When my father died suddenly I asked my brother to keep his eyes peeled for a motorcycle that looked safe and only cost a few hundred dollars. I’d thought about learning to ride for years and my father’s passing sort of kick started my desire again. I figured if I hated it I was only out a few dollars and if I loved it I’d have something to share with my brother on weekends.
It didn’t take him long to find me a black 1981 Yamaha Maxim. I stored it under an old blue tarp near my woodpile and would uncover it, admire it, tinker with it, polish it. One day I threw the tarp aside, climbed aboard and headed off through the hills around my home in Pennsylvania. I found myself behind a car with two young ladies in the backseat. They were staring, waving, pointing at me, me, the nerd with a math degree, seasonal allergies and no game. It was probably the first time in my life I ever felt cool. A little while later I passed a father and son in their yard raking leaves. They waved, pointed and hollered as the Maxim’s throaty “airbox-less” growl drowned out their voices. I imagined the father yearning to get away and be where I was, feeling the wind in his face and the call of the open road. This sort of attention was exhilarating, life changing, things were gonna be different, I’d walk with confidence through the world, I’d be kickin’ ass and takin’ names from now on. The epitome of cool.
As I road home I was filled with confidence and bravado, the world seemed to stretch out before me filled with new possibilities. It wasn’t until I parked my trusty new steed and dismounted that I noticed the 8 foot long tarp I’d been dragging for the entire ride.
At that point I became just Bud again, with a whole lot left to learn.