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Vroom Vroom Squawk

Mood: Gettin’ things done
Drinking: Tea from the ‘bucks

Let’s start October off with a poem, shall we?

This one’s short and sweet and not brand new, and I’ve swapped the red motorcycle for one that’s blue. But it’s a poem, nevertheless, and it fits the way I feel today…

Duck, Duck, Goose

A small family fills the yellow crosswalk.
Mother, father, and tow-headed toddler
dragging a ridiculously wheeled duck
on a string.
The bird’s wilted wings
scrape across the striped cement
flapping futilely for some kind of freedom.

I sit at the stop sign, already in gear
repeatedly revving the engine of my red Vulcan
thinking, “I do not have time for this kid
and his goddamn duck.”

As it turns out,
I do.

-Lo, forever learning to not be in such a hurry.

The Optimistic Pessimist

Mood: Wake and Ache
Drinking: Tea Time

I have no idea, really, whether the glass is half full or half empty. Seems to me that it’s changing all the time, so it’s difficult to accurately gauge that sorta thing.

Boy would probably say that my glass is half empty. And he’d be right, half the time.

I do tend to see the darker side of Sears. The monsters in the closet, beneath the bed, outside the window. But I have a soft spot for fluffy bunnies, too, so I don’t fit in the box quite so easily.

I have this thing, a superstition, really, that if I can imagine the worst possible outcome, then it won’t happen. When I drop Boy off at the airport, I imagine his plane will crash. When I leave the LeeLoo at home in the morning, I imagine she’ll be dognapped. When I’m riding my motorcycle, Shirley, I imagine a semi will blow a red light and smash us to pieces. Set me up with any situation, and I’ll take all of two seconds to think of the worst that could happen.

In this way, I’m protecting us all. Because if I think it, I’ll jinx it, and it won’t come true. Twisted logic, I know, but it works for me.

My superstitions don’t run the usual course of black cats and broken mirrors and listing ladders. Mine are much more violent than seven years of bad luck. But so far, my imagination has kept me and mine out of trouble.

So it’s not really a half-finished glass. I imagine the nightmare because I want the dream. And usually reality lands safely somewhere in between. I guess I’ve learned, over the years, that if you own up to all the terrible things that could happen to you, every single day, then you’re happier in the end because they *don’t* happen. So you’re grateful. You’re aware of what you have.

You don’t take your life for granted.

You don’t believe me? Here’s a recent example…When I broke my wrist in February, out in the sand dunes at Pismo Beach, I spent much of the agonizingly bumpy ride to the hospital imagining horrible things. Amputation. A shrivelly, withered appendage. Floppy, useless fingers. I covered them all.

So here we are, 6 months later, freshly discharged from therapy, and my wrist is decidedly not what it used to be. It works, but it’s not quite right. When I make a fist, it looks a little funny. My flailing hand gestures are much less eloquent, a little more robotic. I can’t get enough extension to ride a bicycle painlessly or pump out a pushup. And compared to my fully-functional right wrist, my left looks like a gimp. BUT. It’s not withered or useless or amputated. So! Bonus for me! It’s no dream, but it’s not a nightmare, either. So I’m celebrating in the middle ground somewhere in between.

Whatever works, right?

-Lo, who always thought a lucky rabbit foot wasn’t really so lucky for the rabbit.

Betty Blue, She’s So Fine

Mood: Anticipatin’
Drinking: Nu-uh

It’s a great day for a motorcycle ride.

And that’s just what I’m gonna do. What we are gonna do. And I’m not ridin’ bitch on the back of some boy’s Harley, either. (I’m not necessarily anti-Harley, but I don’t think that Harleys are the be-all end-all of cycles, either.)

I used to happily ride bitch. I few times I even fell asleep b/c the road was smooth and the sun was warm and the motor was purring and I just couldn’t help myself. So I’d nod off but somehow manage to hang on and it would freak the Boy right out. He used to joke that he was going to get himself one of those T-shirts that says (on the back) “If you can read this, the bitch fell off.”

But I soon got bored with the backseat. There wasn’t a whole lot to do except hang on, stare around and try not to clonk your helmet into his helmet when he came to an unexpected stop. So after awhile I stopped riding along and Boy got offended. He thought that either I had lied and didn’t really like motorcycles or that he must smell real bad. Neither of those are true. I just expected more from my motorcycling experience.

So Boy got all brilliant and signed me up for a motorcyle-riding class. At first I wasn’t that into the idea. I hadn’t seen many girls riding bikes and most of the ones I had seen fit more into the “broads” class. Their skin was more leathery than the fringed chaps that they loved so much. They were also unnecessarily into riding in bikini tops, wrinkled stomach flab hanging over and obscuring their turquoise belt buckles. No thanks.

But San Francisco is a two-wheeled town, the streets full of all manner of bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. So I decided that maybe I could be a scooter-girl. An Amelie in the driver seat. And Boy convinced me that the motorcycle class would serve me well as a Sassy Scooter Maiden. So I went.

First there was the classroom thing with the book-learning version of riding. (Here is the clutch, here is the throttle.) There were a few too many of the Driver’s Ed style videos with the horrible acting and violently grinning talking heads saying stuff like “Always wear your helmet. It’s the law in California. If you don’t wear it, the whole world will see the exact color and consistency of your brain matter as it smears across the pavement like so much cream cheese.”

I had never paid much attention when Boy was in the driver’s seat, and I had never ridden a dirt bike, so I had some trouble remembering to shift with my toes. So the first day on the driving range as 20 of us lined up in our jeans and boots and martian-sized helmets, I kept muttering to myself “Clutch on the left hand. Gas on the right.” And then the instructor pointed me to a little red Nighthawk and my Scooter delusions skipped right out of my head.

Even backseat bitches will tell you there’s nothing like riding a motorcycle. The freedom. The exhilaration. The power. Well, when you’re the one doing the actual riding instead of just sitting, you can multiply all that exhilaration by ten thousand.

From the moment I first rolled on the gas and leaned into my very first turn, I was a goner. I loved it. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out that I was a motorcycle rider. I couldn’t wait to get my license and hit the open road for real. And Boy, he knew it all along.

The day I finished my class and received the little white piece of paper that told the DMV to give this girl a Class M license, Boy picked me up in the Jeep, drove me home and rolled open the garage door to reveal a shiny blue motorcycle of my very own. It was better than Christmas.

She was so obviously a chick ‘cycle, so obviously meant for me. Tall enough to make room for my long legs, thin enough to let me lane split without fear of taking off car mirrors and blue like the blue of the morning sky on this fine motorcycle ridin’ day. I named her Betty Blue. (I name everything. Our Jeep’s name is Dana, and he’s a sexy gay man.)

Betty Blue is a badass bitch of a cycle. If she were a human she’d be a Betty Page in boots and garters. We’ve been together for nearly two years now. And when the rainy season keeps us indoors, I start to get an itch in my throttle hand and begin making random comments to strangers like, “God, I miss Betty!”

So when I woke up a few minutes ago and saw that the sky is the perfect twin to Betty’s gas tank, well, I started shinin’ my riding boots.

I’m going to let Boy sleep in but as soon as he’s up we’re going to fire up our bikes and head down Highway 35 through the mountains and the woods to Alice’s for a biker-sized burger. Then we’ll cut over to the Pacific Coast Highway and head back north along the beach, watching the sun turn the surf to liquid light and listening to the hum of our engines pulling us home.

-Lo, who is in no danger of becoming a gearhead.