Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marriage in the Friction Zone

"We stayed married so long because we just don't go crazy at the same time. When I'm crazy, she pulls it together and takes charge. When she's crazy, I do the same. We take turns being crazy."

My father told me these words nearly 25 years ago, when I asked he and my step-mother how they had such a loving, happy marriage all of these years. He died just two short years later.

I was discussing this with my step-mom Kathy today.

"You two will get to know each other over time and just instinctively know when the other is about to blow. You'll learn when to push and when to pull. Just you wait and see. Why, two years from now you'll understand him so well, you'll know what he needs before he does."

She gives good relationship advice and today she and I discussed my marriage to Highway. Often times I worry that I'm not reading his needs right and I fail him. Occasionally I do misunderstand his needs and we crash into a quarrel.

"It's just like that clutch on your new bike. In a few weeks it will just be instinctive. You'll find that sweet spot and you know just when to pull on that throttle and when it's time to gently squeeze that clutch. You'll learn to be gentle with the clutch. It just takes time."

When I took the riding course two years ago I had no fear. I was filled with excitement. My first time of getting the bike really rolling, we rode in large circles for 15 minutes. The bike seemed to know the way and I rode with a huge, stupid smile the entire time. When I finished the course I begged Highway to ride his Yamaha Roadstar. It took a few weeks to get the long-forgotten motorcycle in shape to ride. But once he did, I mounted her with no fear.

We rode around town and I was brimming with glee. I hoped my friends and neighbors would see me on that enormous bike, wheeling her like a champ, overcoming the restraints of my past and riding into my future.

Then I dropped her. On the downhill corner by my house I rolled up behind Highway who was pulling onto a busy street. I couldn't make the narrow hole he had cut through, so I had to stop and wait. I yanked too hard on the front brake, lurched forward, and down the Roadstar went. Highway had prepared me by telling me if the Roadstar started to fall, don't try to keep her up. She was way too heavy, so to just get out of the way. I pulled away as she fell, humiliated that I had failed.

I began to be afraid after that. I rode the Roadstar on and off for a few months, but so sporadically that every time felt like the first time. When we moved to San Diego, I was petrified to ride in the busy traffic. The first day we did, I laid her down. I hadn't ridden again for 8 months, until Katie Scarlet.

When I first mounted Katie and tried to shift I stalled her. Visions of the Roadstar lying on her side filled my head. I was determined to never drop Katie. I struggled with the tight clutch, the tight gears, the tiny friction zone. I longed for the Roadstar days with the 2 inches of play in the clutch and the low, steady idle of the big motor. Katie revved so high, her friction zone was so small, it seemed merely a fraction of the room of play on the Roadstar. Later that day as I lay in the street, screaming at myself for dropping her in traffic, as the excruciating pain infiltrated my leg, the fear clutched my heart.

It hasn't let go.

When Highway and I began dating, I was amazed that we never argued. He was so understanding and we had such a good time together that I never imagined we would ever quarrel as I had with my exx.

These last few months have been difficult. We each are clearing away the wreckage of our pasts, peeling back the layers of pain we've hidden our true selves under, to find ourselves again. The quarrels have become too frequent, leaving new scars of their own.

I longed for the early days of our relationship, just like the Roadstar, with all of the play in the clutch and the low, steady idle of the big motor. Now the gears between us seem so tight, the friction zone so small, the tension of the clutch so hard to pull. Frustration has built up within me, not for him, but for myself, and my inability to know what to do. I feel I should have the answers, to be the leader, the relationship guide. My lack of tolerance for my own shortcomings have me sitting on the curb, crying over our marriage, just like the bike, occasionally lying on her side in the street.

"It's just like that clutch on your new bike. In a few weeks it will just be instinctive. You'll find that sweet spot and you know just when to pull on that throttle and when it's time to gently squeeze that clutch. You'll learn to be gentle with the clutch. It just takes time."

I know Kathy is right. Baby steps for now. And patience. I hope he stays patient with me too.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1%er's Daughter on eBiker Leather

Tina-Walker-Sash-Sashmouth
I'm so flattered to be invited to be a regular Guest Writer on eBiker Leather's blog. My first article entitled 1%er's Daughter delves into my upbringing with my Daddy. This is, of course, a very touchy subject, so I had to approach it delicately. It was thrilling for me to relive some of the memories of my days with the bikers who haunted our home in my childhood.

This article is written from the perspective of a 4-year-old girl, who was surrounded by 1%ers all of her childhood, having no idea just how dangerous this life could be.

