Sometimes I miss the motorcycle, the shimmery emerald green Triumph Thunderbird that I sold off to pay for my race trailer. I never could quite get comfortable with myself on it, and even though it was hard to let it go, watching that tiny little lady from Fort Cobb ride away on it was easier than I thought it would be, and easier than listening to My Mom have a fit about it every time the subject came up. She had enough reason though; my oldest brother crashed a bike and nearly lost a leg.
I just couldn't get used to working a clutch with my hand and shifting gears with my foot, not even on the cheap ol' Yamaha that I bought from the wrecker auction just to "practice with," so I sold it off to put the money toward the Triumph payments and I was perfectly content to just ride on the back. I rode with Dave every chance I got -- the first close look I got at a Ford Escort ZX2 was when one passed us on the left and then made a right turn across in front of us over by the Gilcrease QuikTrip; she pulled into the driveway of a house right there in the neighborhood and when we got home, I was so mad I was ready to get right in my car and go back over there but Dave wouldn't let me -- I kept my lugwrench under the driver's seat even way back then. Those first couple years after Dave died, I missed riding with him just as much as I missed everything else about him, and I'd get on just about any bike and ride away with just about anybody who'd let me. If it weren't for Clay, I might've tried to charm one last ride on the Triumph with the lady who bought it -- she was only about half my size though...
Like I told Clay in the car tonight, I miss riding, I miss sitting up there; I don't miss encounters like we had with that dumb bitch in the ZX2. There's a place out on the highway between Tulsa and Sand Springs that always seems a little cooler than usual; I've felt it in the convertibles, I've rolled the windows down to feel for it in a regular car, but it's the best, the most intense, on the bike. I have no idea how it works, but no matter how hot it is, there's always this little bit of a breezy cool spot out there, and it's amazing to ride through it on the bike. I miss feeling that cold spot out on 412 with my entire body, I do not miss wondering who's gonna try to run us over.
Both of my brothers and a few of my friends ride; I try not to be one of those people who worry all the time. I am not one of those people who hassles others about wearing a helmet 'cause I know I didn't always want to wear mine; I pray God's Grace over all of 'em 'cause I know He saved me from harm many more times than even I know about.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends got hit by a car on her way to work. There's a FaceBook post that'll make ya feel all sick inside: "T-boned on the bike." I cried when her sister posted that; I cried even harder when she logged on to tell the story herself. She saw it coming and did all she could do; after the hit at highway speed, she kept it together long enough to get it to the shoulder and get stopped, then put the stand down and fall off. The guy driving the car "didn't see" the bike. I cried when I handed the computer to My Mom so she could read it, I cried when she read it out loud to my brother.
Tonight when I got home, there were a couple FaceBook posts about a wreck involving a car that had pulled out in front of a motorcycle out toward the edge of Owasso -- one post was was a basic "avoid the area, fatality, traffic tie-up," the other was more emotional, "this looked really bad, call your people and check on 'em." Oh, FaceBook, making the world smaller and smaller, showing us stories we might not ever hear from strangers... In the FaceBook comments, there was a post from someone who stopped his car to try to help, he told of how he'd held this man and talked to him and tried to keep him from slipping away. He didn't know a name, he didn't recognize a face, he just saw someone in need of help, so he stayed to help; he said the man died right there in his hands fifteen or twenty minutes after the crash.
Tonight, thanks to FaceBook, I've shed tears for someone I don't even know... Or, well, I hope it's not someone I know...
I guess dying in the hands of a stranger who's offering kindness is better than dying alone -- I just hope nobody I Love has to spend their last fifteen or twenty Earthly minutes hurt and looking into the eyes of a stranger just because somebody "didn't see" 'em.