Monday, July 1, 2013

Stranger in Town

real-biker-chick
"You have purple hair!" screamed the pretty little red-headed girl in the restaurant. "Mommy! She has purple hair! And pink!!"

New chick walks into a local joint. How do they know she's new? Because she is wearing knee-high leather boots, her cleavage is a mile long, she smells like road grime and has purple/pink hair. Certainly she would be remembered if she had been in this place before.

The further east we go on this Road Pickle trip, the more I seem to stand out.

Highway blends seamlessly into almost every environment. Only when we stopped in the swamp town in east Arkansas did he stand out. But anyone who wasn't grimy, wearing overalls or baggy shorts and a wife beater stood out there. After 200 miles of humid, bug-infested, hot road, Highway in his dirty riding gear was far cleaner than the dregs who were lingering at the convenience store in that town. I kept my bandanna on my head to hide the hair, since I was already such an oddity already, being a female on a motorcycle. The fact that I was wearing shorts and my half chaps didn't help either. The parking lot dregs were running their fingers along my bike seat as I came out of the store, as if they were touching my motorcycle to see if it were real. I feared they would start touching me next.

Before we left I hadn't done too much traveling. I had been to a few major cities in the U.S., but didn't realize how sedate rural living could be in America. I admire the beautiful settings, the scenery, the tenderness and generosity of the locals, and the innocence of the small town ways. I love that when making eye contact people feel compelled to say, "How you doing?" even if they don't expect an answer. It's a greeting, not really a question. In San Diego, Seattle or Manhattan, if I make eye contact with a stranger they either ask me for money or scowl for breaking the "No Eye Contact Rule" set forth in most major cities. In these small towns people are kinder, even if they are not necessarily genuine. Their manners kick in and they feel compelled to be more polite, even if they don't mean it.

But the pink hair only deters the hospitality. Many women are mesmerized by it and early on in the trip I was complimented a few times in a day. But the further we travel into the Southeast, the less of that I get. I am asked almost daily if I am a hairstylist, where did I learn to do that or how I got it this color. But occasionally a brave soul will ask, "Why did you do that to your head?" I tell them I like it this color, that I like the way it makes my skin look, and then watch their eyes glaze over as they walk away, muttering.

"Uh huh. . ." they mumble.

When we arrived in Knoxville after 7pm I was in pain and very tired. I showered and then threw some clothes on without considering where I was going. I jumped on my bike and ran to the local market to grab a local beer for Highway and for something to eat. Unconsciously carrying my helmet in the store, I started shopping for the few items I needed. Then I looked down at myself. Skulls on my helmet, hot pink jeans, black motorcycle boots, and a black T-shirt that reads, "It Ain't Gonna Lick Itself". Typically I save this shirt for biker bars, but I just grabbed a damn shirt! My pink hair was standing on end, springing up to life after being washed, dried and then mashed by the helmet. Finding the items I needed I got in the checkout line behind a lady about my age and her teen daughter. The mother took one look at me, took her daughter's hand and moved to another checkout.

real-biker-chick

The truth is I've always been a little different and I'm OK with that. I love the travel so much because I love seeing new things, meeting new people and growing as a person. I'm not going to change myself to suit others because I wouldn't like myself anymore if I did. I don't mind being a stranger in town, but I don't think I'll ever get used to the notion that I'm considered strange.

real-biker-chick


10 comments:

  1. The only thing strange about you is that you're brave enough to define yourself, than let society define you.

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  2. I don't think you are strange at all. I just think the general public needs to get the proverbial stick out their butts and let their hair down some. (As my husband would say - loosen the bone Wilma!)

    It is sad the woman in the check out line moved when she saw you - I'd be giving you a thumbs up and cracking up about your t-shirt.

    I too like to smile at people when walking down the street. I get mixed reactions, either a hello or a WTF kind of look. But then there is that one person that smiles back and you hope you've brightened their day.

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  3. Strange? Naw, more like original. It is a shame that most "normal" folks are really just conforming to societies expectations and playing in the defined perimeters of life. Life outside the box is where the fun is!

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  4. "The parking lot dregs were running their fingers along my bike seat as I came out of the store"

    Some people... That is seriously creepy. Did you hear "Dueling Banjos" in the background somewhere?

    Your personal style is kinda, sorta west coast. Small town folk tend towards the conformist, and can be pretty vocal about it (as you've discovered).

    When I was a young metalhead, I hated going to small towns because the locals were outright hostile towards me, without fail. A friend once wanted to take me to her favorite local bar in South Dakota. I refused to go because, as a city-slicker-headbanger, I didn't have any clothes that wouldn't result in my getting harrassed and possibly stomped by a bunch of drunken farmers.

    Actually, the fact that you're wearing chaps and lugging a helmet around is probably helpful. "Bikers" are expected to look different, but have an excuse, unlike them there California hippie types what think they're better'n everyone. ;)

    Seriously, though, the seat-fingering turns my stomach. Glad that didn't turn in to an ugly scene.

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  5. "The parking lot dregs were running their fingers along my bike seat as I came out of the store"

    Some people... That is seriously creepy. Did you hear "Dueling Banjos" in the background somewhere?

    Your personal style is kinda, sorta west coast. Small town folk tend towards the conformist, and can be pretty vocal about it (as you've discovered).

    When I was a young metalhead, I hated going to small towns because the locals were outright hostile towards me, without fail. A friend once wanted to take me to her favorite local bar in South Dakota. I refused to go because, as a city-slicker-headbanger, I didn't have any clothes that wouldn't result in my getting harrassed and possibly stomped by a bunch of drunken farmers.

    Actually, the fact that you're wearing chaps and lugging a helmet around is probably helpful. "Bikers" are expected to look different, but have an excuse, unlike them there California hippie types what think they're better'n everyone. ;)

    Seriously, though, the seat-fingering turns my stomach. Glad that didn't turn in to an ugly scene.

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  6. Sash

    I don't think you are different, I think you are living true to who you are and who you have found yourself to be. I do find them touching the seat of your bike a little intrusive and I get downright snarkificious if someone touches it. I think most female riders get attitude of either fascination because its a woman on a bike or conversely negative attention. I try to ignore it all because in the end these incidental occurences mean nothing to my in the course of my life.

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  7. Sash:

    You are not different. You are just being who you are. What you wear or don't is to please yourself, not others

    In a larger city it is easier to get lost and be absorbed in your surroundings but you cannot escape conformity of living in a small town where everyone knows each other

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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  8. Tina you dress and act the way you do because you want to stand out and you do it well. That's excepted in some place's and not so well in others where you guys are...not so well. Becareful your not in Cali anymore.

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  9. Damn STRAIGHT you're Different! Suh-WHEET! I'm so weary of the cookie cutter "Individualists" that sweat bullets... to be "different" just like ever'body ele!

    I think maybe I'd disagree with the idea that the motivation is to "Stand Out" (like an ego thing) but rather, simply to be heard... to be differentiated from the herd... and not be just another invisible grain of sand in the sea of faceless humanity...

    Nah... You just continue bein' whatever makes YOU comfortable... let those closed minded bimbos and their dregs/bozos/lame dogs, whatever the male counterpoint of bimbo is... squat in their own useless fears and prejudices...

    Now... if somebody goes runnin' his fingers down ANYTHING... with out the ANYTHINGS explicit permission... well... It's SCHOOLTIME Gurls! :)

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  10. I also smile at people when I walk down the street. Why not spread a little cheer along the way as we journey our paths each day.
    Some people have too many rules and limits on they place on their own lives. Its better to be true to yourself and respect yourself. Sash, you are your own person. Nothing to apologize for in that!

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About Sash


People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)