Fact Checking My Email: Motorcycle Edition

It’s uncommon, but every so often, I get a forwarded chain letter from someone that I know “IRL,” as the kids say. I tend to delete these upon realizing that I’ve been sent yet another “if you send this to ten people, Bill Gates will give you money” but every once in a while, I get something that not only makes me pause, it compels me to write a blog post about it.

This particular email was titled something like “True Love, this will make you cry so much” etc. etc. I’m paraphrasing it since I read it on my smartphone and deleted it as soon as I finished. It was only later that I realized I could turn this into a blog post. Here’s the gist of the email as best I can remember:

A boy and a girl are riding on the boy’s motorcycle. They’re going very fast down the express way. So fast, like over 100 mph! The girl tells the boy that it’s too scary and that she wants to slow down, but the boy insists that it’s fun going this fast. Then the boy says something weird. He asks the girl to tell him that she loves him. She does. He asks her to hug him. She does. He asks her to take his helmet off and put it on herself, because “it’s been bugging him.” She does.

The next day, there’s a report in the local paper about a motorcycle accident. The girl survives, because she was wearing the boy’s helmet.

The truth was that while they were riding, the boy realized that the motorcycle’s brakes were broken. Rather than tell the girl and scare her, he had her say that she loved him, shared a final hug, and then sacrificed himself (by giving up his helmet) so that she could live.

Like, omg, you guys, isn’t that so sad? That’s like the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.

It makes me sad because it reminds me of the early days of the Internet, when shit like this happened all the time. It makes me sad that, despite how far we’ve come as an Internet, this sort of thing still happens.

It’s obvious that this story is impossible. But seeing as how I’m a motorcycle rider, I feel compelled by my very DNA to point out all the ways that this story is impossible. If you’re curious, Snopes looked into this particular story and also declared it false.

  1. The boy in the story “realizes that his brakes don’t work.” This seems incredibly unlikely, given that all motorcycles have independantly operating front and rear brakes. Your front brake is considerably more powerful than your rear brake, but they require completely separate systems to control. It’s very unlikely that both sets of brakes would fail at the same time.
  2. Even if BOTH brakes did fail, almost all motorcycles are manual transmissions. The rider could downshift into a lower gear which would begin cutting down the speed considerably. This is called “engine braking.” It wouldn’t work in most emergency braking situations, but in this particular scenario, the boy has enough time for a touching psuedo-farewell with his girlfriend. He would thus have more than enough time to drop down a few gears and slow down.
  3. Even if he somehow COULD NOT downshift (fuck it, let’s say his clutch is broken too), all he needs to do is release the accelerator. Motorcycles, even with two passengers, have FAR less mass than a car or truck. They aren’t able to efficiently overcome the coefficient of friction due to their reduced mass, so without a constant source of momentum from the engine, they slow down very quickly. Cars and trucks can coast for miles in a way that a motorcycle simply can’t.
  4. It is all but impossible to take off a motorcycle helmet and put it on one’s self while moving at 100 mph. As a person who travels at 100 mph quite often, I can attest that at this speed, your primary concern is going to be holding on for dear life.
  5. It’s equally impossible for two people to talk to one another at 100 mph, especially if one person is wearing a helmet and the other is not. Seriously. It’s really fucking loud at 100 mph. I tend to wear earplugs under my helmet so that I don’t go deaf.

Honestly, this wouldn’t bother me all that much if it weren’t for the fact that every single discussion I have about motorcycles with someone who doesn’t ride is some variation of an unsolicited story about someone on a motorcycle getting hurt or killed.

How To Succeed As An Auto Mechanic: A Practical Guide

Hello, prospective mechanic. If you’re reading this post, there’s a minuscule chance that you’re actually considering a career spent repairing and maintaining that most of wondrous of machines, the automobile. If you’re not that person, please feel free to continue reading; I imagine this information will be useful to you as well. Somehow.

I’m your friendly(ish), average potential customer. I know a little bit about my vehicles. I know enough to install a new radiator on my own. I know to keep my oil checked and changed regularly. I can change my oil myself on my motorcycle.

I know that my 2001 Isuzu Rodeo is getting on in years. She’s about to hit 180,000 miles and I have to tell you, those have been some hard miles. I’m not her first owner (I’m probably the third or fourth, having picked her up for cheap when she was at about 120,000 miles). I haven’t always been the best owner, but I try.