You can find the article here. Below you can find a short excerpt:


I would wake up at odd hours of the night, wander into the kitchen to find Daddy talking to his Brothers, and crawl into his warm, loving lap. Wide awake, all I wanted was to cuddle with him, smell his skin, and let him feed me his treats of Screaming Yellow Zonkers and Hershey Kisses. Seemingly uninterrupted, the men continued their discussion, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. I knew not to interrupt them, but be sweet to them if they spoke to me. Daddy would pet me, stroking my hair in his special Daddy way, keeping his attention on the important business of his Brothers.


My father died at the age of 50 as a result of his lifestyle. I miss him often, but when I ride the motorcycle it makes him feel so close again. Writing this blog, remembering him and exploring this side of my life, has helped me bring him back to life in a way. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have had such an amazing father and to now have a husband who is equally amazing.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Roots of Friendship in my Heart

Tina-Walker
Our friend Carmelita passed away this week. She was 85 years old and had been in Menifee, CA for nearly 35 years. Menifee had been home for me since 1996 and for Highway since 2001. In this town where we met, Highway produced a local online news publication in 2004 and I began working for him in 2009 writing for his publication. We developed deep ties to the community there and with one another. This is the town where I raised my daughter, her hometown. This is also the town where both of our ex's live now.

Highway and I moved away from Menifee just over a year ago. We loved our friends, but we both felt so stuck there. We wanted to travel, see and experience new things, meet new people and live in different cities. We started with San Diego, just an hour away, where Highway had spent his childhood. He wanted to go home, find himself, find a piece of him he felt he had lost. We've come to love it here. I speak with at least one of my friends from Menifee daily it seems about what's going on locally, but it's been a month since I've been back.

Our friend Carmelita was involved with the Chamber of Commerce, the Woman's Club, Soroptomist International, Kiwanis Club, the National Association for Female Executives, the local Catholic Church, and participated in countless other community activities daily. She was most known for her presence at every Chamber of Commerce event, serving as official photographer and greeter of virtually every guest. No one ever entered a Chamber event without meeting Carmelita. She and I served as Senior Mrs. and Ms. Menifee Valley Chamber Queens together (This is where I got the nickname Sash). Our Chamber was special because of Carmelita and she will be painfully missed. I'm going back to my Menifee on Monday for her funeral.

In many ways Menifee is home for us, but in our hearts, we are drifters. Owning things, staying too long, seeing the same things all of the time wears on us. We itch to go, to move, to fly, to run. We love to experience see new things, but I think the truth is that we really both want to run.

For so many years I longed to settle down; get married, raise my daughter, own a home and I found all of that in Menifee. I was meticulous in my housekeeping; everything was neat and tidy and perfect. I would clean the house to perfection and simply sit on the couch, being careful to not muss the pillows as I sat. I would sit very still basking in the serenity of perfection, stillness and security. I knew that I could manage my world and that nothing would ever change within the confines of my home. After some time, that was the very element that ate away at my heart.

Now I want to run. I want a new place, a new view, new food, new experiences daily. I can't help but wonder what makes me feel this way. As long as I have Highway I feel all of that security that I need. As long as I know myself, live my life to the fullest, listen to my heart, I have more than I found in my house with all of my things; the things that tied me down. I love the freedom that comes with vagrancy. By design we have jobs that are done entirely from a laptop and a cell phone so we can be mobile. I have my best friend/husband/partner in Highway and now I feel safe enough to let everything else go.

Most of it. But try as I may to let go, I miss the people. I miss my daughter, my niece and her family, my friends in Menifee. I miss the Chamber Mixers, the drinks with friends, and the karaoke nights. I miss the parties, the laughs and the hugs. I miss their smiling faces and hearing them say my name.

When I told Carmelita about our upcoming Gypsy Trip she said the most amazing thing.

"If you want to do something, do it right now. Don't wait. You will never regret doing something you really want to do. You will only regret putting it off."

Those were her last words to me. We hugged and said goodbye. I hugged and said goodbye to our other friends who filled her hospital room. And as I write this now, at my desk, heartbroken and weeping, I can't help but wonder, what is wrong with me? Why can't I stay still and be happy in one place, like Carmelita? Will I ever love a place so much that I will want to grow roots and make it my home?

Right now I'm so torn. I know that I'm not ready for that. But I miss my friends and family so much, it breaks my heart. Perhaps those roots are already beginning to grow. Maybe that's what keeps tearing at my heart. The roots of friendship in my heart.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice

111-Tina-Walker
We've determined that my issue with riding is shifting gears. Letting out that clutch in first seems the most difficult for me. So Highway, in his infinite motorcycle wisdom, set Katie Scarlet up on her center stand in our garage and had me get on.

I warmed her up, worked with the choke, and got her to a steady idle. It took about 10 minutes, but it's good practice. Then I attempted taking her out of neutral and shifting into first. Time and again I killed her. I looked him in the eye amazed.

