Apr 25, 2009

Some Guys Will Whine about Anything

It's true. Even a gift horse can be a pain in the ass. When I was a kid, I dreamed about doing the things I do everyday now. I hid and slept under a crappy desk in a western Kansas 4-track recording studio just to be there when the band came the next day, so I could pretend to be a studio employee to the band and a member of the band to the studio owner. My plan was to find a way to make myself useful and become a recording engineer. The studio owner wasn't fooled and he always immediately tossed me out. I quit that dodge when I was 15 or 16, since I was in a real band by then and could get into studios legitimately, sort of.

Now, I not only have the run of a number of recording studios, but my day gig is teaching others how to work in studios. A big part of the teaching gig is getting to play with incredibly expensive recording equipment in facilities that I had a big hand in designing. Some days I whine about having to go to work.

Thursday night, I picked up a brand new Kawasaki Versys 650 and was told to ride it for at least 400 miles and report on what I thought of the bike. On top of that, I will get paid for riding someone else’s bike for a day. Yep, I can whine about that, too.

The night I picked up the bike, it was slightly over 70F. I put in 50 quick miles north of the cities and went home after a long day. The next day was an even longer day at work and I came home nursing a flu and hurting everywhere. Saturday morning, I woke up creaking like a rusty door hinge. My sinuses had been jammed all night, my throat was sore, my eyes were dripping like British Columbian waterfalls. I had a bike to ride and the day’s high temperature would be somewhere around 50, but it was 39F when I hit the road that morning.

I was wrapped up like an Eskimo mummy, bagged from head to toe in Aerostich gear, helmet, boots, double sock, and long underwear. I was still shivering, even though I could hardly move in my gear. Without being able to fire up my new heated vest, I was back in the stone age of basic insulation, high on decongestants and coffee, and on the edge of mutiny. But I volunteered to do 400 miles this weekend and I was damned if I’d back out. I half-hoped I’d die trying, though. I practically filled my helmet with snot and every stop required a song-and-dance of pulling off gear to get to my snot rag and emptying my head of half of my bodily fluids.

You can read about the Versys in next month’s MMM, but suffice to say if it had been a Hyosung I’d have ridden the damn thing into a river and hitched a ride home after 100 miles or less. It’s a testament to Kawasaki’s engineers that I kept at it and even enjoyed the riding part of the day.

Tonight I’m reaping the rewards of ignoring my body’s powerful “stay in bed” signals. I may never breathe through my nose again. I’ve practically twisted the damn appendage from my face, wiping it with every soft cloth in the house. My knees are killing me, my back needs a rack and a bed of nails to relieve me of the pain, and my eyes are being pushed out of my skull by my sinuses. If I can work my way back to “weepy” I’ll feel almost human.

Along the way, I realized that I have settled into “old man’s disease.” Instead of being thrilled to be riding something new, I was a little discomforted by not being on my own familiar, personalized, convenient, well-suited for my style and body V-Strom. I’ve never been particularly envious of the possessions of others, but I’m taking that lack of competiveness beyond healthy and into “if it’s not my bed, I can’t sleep in it.”

Which, by the way, is also true. I absolutely can not sleep in hotel/motel beds.

I’ve made my V-Strom so much my bike that anything else is likely to be uncomfortably unfamiliar. I have places to store stuff, places hide from weather, all of the emergency gear I ever need, and grips, a seat, bars, and other geegaws to make me feel at home. This is probably the bike I’ll own for the rest of my life, not that I expect that to be saying much.


  1. This is the story of how grown-ups are no longer able to pay themselves in a currency of their own excitement (which is largely how the motorcycle industry extracts so much free work from young men). Instead, the analytical part of the brain is able to clearly recognize shit and so label it.


  2. Air-filled running shoes with purple swooshes fail to excite? The Lambo languishes? The dry-sailed 12-meter sways gently on its bearers, with never a squeak from its many well-oiled titanio blocks and fittings?


  3. All that and more. I have a canoe to float around my dinky urban lake, a couple of reliable motorcycles, a 10-year-old stationwagon, a working riding mower, and too many household projects for one lifetime. We are clearly not doing our part to help the economy come roaring back.

  4. Bitch, bitch, bitch
    Damn man, get over yourself
    Do you TRY to get pissed?
    Naw...you sound like a journalist

  5. Nah, it comes naturally.


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