With that said, please allow me to educate you on what I feel are a few basic tips that will help you to transform me from a potential customer to a paying customer and maybe, just maybe, into a returning customer. Here are a few simple steps for you to follow, aspiring auto mechanic:

  1. Don’t nag. Don’t scold me for the shit that I didn’t do. Yeah, it sucks that most of your job is going to be cleaning up the messes of people who don’t realize that car engines prefer to have oil in them and that sometimes you have to change that oil, or whatever. But scolding me for not getting a transmission flush at 100,000 miles? That’s not going to endear you in my heart, even if you’re entirely correct. (Although in my case, I didn’t own my vehicle when I passed that milestone). At this point, I’m willing to take my business to a mechanic specifically if he or she doesn’t guilt trip me about all the things I’m failing to do. I get enough of that from my doctor and my dentist, thanks.
  2. Try not to miss the forest for the trees. I went a little poetic here, so let me explain. If I bring my aging, slowly dying, fourteen-year-old, high-mileage car to you because my transmission is acting up, try to keep that in perspective as we’re conducting our business. Do I really look like I’m in a position to drop 3.5 grand into getting the transmission replaced? I didn’t pay that much when I bought the vehicle, and it sure as hell isn’t worth that much now! Consider the possibility that this sort of thing is wildly unlikely to happen. I’m more likely to respect and like you (and thus become a loyal customer) if you give me some realistic options or if you’re just flat-out honest with me about it. And no, telling me that I’m getting a good deal because the transmission is used and has “only” 100,000 miles on it doesn’t make it better.
  3. Don’t hard sell. Here’s a tip and it’s one that’s true whether you’re running an auto repair shop or a video game store or a restaurant.

    Don’t. Fucking. Hard. Sell. Me.

    The first time you do that is the last time you get my business. Don’t tell me that I need to replace my sticking shifter lever RIGHT AWAY BEFORE IT BLOWS UP ON ME, because you know what? It’s been doing that for over five years. It’s been doing that since I bought the car. It’s not high on my priority list. All that this particular warning does is set off my bullshit detector that you’re trying to hard sell me. And once that happens, I’m moving on.

    Don’t hard sell. Realize that there are many people like myself who just want to conduct our transaction as painlessly and with as little hassle as possible. Don’t push the warranty deal. Don’t push the extended plan. Don’t try to push for something I obviously don’t want. Yes, I realize that for many of these things and many businesses, the corporate overlords are forcing you to do them. Sometimes it’s not your fault. But sometimes it is.

With these simple tips, I think you’ll find the loss of revenue from that initial repair job is more than compensated from the loyal business I’ll bring to your establishment over the next several years. The initial loss will further be offset by the fact that I’ll tell everyone I know about how much I like working with you, thus driving more business in your direction. Everyone is happy.

On an unrelated note, does anyone know a good mechanic in the Tucson area? I’m looking. Thanks.

Riders, It’s Time To Start Waving At Scooters

They’ll cover it in the MSF beginning rider course, even though it really has nothing to do with safety. Or you’ll learn its importance from the friend or family member who taught you how to rider (even though, seriously, go take an MSF course). Or you might just pick up on its importance after you’ve noticed your fellow riders flashing it at you as you pass each other like screaming chrome ships in the night.

That’s right, we’re talking about the motorcycle wave.

When you buy a motorcycle, you’re enrolled in a club. Enrollment is automatic and opting out is frowned upon. Like any good club, there are various traditions and disagreements about what behavior is proper and acceptable, but the bottom line is this: motorcyclists wave at one another.

For the non-riders out there, here’s how it works. If you’re on your bike and a fellow rider is coming towards you in the opposite lane, you stick your hand out in some fashion to that rider. Exceptions are made for circumstances such as when one’s left hand is busy with a shift or turn (in those instances, a head nod is acceptable if one can manage it).

There’s a lot of flexibility in what gesture you can make, as long as it’s not the raised middle finger, because that’s both rude to your brother or sister rider and also because we need to save that special gesture for, well, every single brain dead SUV, pickup and minivan driver that’s trying to kill us.

Me? I like a simple raised index and middle finger V (basically a peace sign) held out at a low angle towards the road. “Living the two wheeled life” is what it means to me. I have no idea if others interpret it that way. It doesn’t matter. It’s my wave and I like it.

Even with this tradition of waving to one another, there’s a lot of tribalism in motorcycle culture and that’s without even getting into the topic of motorcycle clubs or gangs.

