The Middle Aged Rider

I mentioned that I’ve been in a bit of a running gunfight with some folks about how we motorcyclists treat and talk about each other.  In all honesty it’s a bit because I feel a kinship with those who ride their motorcycles rather robustly.  Yes, I ride too fast and occasionally do things I shouldn’t.  I just do.  It’s part of my internal wiring, of who I am, of how I do business. 

Since I feel a bit besieged I made an attempt to figure out just who the hell all these angry safety evangelists are.  Through a process looking over their posts and trying to find their forum introductions I’m coming to an interest opinion.  

Most are middle aged .  Face it, that’s when you can afford that new bike you’ve been dreaming of for the last couple decades.  .

Most are returning or new riders with 1 to 3 years of experience.  Right at that point where you’re pretty sure you’re the shizz and are willing to let people know how they’re doing it wrong. 

A lot of them are angry with the government and how intrusive it is…which is either odd or average–to be bitching about be told what to do out of one side of their mouths while demanding nobody tell them what to do.   

And finally:  they really, really don’t like it when people have fun and get away with it.  I think it may be a bit of the puritan ethic coming out–you know, no evil deed goes unpunished, somehow you’ll pay for that sin of not wearing a DOT/SNELL/CE full face helmet.  Honest.  I’ve been around these sorts of people all my life.  The kind that when they see someone doing something they can’t (won’t) do point and say, “They’re not really happy doing that…and besides they’ll either die in drunk driving accident or their liver will fail.  They may LOOK happy but they’re not.”

Been there.  Heard that.  Still hear it from the safety obsessed middle aged guy who looks at a kid in shorts and a baseball hat and is only reminded of what he no longer is.

Middle aged, midlife crisis riders are a curious lot.  Generally I like them but they run into a lot of problems taking advice.  OH, they LOVE to give advice, whether you ask for it or not.  These are the guys who’ll confront you at the water cooler or the gas pump and give loads of unsolicited (often unfounded) advice.  They like “Tough Love” and “Telling the Truth” and generally trying to shave everybody’s buzz.  The world is black and white and they wear the white hat.  “I know that guy will thank me for lecturing him on the dangers of not having enough retro reflective material…”

This obsession with doing it right and being right isn’t just a figment of my imagination.  My oldest son was working at a call center for a satellite TV provider and everybody there feared one character:  Middle Aged Men.  See, when you’re trying to help you have a strict script to follow–you start diagnosing by literally having the customer turn the machine off and back on to get a reset.  Then you follow a protocol that works through the most common scenarios and hopefully find the problem.

Apparently when you ask a 50 year old man to “turn the machine off and back on” you get a lot of “I’ve done that!”  Followed by a lot of failure to listen as said 50 year spends an eternity telling you what they think the problem is instead of simply listening and following instructions.

This may explain why midlife riders are so quick to latch onto things that make no sense to me.  For instance I’ve been reading a lot of chatter about how one of the best ways to decide if you should ride with someone goes like this:

1.  Do they wear a helmet.  (Yes?  OK.  NO?  They aren’t sufficiently concerned about their own melon and probably aren’t good riders.)

2  IF hey wear a helmet do they wear full gear?  (Again, if they don’t meet your standards?  They are…you got it!  Not sufficiently concerned about safety, probably a poor rider and should be avoided.)

3.  IF they pass the ATGATT test ask them about “Countersteering”.  (If they can’t explain it?  Yup, don’t ride with them.)

If you’re thinking that middle-aged safety oriented fellows are busy looking for reasons not to ride with other people?  You’d be right.  I’m not a “Let’s get 30 friends and go for a ride” kind of guy.  I LIKE riding along but I’m not adverse to sharing the experience.  

Are all middle aged riders bad guys?  Nope.  But the really vocal minority you find on the interweb are often a special kind of asshole. 

Take it from me!  I know what I’m talking about.  I’m almost 50 years old.  

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Motorcyclist, Rider, Biker? What is ya?

Yup.  Ask a guy with a motorcycle to define himself and odds are the only ones who will give a straight answer is the guy in the black vest and he’ll say:  Biker.

Call a guy with a helmet and riding suit a Biker and you’ll catch hell.

It’s amazing how much fragmentation we have in RiderWorld…er BikerWorld… I mean Motorcycle World.

Got it. 

