Instead of taking the time to sit and write nearly daily as I promised myself, I allowed my ADD to get the best of me and have been distracted by a shiny: a motorcycle. But before I go into the motorcycle, a little detour, backstory, is needed. Originally, this post was supposed to be two separate posts. It is not because I got distracted. Instead, this will be a rather lengthy update, which is of no consequence as I can be a bit prone to blathering when putting my thoughts to “paper.” As a result, I apologize in advance for any distortion in logical presentation, or random jumping about. OCD and ADD are a dangerous combination. Right now, my brain is a jumble of thoughts, feelings, and impressions; they are reflected in my presentation below.
About a month ago, Charlotte was oddly late for the Foundation Board meeting. This was odd, as Charlotte is well known for her obsessive attentiveness to punctuality, and we were about to decide which of us was going to drive to Charlotte’s home to check in (if you call her, she most likely will not answer her phone). Before we could come to a decision, Charlotte strolls in with a smile on her face. She was late, and now grinning a large grin; I wondered if I needed to contact our legal people… We were all looking and wondering exactly what was to come when she informed us that if we wanted to know why she was late, then we could take a look in the parking lot. We knew that we may not want to look, but knowing that we simply had to know what caused this shift in Charlotte’s behavior, we stood and made for the door.
Exiting the Board Room and then the out of the door to the parking lot, we saw what was making Charlotte so pleased with the universe: it was a green, nineteen seventy-six Cadillac Eldorado. With a convertible top. She told us that she got it for a steal. Granted, it needs a bit of bodywork (and believe it or not, Charlotte used the term “TLC”), but it sounds great, runs well, and is an overall pretty pimp ride. Even more impressive than the car, was that Charlotte fully intends to do the restorative work on the vehicle herself. She did purchase new tires, that seemed more economical to her than buying the materials needed to change tires in order to do it herself. She also got a repair manual, air filter and spark plugs. All-in-all, she was learning what she needed to do. Good for her!
After a week or so, I dropped in on Charlotte to see how things were going. She had changed the air filter, and was currently in the process of solving her ride’s overheating issue. She left out the spark plugs. Before I could say anything, she thanked me for asking, and told me that she appreciated how I was staying out of her face. Then she further explained. Apparently, many of the friends that she shared her new car goodness and plans with, were discouraging. They were constantly telling her how difficult what she was going to attempt was, that it would be better to just pay someone else to do this or that, and she mentioned that someone even began the process of changing her spark plugs when she let him see the engine. She was annoyed and wanted to know why everyone was peeing in her lemonade. I told her that I had faith in her ability and that I stayed out of the way, because I respect her space. Then we had some coffee, veggie sandwiches, and some sex.
(Please forgive what may appear as distortions with the past/present tense in the previous paragraph, written strictly past tense read weird to me.)
There. Backstory complete. This backstory is relevant because it leads directly to my own recently acquired toy, which coincidentally, has a motor, and was produced in nineteen seventy-six. Shades of Charlotte. More than you can expect.
Last week, I had the fortune to acquire a motorcycle. Mind you, I have never ridden a motorcycle, but I have struggled with resisting their appeal. Many of my associates ride bikes, so I am surrounded by them in some sense. I had been planning to get one for some time now, and had decided that I would buy one in February or March of next year; then I would have time to learn to ride, get proper endorsement, and have almost six months of riding time versus two or three. However, an opportunity arose and I just had to seize the moment.
A friend of a friend was selling an old motorcycle. Cosmetically, the motorcycle was decent and it did not run at the time. Yet, whatever was causing the bike to not function was allegedly an easy fix. The fellow selling the motorcycle was asking one hundred dollars for it, and I could not pass up the opportunity, which had now become and awesome dual-opportunity: not only could I get a bike, I could learn how to repair it, restore it, and then roll around Samurai City and the hills of Old Mission in the open air on a vintage motorcycle. I could be Charlotte’s two-wheeled counterpart, kicking old school nineteen seventy-six style around Michigan.
And so, I purchased the motorcycle. The next day. I purchased a battery and spark plugs. However, I had discovered that my adventure would be the same as Charlotte’s. Almost identical to hers. I did get to put one of the spark plugs in and the battery. However, the rest of the work was taken from me. Apparently, there are things involved in the process that are easy to mess up and instead of walking me through a hands-on experience, someone else did the work. I appreciated the help greatly, but the feeling of satisfaction from my own creation was being sapped.
The new battery and the spark plugs, combined with draining the old gas from the tank (another procedure I watched rather than did, more sap-age), and refilling with new (which I did) and the motorcycle not only started, but it sounded awesome. It has an oil leak and will require new gaskets possibly. I was told where to get the gaskets (instead of being able to take a look and find them on my own). I was allowed to remove the headlamp to begin the process of changing the front signal lights out, but I was stopped at one and the work done by another. The flasher was not working and something was crossed in the signal wiring, however, I was fortunate in having someone else to solve that problem for me. All the while, I was being reminded of the need to change out some screws to replace with bolts, the changing of the gaskets, and how difficult this will all be to do and that it should not be taken lightly. Pretty soon, all of the “I” in my project became “we.”
I realize that I may be starting to sound like an ungrateful prick. Apparently, the main goal should be for me to get the bike road-ready and get riding. However, I do not appear to be understanding that. My main goal is the satisfaction of saying: “I did that.” There is a satisfaction in accomplishing something for the first time, something that you have never done. The joy of hard work. I fully accept that I could make some foolish error and be forced to get the bike to a mechanic to undo my mistake (if possible). Yet, is that not my mistake to make? Is that not part of learning? Getting the motorcycle running today is not going to make much benefit to me, I still have to get the endorsement for it on my license and learn how to ride the damn thing. I still need a helmet. I have not bought one yet so I do not foolishly tempt myself to hop on and ride the bike before I should be.
I understand that my approach may take me the rest of the summer to get on this motorcycle, but in the end, I will be more satisfied with the outcome. The time taken is not a problem for me, it took me at least three, maybe four years to become shodan in jujitsu. If I could do that in three or four years, I can fix a motorcycle in a month or two. Some may agree with me, but then, they do not understand jujitsu; if they did, they would understand my mindset.