You’re judged by what you ride, how you ride it, and what you’re wearing while riding it. Generally speaking, cruisers don’t like sport bike riders, and vice versa. Sport riders especially hate squids who tend to make sport riders as a whole look bad. And Harley riders hate everyone aside from themselves. They might even hate themselves. I don’t know any Harley riders, so I can’t verify.

I kid, I kid. You can’t take my opinion on Harleys seriously. I’m a Kawasaki rider.

The only thing all riders can agree on is a unanimous hatred of scooters.

Scooters don’t get the wave. At best, they get ignored. At worst, an icy glare and a feeling of smug superiority as one thinks of all the various ways scooters are doing it wrong and how we motorcycle riders are just so much better

Confession: I’ve been guilty of this.

“I don’t get scooter riders,” I’ve said. “I almost never see a scooter rider wearing a decent helmet, much less gloves, boots, or a jacket. Do they think that riding a scooter means the road will be somehow more forgiving when they go down on it because they fell off a scooter?”

Worst of all? “Scooter riders don’t even know about the wave. I can count the number of scooters who have waved at me on one hand and have five fingers left over.”

You know what I’ve begun to realize, though? This animosity between motorcycles and scooters is  ridiculous at best and pernicious at worst.

Let’s go back to the wave and why we do it.

I’ve tried to get a general sense of what rider culture is like with regards to the wave, so I’ve paid close attention to who initiates waves to me or who reciprocates waves that I initiate. My evidence is purely anecdotal, of course, since I don’t take the time to write down my findings while riding.

But what I’ve noticed is that Harley riders are the most responsive when it comes to waves in terms of both initiating and reciprocating, and that’s even coming from someone who is very clearly neither a Harley nor a cruiser rider.

Other cruiser brands are more hit-or-miss; I have to assume some of it is due to cruiser vs. sport bike rivalry. Sport riders are generally good about waving at me if and only if they’re a rider like me: full face helmet, jacket, gloves, etc. If the sport rider is in sandals and shorts i. e. a squid, I tend to get fewer waves than from any other group.

My feeling for this is based on the general rider profile. Harley riders, in general, tend to have a larger percentage of “the old guard” in their ranks and among the old guard, it seems that a rider is worthy of a wave no matter what he or she is riding. Other groups have less adherence to tradition, so there is correspondingly less waving.

How does this pertain to scooters?

My thought is this: maybe scooters don’t know about waving because so few motorcyclists take the time to wave to them. We haven’t invited them into our club. And why haven’t we?

It can’t be a gear thing, because many riders go without jackets, boots, or a brain bucket of any kind.

It can’t be a matter of engine size. We don’t judge a rider who putters by on a Honda Rebel 250. We think “there goes another new member of the tribe,” because a 250 is a fine bike to learn how to ride on, so we accept them as a member of the tribe or because it’s a cheap bike to buy and maintain and a cheap bike is always better than no bike.

Scooters tend to be cheaper than even little bikes like the 250. But regardless of the reason for why a scooter rider has chosen such a mount, the fact is they’re out there on two wheels, the same as us. They’re in it, just as we are, even if they don’t look as cool.

But that’s what the wave is all about, isn’t it? We wave at other riders to acknowledge that we’re all out here facing the same risks. We’re 37 times more likely to be killed than a cager and that breeds a certain solidarity, no matter what one is riding. Scooters are facing those same risks. They’re enjoying the same freedoms. I think that’s worthy of membership in the “wave club.”

And that’s why I wave at everyone now. Scooter, cruiser, Harley, tourer, it doesn’t matter. The wave is about solidarity. It’s about showing that we’re all in this together, that we’re all facing down the Grim Reaper when we swing our legs over our mounts. We’re all out there living life on two wheels. We’re all family in that regard.

. . .

Motorcycles just happen to be the cooler uncles and more awesome cousins of that particular family. 

To Pass Or Not To Pass: That Was My (Neurotic) Question

I turn the corner and accelerate onto the interstate. This is one of my favorite parts of riding. I like the feeling of getting up to speed. I like the way the engine growls as I push the RPMs. I like the rush of acceleration.

I glance over my shoulder and check that my lane is clear to merge. My lane is, but the lane next to mine isn’t.

There are two riders occupying that lane, riding in a side-by-side formation. Both are on big, black cruisers. I can’t tell the make from here, but they’re loud, even through my helmet and headphones I can hear the roar, and they’re both modded up; ape-hanger handlebars and all. Both riders are bearded and helmetless.

