my XM radio. Like I say, life could be worse. I really missed riding, though.
As it is, I'm going to lay on the fancy bed with no less than six pillows and dream of riding some of my favorite curvy country roads. Like this one.
A guy I used to work with would give me a hard time about being out in the open. He'd tell me how uncomfortable he'd be with his butt hanging out as he rode. A lot of people feel the same way. They're happy to sink into the comfort and coddling of their cars. Being surrounded by that little globe of an artificial environment makes them feel secure. Did I just use the word "globe"? Funny. It must have been an unbidden expression of what was going through my mind. Just had a picture of those snow globes. Whatever's inside is totally cut off from the world, trapped forever in that little space.
I feel like that when I'm in a car. Not that driving is always torture, mind you. It's just that I really miss the freedom. That term gets over-used, I know. I can't really explain it otherwise. I'm the kind of person who has a tremendously large personal bubble. I hate things being in my way. I hate large crowds. I hate stores with narrow little aisles that force me to rub elbows with others to make my way down them. RetaiIers try to stuff more and more things in to make the space pay. Combine that with people getting wider, and, well, I'm nearly driven to insanity. Crowded roads make me want to take up flying lessons. I hate being crowded, period!!!
Riding allows me to feel like I have a lot of open space around me. The older I get the more I seem to crave elbow room. Call me weird, but I'd much rather be cold and wet than feel enclosed. Even if it's just an illusion, the feeling of open space makes me a lot calmer. I'm trying to present this in a somewhat humorous light but it's a real concern for me. Sometimes I think I should have been born much earlier and become a Mountain Man. That was a hard life, by the way. Think about it. When they'd bake those boxes of brownies they'd have to remember to follow the high altitude directions or risk ruining their dessert.
I know the other thing you're probably thinking about my riding down the freeway on a bike. Let's quit beating around the bush and just come out and say it. The smaller size of the bike and the superior power to weight ratio aren't bad things. I swear that my first concern is feeling less hemmed in. These other things are just a bonus in finding empty space. I like to find an open area and ride sedately along. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Don't ask Katie about that, though. Do you know what she had the nerve to tell me the other night?
We were sitting on the couch, being buddies, and watching an AMA Superbike race. Matt Mladin was out in front. Ben was trying to run him down. Katie turned to me and said I acted a lot like that when I travelled the freeway. According to her, the next car in front of me was just prey to catch up to and pass. Can you imagine? Why in the world would she make up something like that? She did say it was fine with her, though. I always dispatch my prey in the safest manner possible!
Stay tuned this week. The first guest will be featured. Remember, if you or someone you know of would like to introduce themselves and their bike, or tell an interesting story of a ride to work or ride for pleasure, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miles and smiles,