I Wanted a Harley

I’ve always wanted a motorcycle. More specifically, I’ve always wanted a Harley. I’ve always though they were the epitome of cool, and I’ve always thought cool was my perfect expression, especially when I was younger. I was quite delirious when I was younger.

Years ago, I actually thought about getting one. I had woken up one morning in Chicago when I lived in Bucktown (on the corner of Webster and Damen), walked outside for the drive into the office, only to find my car had been jacked, the victim of a hit and run, laying painfully perpendicular to the street, with a ticket from a police officer adding insult to injury.

I wanted a bike. I decided that then and there.
Understand that up until this point, I had never even ridden a moped, let alone a scooter or motorcycle. The only times if ever even been on one was behind my old buddy Chris from high school, who was a bike enthusiast. In his expert hands, being on a bike was exhilarating.

And so I wanted a bike.
More specifically, I wanted a Harley.

However, I had made a huge tactical and strategic error.

I told my mom of my intentions.

My mother is incredibly sweet and so very kind and caring. But she has another side. She can be a pitibul. Fiercely protective, if she thinks we’re in danger, she’ll go to all lengths to protect us. And that protection extends to endangering ourselves. If she has to protect us from ourselves, she’s not going to let us get in the way of protecting us.

So I told my mom I was thinking of getting a Harley. I had thought it all out. Safely practicing. Getting the appropriate license. Et cetera. However, (like an idiot – did I not know her?), I did not anticipate my mother’s reaction. Um, in recollection, I cannot believe I did not. She resorted to all forms of trickery… Running the gamut from concern to logic to anger to guilt to crying. It was the last one that got me.

In a battle of wills with my mother, I was destined to lose.

So I bought a yellow Jeep Wrangler. I loved those wheels. Some of my best memories driving my Jeep included driving open-air with the top off, next to me, my dog Jack, a beautiful Chow, that I had brought up to Chicago from my parents home, as well as epic road trips with two of my closest friends Elizabeth and JennyLee. I remember waving at other Jeep owners when our paths crossed on the road. We had a silent club we belonged to that only we knew about. I soon forgot about my Harley.

I really had not thought of the days leading up to buying my Jeep, which I bought on my brother’s birthday, until today.

I got out of my car after parking it outside my apartment building having just come back from shopping for dinner at Whole Foods. Just a few spots in front of me, I came upon a burley woman working on her bike. She had a beautiful midnight blue Harley Davidson with shiny bright chrome plated decor complementing the contrasting blue and black leather. It was beautiful. A stranger I did not recognize, she had been staying with a friend the previous ten days, the victim of a hit and run while she was on her bike. Her arms were a scabby mess and she told me her hips and chest were in extreme pain as well. Stating to me that she was an extremely careful rider, this was actually the second hit and run within two months where she flew from the bike a victim in both occurrences. I chose not to use that moment to tell her that you can be the most careful bike rider in the world, you would still be putting yourself in harms way anytime you got onto the highway.

Today, she was going to brave the five hour ride back to Eureka where she lived.

I thought of my potential life as a bike rider, opting instead for a life of wrangling for seven years before giving it up.

I wished her good luck on her journeys offering some advice recovering borne of my own experiences.

And then I thought about the one time I’d been on a scooter in Thailand.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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