Fast Youth

by - December 13, 2009

I had the opportunity to ride in a very loud, tricked out car tonight.  God, just saying 'tricked out' makes me feel old.  Anyway, the bass was so loud in this car that I felt like it was restarting my heart with each thump.  I could feel it pounding in my chest and the reverb stole the very breath out of my lungs.  It was awesome. 

Now, keep in mind, I am pretty terrified of vehicles: being in them, watching them, hearing them, seeing them parked...they scare the shit out of me.  When Dave and I are walking on the street and I see a car turning a corner I yank him back and throw him behind me in order to protect him from the tonnes of screaming medal coming at us.  And then I realize that it's only going 5km an hour, and we are nowhere near the corner.  Yep.  And this is why, at almost 30, I do not have a licence.

During this little car ride, I was asked how fast I have ever gone in a car before, and it made me remember how fast I had gone on a motorcycle before.   Back when I was a sullen 14-year-old (and we all know the stories), I had no fear.  I was immortal.  If I fell I wouldn't break; I would bounce, right?  Besides, if i ever DID break something, well, that was just bad ass at that age. 

My sister had a boyfriend at the time who owned a beat up street bike, and he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride.  Before he had even finished the question I had clambered up onto the back of that rickety thing, tucked my green polyester bell-bottoms into my socks, and was rolling my eyes with impatience in that annoying way that teenagers often do.  Taking my actions as a 'yes', he handed me a helmet and off we went.  And it was glorious.  All I could do for the first few minutes was laugh because my emotions were running so high that they just needed to come out of me.  I ventured to let go of his waist, and I never even dared to hold on again after that for fear of losing the high that I was experiencing.  That little thing went FAST.  It was amazing.  Bugs were squashing in my face, as the helmet had no shield guard on it, and I didn't care.  We got home and I wanted to go again.  My sister and her boyfriend took one look at me and started laughing.  I had been sucking on a red-colored candy during the ride and I guess I enjoyed myself so much that I drooled it all down the front of my white t-shirt.  Great, sticky candy on my shirt and bugs smooshed on my face.  Seriously though, it was so fun.  Bugs, candy and all.

Fast forward to only three years later, and a friend who owned a racing bike asked me if I wanted to go for a ride.  At that point, I was aware of my mortality and I was a bit weary.  I slowly walked over to the bike and sat on it, and was terrified, by decided to go for it anyway because you only live once right?  Before we started, he gave me some pointers as to how you need to fall lean with the bike into corners, and I was all 'piece of cake', except when it actually came to performing the action.  Whenever he would turn a corner, I would lean away from the turn, almost toppling the bike on several occasions and killing us in the process.  My friend had to stop his bike a few times to tell me again that I needed to lean with him, and that he had complete control of the bike my life.  I just couldn't do it.  He would turn, I would see the ground coming to greet my face, and I would freak out and lean away.  He eventually got frustrated with me and told me to get off.  I told him that if we wanted any help speeding up the process of his face being rearranged by the pavement, I could certainly help him with that.

This past year I had another friend ask me if I wanted to double with him on his Vespa to get from the bar we were currently at, to the one we were going to (he wasn't drunk yet, I was).  So I said sure! even though I know that if I was sober, I a) would be too scared to get on it, and b) wouldn't be caught dead riding doubles with a guy on a shaky old scooter in the middle of winter.  But, then I wouldn't have this story to tell.  So my friend explained to me that with a scooter, you don't need a licence or insurance because it is considered a bicycle or something.  Well thats a relief!  So any old douche can buy one of these and drive amongst traffic.  Hopefully with an expensive pair of leather gloves and a man scarf.  But one can only hope.  Since my friend had only just bought his scooter that day, let's just say he was umm...a little new about driving it.  So there I am, clutching on to him for dear life as he drives down the street, wobbling and warbling all over the place.  People are laughing and yelling at us, and I am fearing for my life and praying to whomever watches over drunks and motorcycle riders to please, please spare my life since I was both of those things at that exact moment.  Man, that bar didn't get to us fast enough, and I was very happy when we had parked and I was off.  But then I thought it would be cool to drive it myself.  So I did; squealing brakes and prayers forgotten, it was a blast.

Having said that, I am not sure that I would have the guts anymore to get on a real bike.  Maybe just to go around the corner and back.  Very slowly.  I like this body I am in, and I don't want it maimed or broken.  Maybe it's a sign of my age or something, but the next open vehicle I ride will be one kind only.  And I will tell Dave to eat my dust and race off into the sunset, while he runs after me and...catches up.  In three seconds.

Oh yes.  I was born to ride.

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