And both are wearing cut-off black leather vests.

I pull into my lane just as they zip past me, which gives me an opportunity to see the backs of those cuts. Classic one-percenters, right down to the patch, the top rocker, and so on. It’s not a club name that I’m familiar with (although later research indicates that my hesitation was justified, as the club in question is classified as an outlaw motorcycle club according to law enforcement).

My initial feeling is to give them a wide berth, until traffic works itself in such a way that I end up riding in their wake. They’re dominating their lane, going an easy 80 mph in the left lane. Speed limit is 75 mph.

Most people do 90+ if they can get away with it.

And now the dilemma. I’m behind them, riding in their wake. They can see me. They can see my bike. I’m riding a sport bike, long the enemy of the cruiser crowd. My blue Kawasaki isn’t going to win me friends here. We’re members of completely different tribes, even though we’re all sharing in the same potentially lethal two-wheeled experience.

I know that a big part of OMC culture is the idea of respect, something that’s shared with most gang or gang-like groups. When I worked in a south-side library in a tough part of town, one of my tasks was asking gang members in the library to put away their colors while in the library. It was frequently a terrifying experience; you try to handle the issue respectfully but you never know how the other guy is going to react. Fortunately, I never had a bad reaction.

What counts as disrespect when you’re sharing the highway with a pair of outlaw bikers? Passing them in the right lane seems disrespectful, because it frequently is exactly that, at least when I do it. “Go fucking faster” is what my bike is saying whenever that happens.

I really, really don’t want to communicate that particular message.

But do I follow along? Maybe that seems like I’m trying to edge into their business. Bikers are varied like that. I’ve found some people absolutely love the impromptu riding groups that sometimes pop up. You get into a group of riders, you follow them for a while because you’re all going the same way, it’s pretty fun.

But a sport rider trying to group up with a pair of one-percenters? Who knows what that looks like?

Since my only options were follow or pass, I decided ultimately the ambiguity of following in their wake was more respectful than a “fuck-you-right-lane-pass.” So I kept a good distance, focused on my commute, and wondered what, if anything, these guys were thinking about the blue rider on their tail in the full face helmet.

“Keep your distance, Chewie, but don’t look like you’re keeping your distance . . . I don’t know. Fly casual.”

A Meditation On Money

I spent last weekend doing exactly two things: I played a lot of the Old Republic and I did my taxes. In terms of maturity points, I calculate these actions balance each other out and leave me with a maturity balance of precisely zero. Which, I suppose, is better than have a negative balance.

Fortunately for me, doing taxes is actually a happy time since it means I’m going to get a nice check coming back from the government. It’s the one time in the year that I can feel good about the obscene amount of interest I’m paying off on some of my student loans. Those big-ass numbers on my 1098-E translate into fat deductions.

I won’t say that I grew up poor. I certainly don’t have the experiences on this list. But I also didn’t grow up wealthy. I remember the electric getting turned off more than once. The cable was turned off and reactivated with enough regularity to set one’s watch to it. Car repairs were something to be feared. Even then, it wasn’t until much later that I learned through discussion with my parents just how close to the knife’s edge we were sometimes. To their credit, they tried to conceal the truth from my brother and me as we grew up. Nevertheless, kids are perceptive little buggers and there was no way we couldn’t pick up on things like having the electric turned off or the worries when something broke on the car.

It wasn’t poor, but it was certainly close enough that I picked up a particularly bad habit when it comes to money: extra money has to be spent immediately:

When a windfall check is dropped in your lap, you don’t know how to handle it. Instead of thinking, “This will cover our rent and bills for half a year,” you immediately jump to all the things you’ve been meaning to get, but couldn’t afford on your regular income. If you don’t buy it right now, you know that the money will slowly bleed away to everyday life over the course of the next few months, leaving you with nothing to show for it. Don’t misunderstand me here, it’s never a “greed” thing. It’s a panic thing. “We have to spend this before it disappears.”

I understand this problem.

It’s why people can go bankrupt after winning the lottery. It’s why people can believe that they’re “just barely making it” on a household income of $250,000 per year. It’s why I don’t allow myself to think “if I just had a bit more money, I’d be fine.”

Sure, I have things I need to pay off. My student loans are a monkey I can’t wait to have off my back. More money would help with that, right?

