Friday, July 27, 2007

Past Meets Present

The early days of my riding experience involved people who were in social and emotional transition. From a youthful unencumbered outlook on life to an adult perspective. Often times those periods involved a great deal of uncertainty. Experimentation and far too often, failure.

We were connected by our love of motorcycles and the rides we took on them. The bikes were anything a rider could afford. The rides often began with a basic idea (head west) but no real destination. As much as we weren't sure where our rides might take us, most of us had no idea where our lives were headed.

You think you're special when you're young. That what you do is unique to your group of friends.

Gradually our lives found direction. Our rides became fewer as getting ahead in this world took precedence over wallowing in self contemplation. We were growing up. A few faded from the group while others stayed on. Occasionally a new rider would appear but never stay with us for long. Familiar faces long absent from the rides would return and it seemed that while life had changed us the rides were our constant. Sometimes someone's old girlfriend would return.

That could create a mess but that's all I'm going to say about that.

So we went on to school, got real jobs and moved all over the country. We found enduring relationships and still laugh about how damn lucky we are to have found her when we talk over the phone.

The past is gone, the memories remain.

Each year those memories get a little sweeter. Seem a little better than they really might have been. Try hopping on the same bike you did twenty years ago and you'll see what I mean. Walk down the same street you cruised in your youth. Its not the same. We inhabited that time in our lives. We can only visit those places and hope to see the old landmarks still in place.

But you can't talk to a building.

Its hard not to gravitate to the same kinds of folks you grew up with. You know where you fit in the mix. If you're lucky you meet someone who understands much of your own past on a level of personal experience. You find out that this guy rides and another connection is formed. So you go for a few rides. And then it happens. That... synchronized riding thing... I don't know what to call it. It just happens. You look over at your buddy and he's turning to you at the same moment and that freakin' grin is on his face. The same stupid one you know you're wearing. Its like the old days all over again.

The clincher is this isn't just about riding with someone you got to know and like. Its about riding with someone you feel safe riding with. Someone whose habits and style are like people you're familiar with. This friend of mine is great to ride with because most importantly I feel safe around this guy. Even when he's having a little fun I know how to react. Know what to expect.

The freedom to relax a little on the rides is what I remember from years past. To ride with someone else and be free to think about whatever crosses one's mind. Because I knew what to expect in the other's riding style. Its a freedom in itself to be able to predict the other's moves.

Maybe that's all the past I'll ever need in the present.



Conchscooter said...

How very true, and you are a lucky man to have more tha n one person to connect to the past. I feel lucky enough with one long time friend with whomI get to ride from time to time when we are on the same continent. And those feelings resurface each time.

gary said...

Harv, your writing just keeps getting better. Nice job on this one. I'm sure you realize that this piece will resonate with just about anyone who reads it, and rides with friends.

Well done.


American Scooterist Blog said...

Conchscooter, I think you have something much more amazing than most. You've ridden and still can, in places where this whole scooter thing began. A much broader experience but yes, I understand it comes at a price. Its great to hear from you.


American Scooterist Blog said...

Gary, thanks. I really didn't realize it until I read what you wrote. I really appreciate your insight.

Still have a LOT to catch up on the blogs. And I can't seem to comment on Little Billy's site. argh


irondad said...

Do you have a google account? You should have from your site. I think that's what you need for Bill's site.

What Gary says is true about this post resonating with those who ride with friends. You've been passing up the day to day stuff more and touching upon deeper topics. The posts make us think. Thanks for that.

My situation regarding riding with others has sort of evolved into a unique area. Would you be offended if I put up a post on my blog that is basically an expanded comment on your post?

Bryce said...

It resonates with me, but in a different way. Still being in my 20s, I know what you mean about inhabiting a place and time, but I'm also not done with it yet. So it's hard to look at it as I may in another decade.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Irondad, take it away. Expanding on an idea is what critical thought is about. We reach an understanding which leads to better questions. Looking forward to it :)

Bryce, I think you understand better than you care to admit haha. The past was only a moment ago...

Thanks guys


Bryce said...

Too true. The past was only a moment ago. I guess I feel it a bit differently because I've run into circumstances so many times in my life that have required me to move forward and inhabit new spaces and points in time. That and I don't go really back to any of the old stomping grounds I had in slightly younger days.