Friday, November 20, 2009

Lunch with Orin

I had lunch with Orin on Wednesday. As you may already know, Orin is a fellow blogger, authoring Scootin' Old Skool. Orin is living in Portland these days, having transplanted from Seattle. If you've followed his blog you know Orin's endured a string of events lately that haven't exactly gone in his favor.

Orin recently underwent surgery to amputate part of his right foot. This, too, he wrote about on his blog and you can read about it there. Orin hasn't been able to ride the scooter, mostly because he says he can't successfully put the bike on the centerstand. It's tricky using the ball of your foot when you no longer have one. Give him time; Orin will figure it all out. In the meantime, that's where I came into the picture.

The two of us had never actually met in person. I figured this was a good excuse. Bear with me a minute while I take a very short detour.

Sharon over at Sojourner's Moto Tales just did a post wherein she expressed her frustration with people who tell you that things could be worse. Like that's supposed to make you feel a whole lot better about the bad crap happening to you. I share her sentiments for the most part, but in some instances I think it might actually help. Thus I found myself walking up the sidewalk to knock on the door of Orin's house.

After becoming unwillingly unemployed and homeless, having to relocate to a different city, and having your foot operated on to make it look like a chimichanga ( Orin's words ) things have to be looking just a bit depressing. These are just the highlights. Not to mention the not being able to ride part.

So I figured, what the heck? Having to endure lunch with me would surely make the other things look a little less bad in comparison for Orin. I mean,it's worth a shot, right?

Seriously, though, I enjoyed Orin's company. Don't tell Orin this, but I actually came away with a few new things to think about. More accurately, I was reminded of something really important. Something I've tried to get across in this blog. I know, I know, when will I get to the point?

Orin is a very intelligent man. He and I conversed on a wide range of subjects. Some had to do with motorcycles, of course. We talked about other things like articulated buses, life in a condo, how the health care system in the U.S. compares to that of other countries, the gentrification of older sections of cities, and so on. We also discussed how society wants to put themselves and others into convenient "slots", complete with labels. In particular, in the motorcycling world. You just knew we'd get back to that subject, didn't you?

The point is, a lot of folks use motorcycle brands to build their identity upon. I'm not really going to comment on that here. What I'm taking away with me is the renewed appreciation of just how multi-dimensional those of us in this blogger neighborhood are. Sure, motorcycles are a large part of our lives. We mostly write about riding on our blogs. Except for Conchscooter, who writes about whatever he bloody well feels like. Which I appreciate, by the way. Even at that, a motorcycle is the vehicle from which he observes all these things he writes about.

Focus on the words "a part of our lives". That's in contrast to being the sum total of our lives. Orin and I talked about how we don't live and die by the brand of bike we ride. If we find ourselves without a bike for whatever reason, so be it. That doesn't lessen at all who we are. A bike serves us, not the other way around.

That's the point of my blog. A motorcycle is everyday transportation. I can leave my house and pick any of several means of conveyance. Car, truck, or bike. Of course, the bike's obviously the most fun and fulfilling, but any one of them will serve the purpose. My motorcycle is woven into the fabric of my life just like a car is for most people. I don't put on the bike and gear as a costume to make me fit into some "lifestyle". Riding is a way of life. There's a distinct difference. My hope is that as many people as possible are able to experience the same thing.

Today Orin is going in to get the stitches removed from his foot. Hopefully everything will go fine and the other nagging issues will heal as well. We'll look forward to reading about the journey back to riding on his blog.

Thanks for the chance to meet you, Orin. I enjoyed it immensely!

Miles and smiles,



Conchscooter said...

I was hoping you had figured a way for him to get the center stand down. I guess even you can't create a ball where one doesn't exist...oh well.

bobskoot said...


I'm still working on the centre stand issue. Can the leverage arm be put on the right side, instead of the left side ? Otherwise we'll stick with plan A, which is to install the side stand.

Orin: hope your heeling is going well enough for you to be scootin' soon.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Anonymous said...

