A Ride to Work

Interesting combination today.  I wore my winter hat and my summer gloves.  I guess either could have gone one way or the other.  The weather site reported fifty degrees; the various bank displays ranged from fifty-one to fifty-three.  October is sort of the beginning of the cooler riding season here.  My heart bleeds for those in the frozen north who are imprisoned by Jack Frost.  We here in the eastern part of the Sunflower State have good riding days in every month of the year.  I read recently where one posted that he reverted to fire and theft insurance for almost half of the year.  I believe if I had to live that way I would cut off all my heads.

As the cooler weather settles in the need for the two wheeled salute drops off dramatically in these parts.  The only riders I encountered in town were two motormen.  I am always impressed at seeing them ride in pairs.  They move almost as if there were an invisible bar joining them together and when they approach from behind it is easy to mistake in the mirror their headlights for those of an oncoming cage.  Around here about half of the motor officers will drop a hand in greeting.  Come to think of it, that is about par for Harley jockeys with or without the badge.  We did have one in Evansville shake a finger at us, but the lady was screaming and my eyes were starting to roll up into my forehead.  We really shouldn’t have been doing that on an urban thoroughfare.

I live sixty miles from my workplace.  It’s the best reason I can think of to get out of the shower before all the hot water is gone.  The temperature seemed really nice when I left the house, but at eighty-five indicated I did have some misgivings over my choice of hand cover.  We chose to ride the flyway almost all the way in this morning.  We leave in semi darkness this time of year and the prairies and woodlands have ample vermin populations.  I do not fear the ones with short legs, but carry a concern bordering on terror for any standing taller than eighteen inches.  I just feel safer avoiding the two lane rural roads in the dark and Velvet doesn’t seem to mind.  Velvet doesn’t mind the cooler temperatures, in fact she revels in them.  She just gulps down all that thick cold air and it seems to perk her up.  She kept insisting on climbing up to ninety-five and  I had to keep pushing the throttle to hold her down.

Highway ten into Lawrence was very pleasant.   I try not to run much beyond the flow of traffic as I see no reason to make myself a high profile target for the gendarme, but I do prefer to hold the left side of the slab and I firmly believe that the best defense against a collision from the rear is to limit the vehicles approaching from that direction to zero.  Running the left lane is a good thing.  As my friend, Wayne, says, “It’s like free miles on your tires.”  I have twenty-five thousand now on the front. The rear wore out at twenty.   I don’t know whether it is the size of the headlight or my massive silhouette in the rear view, but cages seem to, for the most part, move aside when I run up on them in the left lane.  I am, after all, a huge man of almost two hundred pounds and no less than sixty-eight inches of height.  Well, okay, maybe a little less. Now and again I had to take the initiative and borrow the right slot long enough to slip past a motorist who was either completely inattentive or greatly deluded concerning his rate of travel.  These are tense moments for me, going past a cage on the right, as I try to be wary of any maneuver they may choose to execute without warning.  After all, if they were capable of clear thinking they wouldn’t be riding with training wheels, now would they?

West of Lawrence we climbed onto the toll road.  They really do fly on that stretch.  There are times when we have to blow past the century just to get around some of them.  We topped a rise and were greeted by the sight of a host of red glowing heralds and a herd of traffic moving at the proverbial snail’s pace.  Well, not really.  I guess that honestly a snail that could roll along at twenty miles per hour would definitely be at the top of his class.  There was a long empty gap behind me in the left lane and I was concerned over the exposure of my back side.  I kept one eye nervously on the mirror and the other scanning for a spot to slip into the protective cover of the line to my right.  Very soon I picked up the image of a tow truck that I had passed just a thousand yards prior.  He was now running with flashing lights and coming on quickly.  I gave him all the room I could and he used a good deal of left shoulder and a little brake as he blew past.  There were several state highway safety practitioners on either side of the road with their rooftop lights ablaze.  Ahead parked against the left concrete barrier I caught a glimpse of a small car whose hood was peeled back like a can of Popeye’s spinach.  The driver was leaning calmly against the barrier with his backpack in hand apparently just waiting for a lift.  He seemed to be okay.  About thirty yards up the shoulder, the other participant did not seem to have fared quite so well.  He was a young buck, appearing to be well fed and originally sporting six points, of which three had departed. He was sprawled across the shoulder with his legs pointed in three distinctly different directions, his head and neck turned oddly against the concrete.  I believe that he will not participate in the gene pool this season.

As I left behind the accident scene (we must assume that neither the slain nor the slayer intended this encounter), I noticed a couple of the troopers were joining our high velocity traffic stream causing no small amount of confusion and hesitation to ripple through the guilt ridden among our congestion of carriages and drivers.  The toll booths were not far off and we arrived safely for our twenty second exchange of coin and conversation.  I tend to select the leftmost open booth and then rejoin the flow of traffic with gusto and no small amount of playing the pipes.  This morning I watched carefully and held the Dragon firmly as last week I had noticed one of the state’s uniformed representatives awaiting alongside the road at about the point where the several lanes are reduced to their previous two.  I got the distinct impression that he was desirous of making my acquaintance.

Arriving at work was fairly normal.  I was running a few minutes late, as usual.  I was apparently wearing the appearance that facial hair takes on when impacted by the up rush of wind from beneath a full face helmet.  A few instances of expanded eyes and younger women diving off the hallway caused me to check quickly as to whether my zipper was in place, but no, it was just the mustache

I work in Information Technology as a systems programmer.  There have been times in my career when I have found my work exciting and rewarding.  These are not some of those times.  Today I will spend my time doing what I need to do; appreciating that a steady job allows me to ride and keeps my wife content;  feeling sympathy for those who are not fortunate enough to own a Valkyrie; and thinking about how nice will be the ride back home.  It is not really much of a mystery to me that more television dramas are not centered around the daily adventures of systems programmers in the corporate world.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to my musings.  I do apologize for the length of the ramble, but sometimes it just gets a little crowded behind my eyes and I need to spill it out somewhere.  You all be safe, watch your mirrors, and I will hope to see you down the road.

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