Except that I don’t think that it would, not really. Here’s how my tax return showed me this sobering lesson.

My monthly budget is finally squared away. I’m caught up on all my loans. Nothing is delinquent.  I’m squaring things away on a personal debt that’s been on the books for a while. Things are looking good.

This tax return I’m getting could clear one of my smaller loans entirely and still have a bit left over. But as soon as I saw the number, my thoughts weren’t “oh man, I can pay my loan debt with this!”

My thought was “hey, I could use this on a new Kawasaki Z1000.”

Several weeks ago, I got the new motorcycle bug. My current bike is a 2005 Ninja 500 that I bought from my brother. It’s the bike I learned to ride on and it bears the scars from my efforts. It’s a good little bike but I’m hungry for something newer and faster.

I did some research and even talked to my credit union about taking out a loan. I was this close to signing it before I realized that the monthly payments were going to be uncomfortable. I walked away from it and went back to my old bike that makes weird noises sometimes and has cracks in its fairing, but is still mine. I own both my vehicles outright. No auto loans. But the craving for that shiny new beast is still on my thoughts and every so often, I’ll take a look at craigslist and Cycle Trader to see if there’s a good deal that I could snatch up.

The 2014 Z1000 retails for about $12,000. My tax return could pay off a student loan . . . or it could be the down payment on that shiny new motorcycle.

And here’s where the problem really starts gaining strength. With the Z1000 in my theoretical grasp, the idea of buying a cheaper bike is unappetizing. The truth is, I could buy a good used bike and pay cash. The truth is, I don’t even need a new bike because my Ninja 500 is running well and suits my needs perfectly.

That’s the problem. As soon as my financial grasp increases, so too does my reach. Three years ago, when I bought my first motorcycle, the used Ninja 500 was at the very limit of my means. I had to pay it off monthly. Now that I could pay cash for one, my hunger is for something that I can’t do that with.

This is why I don’t think highly of winning the lottery. I think it’s safe for the ego to assume that if one suddenly came into a big sum of money, their tastes wouldn’t grow accordingly. They would be content to continue to live at the same level of expense. I don’t think most of us are really that wise. I know I’m not. I can say “oh, I’d pay off my loans and then invest the rest,” but I don’t think that’s true. I think those dollar signs would crack my self-control like a raw egg and I’d be getting that shiny new motorcycle before I did anything else.

I’m not even getting back that much money. It’s certainly not “quit-my-job” money. But even that humble amount has my brain telling me to abandon all the financial plans I’ve laid out and BUY THE NEW SHINY. Figure the rest of that shit out later. Spend it before it’s gone and I’ll have nothing to show for it.

I’m resisting that urge. I’ve pulled myself out of my previous financial pit by sticking to a particular plan and every reasonable part of my brain is telling me that sticking to the plan is the right call. There will be other motorcycles in the future. Hell, if I stick to the plan, eventually I’ll be able to buy the motorcycle I want without taking out a loan. The only problem is that I’d be able to do that eventually instead of now.

But even though I know that, I still look at the pictures and I think . . . I think.

Maybe nobody else feels this way. Maybe I’m the only one. Maybe I’m just really that greedy at my core, that I want something that much that it overrides my common sense.

I’m sticking to my plan. I won’t give in. I just wish it wasn’t so damn hard.

A Cold Ride: A Short Story That Actually Happened

It was a cold December morning when I rode my motorcycle onto the interstate. My hands began to freeze beneath my two layers of gloves before I reached the five mile mark.

At the 20 mile mark, I started talking to myself.

How long does it take before frostbite starts to set in? I asked myself as the world blew past me at ninety miles an hour. I think this wind is giving me frostbite. The only thing I can feel under my gloves is pain.

Don’t be ridiculous, you can’t get frostbite if there’s no frost, I replied. It’s not called windbite. 

It’s thirty-four degrees and there’s a windchill factor involved, I argued. It might be frostbite. And look! There’s frost right over there! 

On either side of the highway, long rows of planted crops were sporting a very festive shade of white.

Well, shit I thought. I guess it could be frostbite.

Epilogue: When I arrived at my destination, I went inside and ran hot water over my hands for ten minutes and felt better. No fingers were lost. For a while, I was worried about my toes, but they’re still attached as well.

Various Thoughts

Usually, when I sit down to write a blog post, I have a particular topic or theme I want to discuss. This topic or theme then provides structure for my various musings and/or ramblings. On occasion, though, I find myself with lots of thoughts floating around in my head but without any larger theme to tie them together and you end up with a post like this: bullet points that are related to one another only in that I’m thinking about them at all.

