Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Finally Arrives

It's been a seemingly endless winter here.  Spring lagged well behind any calendar scheduled arrival and family obligations meant more dust would settle upon the Vespa before I had the opportunity to ride old Kythera once again. 

One fine evening I mentioned how nice our weather had finally gotten and my wife asked me if I'd been riding anything at all yet this season.  I said I hadn't, and she asked why?

"Because there are lots of things to get done around here.  Kinda take priority, you know?"

"Those things will still be here when you get back," she remarked.  "Go ride.  Go take some time.  I'll be fine with the kids."

So I did.  I rolled the scooter into the center of the garage and set about the preliminaries.  Then, for some reason I'm not sure of myself, I gave a step through on the kick start.

Anyone whose owned a modern Vespa knows their kick starts can be temperamental at best and non compliant the rest of the time.  So I don't know why I even thought she'd fire up.  But she did.  One step through and a slightly harder push the second time caught spark.  I couldn't believe it.  I stood there and listened to that little LX's engine percolate until it settled into a warmed idle.

I buzzed all over the city and its outskirts.  Wider and wider circumferances until I was beyond the street lamps and traffic.  The sun was just about ready to bed for the night.  Summer clouds accumulated on the western horizon, bunched pillowy between it and the edge of the world.  Just the hint of coolness in the air.

To the spirit who rides, the bane of winter's ice and salt and sand is only broken in the succor of first rides like these.

Each lean brought more confidence.  Looking further out through the turn.  Lane placement and remembering how to ride fast without being dangerous slipped back into consciousness.  That grinning-too-long-inside-the-helmet feeling kept coming back.

By the time I rolled up the driveway I felt... lighter.  Revived.  A few hours of supplication to body and spirit in a way no bottle could ever match in redemption.  Never mind pouring courage until you get half way past the label. Just to get up the nerve to chase the sylphs before you head home in a stupor.  I've seen married guys do it.  I've seen them argue with the local gendarmes too.

Just give me two wheels and fuel.  You won't hear me complain.