>Sharon over at Sojourner's Moto >Tales just did a post wherein she >expressed her frustration with >people who tell you that things >could be worse. Like that's supposed >to make you feel a whole lot better >about the bad crap happening to you?

...and sure enough, things did become worse!

What I endured being diagnosed with Lupus then the cancer followed bydifficult surgery, followed by rounds and a few years of chemo is NOTHING compared to what Orin has endured losing a portion of his physical anatomy which in turn limits his personal mobility.

All of us have difficulties, it is our being, in life. Some have worse
and some have better yet still negative experiences. Nobody said life was easy; what's difficult is coping with our being as it modified or changed from birth to death. Along the trail of our life we find bumps and valleys, and we also found some really nice people.

Dan is one of those rich, in spirit positive characters. He doesn't wear his heart of his sleeve, his heart is where it belongs, in communicating with and encouraging people to continue to be as they were, and to be what some higher power wishes he to continue, to be and do.

Something tells me his wife Katie knew exactly what she was getting when she married him all that many years ago. And he four children by said marriage and rumour has it he shall be a grandfather sometime next year.

Guess grandpa will be spending more time with grandchild in the future.

Bully for you Dan, and thanks for
what you are.

cpa3485 said...

It is great to hear that the two of you were able to get together. I bet it was meaningful for both of you even If for different reasons.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan) and Orin:

A smile flashe across my face when I saw Orin sitting on the scooter, with a cane leaning on his leg. (I have been carrying a cane on my motorcycle -- and now a step in my topcase -- for over three years.

I agree with with Bobskoot. See a welder about altering the center-stand to extend it from the other side. Money is probably tight. Get creative. Find a vocational school... Write a letter... Get it done as a class project.

I can no longer get my left leg up on the peg from a rolling position. I now have the most peculiar riding procedures... But they all work. In a parking lot, where narrow maneuvering is involved for short distances, I shift the bike using the front or back of my left calf.

One of Britain's top aces in WWII had no legs. If he could fly a Spitfire, and smoke the enemy, this center-stand problem is well within Orin's grasp.
Keep smiling, Orin. I expect to hear you sre riding (if the weather holds) in a week or two.

I think you've come a long way already.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Orin said...

Irondad, it was great meeting you, too. It's always nice to be able to put a face to a name. Once the weather gets nicer, we should go for a ride somewhere.

As you may have read, the VA unilaterally canceled my appointment. The sutures come out Tuesday. Unless they cancel that one.

Oh, and training myself to put the center stand down with my heel is going well. In fact, you can put more weight on your heel, so maybe I should have been doing it that way all along...

Sojourner rides said...

Sounds like when you got together with Orin, you and he had a grand time just being...IMHO that's more what I think people need rather than the well-intentioned, meaningless "it could be worse" comments. I can't think of anything better when you're down and out than to have a visitor come over and together you can just be...Nice post!

Krysta in MKE said...

I tried using my left foot to put Betty on centerstand a couple times yesterday. Felt awkward at first, but wasn't hard. If I can do it with a full-sized bike, he can probably do it with the scooter you picture him on. Encourage him to try.

On a sad note, yesterday we put Betty to bed for the winter. It's starting to be snow & ice season, & she doesn't go out in that; only Clifford (the big red sidecar) does.

Steve Williams said...

Orin's Vespa looks nice. And big. Far more majestic than mine does. Must be the photographer weaving his magic.

"Things could be worse.."

Yeah, I guess but so what. I think a lot of times those words escape people's mouths as a combination of habitual speaking before thinking along with struggling to say something to alleviate the tension of the moment.

Along those comment lines is "That's just life..."

Your post reminds me that sometimes it is better to just listen and not try to make things better.

Orin: Hope the healing process is going well and you find yourself back on the GTS to enjoy those riding windows of opportunity in winter....

Orin said...

The sutures finally came out on Wednesday. The surgeon says it healed nicely. No more sterile dressings, no more gauze. Socks go on the chimichanga much more easily now. I'm not even using the cane any more. And the center stand is no longer an issue, either...