  • I’m a week into my online class for my MLS degree. I’ve never taken an online class before and right away, I’ve noticed it is incredibly easy to blow off/procrastinate on my work. I’ve realized I need to structure a dedicated amount of hours into my day that are “class time” or else I’m never going to get anything done. I’ll let you know if this is successful.
  • I took a motorcycle ride up Mt. Lemmon on Sunday, even though I knew it was going to be insanely crowded with Labor Day weekend campers and picnickers. Is that how you spell that word? Picnickers? It doesn’t look right to me, but spell check is adamant, so I guess we’ll go with that. As far as the Mt. Lemmon ride was concerned, I knew it was going to be crowded but I was still amazed at just how crowded it was. Every single picnic and camping area was full. Several of them were so full that people had parked on the side of the road to have their picnics. It made me very glad that I was just going to ride up to the top of the mountain and then ride back down. Didn’t even have to look for a parking space.
  • I realized I still haven’t put away my suitcase from my trip to New York, even though it’s been almost a month. I’ve unpacked all my stuff, of course, it’s just that my suitcase is still sitting in the corner of my room. Is there a time limit on when it’s been out for too long? If so, I think I’ve already passed it.
  • I can’t believe it’s already September.
  • There hasn’t been any news about last month’s horrible python attack in Canada. I’ve been keeping an eye out for news, but there hasn’t been anything. There was one report that caused me to raise my eyebrows, however:

    A reptile store owner under investigation for criminal negligence in the deaths of two boys after a large python escaped its enclosure had blood on his hands and shorts when police arrived at the scene in Campbellton, N.B., according to newly released court documents. Jean-Claude Savoie was distressed and pacing outside Reptile Ocean on Aug. 5, when he said four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor were dead, police state in the documents

    Bold emphasis is mine. Wait, why didn’t this make the news anywhere else? Two kids are dead and there’s a guy with blood on his hands and shorts? That doesn’t raise any concerns? It doesn’t get mentioned again in the article, nor could I corroborate it with any other sources. Whose blood was this? Where did this blood come from? Either this particular reporter made this detail up or it’s been ignored because blood on a suspect’s hands isn’t nearly as sensational as a killer snake. Sigh.

Well, enough rambling for one evening, I think. I have things to do and I’m sure you do as well. And on an unrelated note, thanks for taking the time to read my strange little blog.

Riding In The Rain

This post is about riding motorcycles.

You can feel the raindrops breaking against you despite the leather jacket. Each one stings but doesn’t hurt. It feels good. Your hands are wet despite the gloves, which you wonder about until you remember that you’re wearing the gloves with perforations in them because it’s summer.  You know, to keep your hands cool. The soaked leather of your gloves feels good too.

Your focus is on the road in front of you. The oily puddles of rainwater and various coolant, oil, and other sundry liquids make you alert but not nervous. There’s a sense of daring as you ride around some and through others. Any one of them could be too much and then you’ll be on the side of the road, hopefully alive and unhurt, but no guarantees.

Even though you’ve ridden faster before, this is where you feel the edge most keenly. It’s a good feeling. The thrill of pushing right up to that precipice is a good one.

The crack of thunder is louder than your engine. You know it’s not safe to do this, it’s not recommended, but the idea of not doing it seems even worse.

It feels as though this moment was made for you. All of the choices of your life have led up to this time, this place, this road, this storm. You’re riding on the edge of the storm like a surfer riding the crest of a wave.

The sound and the rain and the engine and the road are your entire world at this moment. There is nothing else to think about. Nothing else matters right now. Later, it will, but not right now.

You don’t do this because you believe a lie about invulnerability. You don’t do this because of some fascination with death. No, this is all about life; this is about holding your life in your hands and savoring it and experiencing it with the full realization that it is a fleeting and precious thing. It slips by even faster than the road beneath you, even faster than the rain around you.

You ride the edge of the storm because you are alive and glad of it and when the lightning arcs across the sky in front of you, so brightly that it’s like a newborn sun even through your darkened visor, you don’t feel fear. You feel good. You feel alive and quick and full of promise.

You realize that this moment, this summer storm out on a desert road is a rare moment and you realize that there are too few moments like these and that they are rare and special things.

This one is yours; yours, and no one else’s.