It was getting late in the day. Over the past several days when lacing my boots I’d noticed that one of the laces was beginning to fray. I’d told myself that I needed to get new strings, maybe this time two pair so I’d have one in reserve. I had put it off and I had put it off.
Well it was late in the day, I was alone and nothing was holding me down. Perhaps it was a good time to run up to Walmart and get the needed boot laces. The bike was already sitting outside the garage door awaiting its being put away for the night. It was a nice evening. Temperatures were falling off a bit, the air was refreshing, and traffic was light. I do love to hear the pipes sing. On the way to the store I was thinking of my bragging recently that I couldn’t take this bike anywhere without someone wanting to talk about her. Perhaps I overstated but there were times.
I rolled into the Walmart parking lot and was surprised at how empty it seemed. Normally I would turn across the front of the store and ride back out one of the rows to see where the right parking spot was available. I did anyway but the lot was wide open. The Walmart has two entryways. The near leads into the old style Walmart fare and the further one into the grocery half. I always tend to park near the first entrance and did again, nothing much was around my space.
As I was removing gear and preparing to dismount I noticed two young ladies (I’m sixty-nine. They’re all young.) walking toward the door. They were addressed by a man walking with his wife obviously from the far doors. “That one’s closed. The other one is open. Better hurry. They close at eight thirty.” Eight thirty!? What has this panic done to us? How does closing the Walmart, normally twenty-four hour, at eight thirty make any sense? The two girls broke into a run toward the far doors.
I checked my watch. Yep, it was indeed closing on eight thirty. I began my trek across the parking lot to the grocery doors. I approached the doors where they had the near side taped off encouraging people to walk on past some twenty-five feet to line up for entrance. No one was in line but there was a Walmart lady with a watch just outside the door. “You’ve got one minute,” and she passed me through.
Once inside I could hear the announcements for “Get your stuff and proceed to the checkouts.” I hurried back to the shoe section. On the laces rack the pickings were slim. Apparently lots of folks were wearing out their laces. The last pair I had settled for were yellow and red sixty-six inches against the black boots. I hadn’t liked them but they grew on me. I was looking for the same to replace. There were no yellow and red laces among the sparsely hung racks. I’d have to settle for black. There were none of sixty-six inches. Maybe that much wasn’t needed. I normally loop the laces large and tuck the excess in around my boots. There was a black set of sixty inches. I had to search a bit to find a second sixty inch set but I found them. I took both sets and headed for the register. I took the direct route through the bras and panties. I was in a hurry so I didn’t buy any this time.
I exited the doors as the store began to look more and more like a deserted place. I began the long walk across the lot. My bike, Daisy Mae, was all alone by now and there was a tall young man walking around her. He held his smart phone up high and occasionally paused to look more closely at something on the bike. As I approached he spoke to me.
“It’s a very nice bike.”
“Yes, I like her a bit.”
“Is it alright that I record?” His English was broken but he spoke with a heavy accent revealing that English was not his native tongue.
“Sure. No problem.” (Yes, I know it should have been surely but sometimes it appears that English is not my native tongue.)
“What is it?”
“It’s a Honda, a Valkyrie.”
“That’s a big engine.”
“It’s the same as you’d see on a Goldwing but with six carbs instead of two.”
“Wow! Six carburetors!”
“It has less plastic to show off the engine. It’s sort of a hot rod version of the Goldwing. They made them from nineteen ninety-seven until two thousand three.”
“I used to have a motorcycle but not as big as that one.” He sorted through pictures on his phone to show me a bare v-twin in black.
“I like it. It’s stripped down and looks agile. I like that. That what I like about this one. I have bikes with bags and fairings but I tend to like this one best.”
I was mounting up now. He asked if he could hear it run. I agreed.
“Can I record?”
I pulled the bike off the side stand and started it. He motioned for me to rev the engine holding up his phone. I did and was greeted by an approving smile.
He walked on toward his car and I rolled out of the parking lot. I guess it is true. I can’t take her anywhere without someone wanting to talk about her. That’s alright with me. I’m a bit of an attention whore anyway.