 

 

Mitt Romney: Empty Vessel

Mitt-a-tronic has a problem.  He is an empty vessel.  Rather than define himself he has spent a political career of, what, 14 years simply being whatever it is you want him to be.  Really.  It’s a bit like a prostitute–he’s anything you need or desire.  When he does speak he does it in a manner that allows you the client to hear what you want to hear; he speaks the sweet nothings that we can twist into whatever meaning we wish. His craving is to be desired so he doesn’t want to be anything–unless it’s the thing you want–in which case he’s ready and willing to be it.

Remember that girl in high school?  The one that tried so hard to be wanted?  That was satisfied with your interest?  That just wanted to be desired?

Mitt.

And that’s OK because I believe that in order to make the wide and varying statements of belief that he has and retain his Mormon-ness he honestly doesn’t know what he’s said.  Is he more “Gay rights than Ted Kennedy?”  Yes, if that’s what you want to hear.  Then, like our religion when it comes to the past?  It’s the past–he lets it go and doesn’t want to speak of it.  Latter-day Saints have no idea how to publicly discuss polygamy or blacks and the Priesthood so we simply ignore it.  That is one of the powers that Empty Mitt uses; the ability to openly admit and then openly ignore the past is a beautiful, powerful and dishonest thing.

Mitt has no development of position.  His moves are craven and selfish, sudden and profound, and without conscience.  “Just like me,” he seems to say, “And I’ll be anything you wish.  Words have no meaning and cast no shadow over the present or the future.  What you want me to be now is the thing.”

A bad joke that clearly plays to the fanatic, to the fringe, to the racist?  “Just a little joke.”  How can Governor Romney say that?  Because it’s just words and words have no meaning or staying power.  We have seen the nomination of nothing.  If Mitt wins (and I don’t think he will–he gives Independents like me the creeps) he will disappoint and fail the Republican Party.  Why?  Because in his burning desire to be loved he will choose America over the GOP and he will not do what they believe he will.  In fact, didn’t he just say “Medicare will not change?”

And it won’t.  Paul Ryan ain’t getting all that cost cutting Mitt is against…because they are the exact same cuts Obama wants.  I know, you know, Mitt knows ain’t nothing gonna change–baby boomers are just too angry and vote too dang much.

Because Mitt Romney is a political whore and if elected he’ll play to his new patron:  The Status Quo.  All those things you think he said to you?  Gone like the perfume from your pillow the next day, because Mitt will lay down with somebody else.

Ahhh People

Don’t you love them?  Got done reading another “I ALMOST DIED TODAY!” forum post on a (you guessed it) motorcycle forum.  How close was it?  Did the sizzle of the Reaper’s scythe sear your ear?  Did Death get a firm grip on you and then you shook it loose?   Did you trade paint or leave a little denim/cortech/mesh on someone’s fender?

No?

Wait.  What?

What is your definition of close?   Here’s one that claims to be close…but ain’t:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVBuPRhFS5M

Did you see it?  Did you feel it?  Me neither.  Now, I will admit that a wide angle lens makes things looks…well, farther way when far  away but it also makes things look CLOSE when they are.  I never felt threatened.  You’re right amigo–that just wasn’t that close.  In fact the video description has the usual disclaimers about “if I hadn’t been paying attention” or “If this was a two lane road” stuff.

IF the Germans had finished on the Western Front instead of the opening a campaign in Russia we would all be speaking German…or at least learning it because it would be the language of England and Europe.

Riders, especially new ones, want everything to be OMG close.  Which it ain’t.   It may be new and different and frightening but it wasn’t close.

Here’s closer to “close”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWciM89Uv7c

Yeah and the guy who posted it admits he was asleep at the wheel.   As a rider you never have a close call unless you’re asleep at the wheel or doing something stupid.  Close calls come by nature when you’re startled and didn’t see it coming.  When it’s over you’re pretty impressed you’re still upright.  Watching a car drift over the line a foot and adjusting to maintain your space cushion isn’t close–that’s just good, heads up riding.

LOOK AT ME!

SO.  This knucklehead that’s been talking smack about OMCs finally gets really, really pissed because I call him a troll and an attention whore.

Which, he swears, he ain’t.

Next thing he does is start a thread called “Why did I get called a Troll?”

Yes, I was wrong to call him troll.  If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.  It’s a duck.

Attention Whore was way, way more accurate.