"What in the fuck am I doing wrong?"

"I just don't know. I'm watching you. You're doing everything right."

I tried again. Then, Highway began to chuckle.

"Try putting up the kickstand. Some bikes are set up with a kill switch if the kickstand is still down."

Sure enough, that was it. We both laughed at how easy it was now for me to shift. Neutral, first, second, revving the engine in between, all on the center stand. Over and over I rode nowhere, shifting up, shifting down, just to get the feel.

I bought new boots yesterday, so getting the feel of the new boots and the new bike are challenging for me. I recognize fully that I'm the FNG, and I hold no shame in that. I just have to take my time and feel good about the fact that I'm practicing slowly.

The plan is for me to go down and just practice this a few times before we hit our local parking lot for some pavement work. Turns, circles, figure 8's, quick stops and negotiating obstacles are all on the list for practice in the parking lot. Fortunately, we live 3 blocks from a major league baseball field with an enormous parking lot. This will be a great place to practice daily.

I feel a little silly, you know. I don't feel very "Bad Ass" sitting on the center stand in my garage, revving to nowhere. But I want this journal to be honest. I'm not going to bullshit you, my readers. One day some other FNG is going to come along and read this and be grateful that he/she's not the only one who took some time to learn.

For now, I'm just grateful to learn.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

No Room For Fear on a Motorcycle

Sash-Sashmouth-Too-Much-Tina-Walker
"Oh, after my husband totaled his bike, he doesn't ride anymore. I never wanted him to ride in the first place. I told him how dangerous it was all the time, but he didn't listen. Now he's convinced that he'll die on that thing if he rides again. . ."

And so she rambled on, in the bar, telling me how she used to ride with her husband on his Harley, but not anymore. I just love the way she started the conversation. . .

"Do you ride? We ride a Harley! Well, we used to. What do you ride?" as if she was excited about riding, or bragging that she "once" owned a Harley.

Often, I get the "Why don't you ride a Harley?" question, but that's an entirely different story.

These are "enthusiasts" who seem to be proud that they used to ride, but ride no more, because they "smartened up and quit riding." It seems to be their mission in life to discourage me and everyone else within earshot from the desire to ride. And I'm constantly wondering, why the fuck to they care? It's as if they're delivering a divine message to me that riding a motorcycle is dangerous.

No shit. Really?

Yes, I know that.

My philosophy is this. Most things in life are dangerous. Eating seafood is dangerous. Crossing the street is dangerous. Wearing a tampon is dangerous. Shit happens. Get over it. You're going to die one day. But when are you going to start to live?

I don't want to live afraid. That's really what this boils down to. The storyteller is afraid of riding. They've either been hurt, or they know of someone who's been hurt (and frankly, who doesn't know someone who's been hurt on a motorcycle?), and now they are filled with fear. And that fear keeps them from riding.

Good.

If you're afraid, you don't belong on a motorcycle. Those seats are so tiny because there's only room for your ass on there. Not your ass and all of your emotional baggage. There is simply no room for fear on a motorcycle. Don't pack it along, because it doesn't belong on there.

Caution, care, and thought are important when riding. I'm not condoning recklessness. I don't want to die. But I don't want to live afraid of the next moment either. That's worse than death in my book. If you think long enough and hard enough about the things that will kill you, you'll never leave your basement filled with ammo, health food and vitamins. If that's how you choose to live, more power to you.

As for me, I don't want to hear your stories of motorcycle disasters. When I was 4-years-old my Daddy had a wreck that left him in a body cast, lying in a hospital bed in our home for 1 year. At the age of 16 I crashed, badly. I know what happens when we hit the pavement and I don't need you filling my head with that shit.

Thanks, but no thanks. I would rather hear some dirty jokes. Got any good ones? If not, then please, shut the fuck up.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beautiful Blackbird

Sash-Highway-Blackbird-Too-Much-Tina
Sobbing uncontrollably I began choking. As far back as I can remember, every time I sob very hard I begin to choke, gag, and instantly stop crying. A familiar fear rolls over me and I hear the voice that says, "Stop crying RIGHT NOW! No one wants to hear your shit. . ." My body shuts down, instinctively, to protect myself. The emotional coma sets in.

After working diligently with my therapist for the past year, I'm on the road to clearing away the pain of the past and commit fully to my new marriage to Highway. He's been so patient with me, so kind and loving, working with our therapist as well, striving towards the same goal. We are making progress; slow, painful progress. Some days are gut wrenching and some days are so bad I wish they were only gut wrenching. Throwing myself off of our 8th floor terrace crosses my mind more than I wish it would.

But this particular sobbing/choking episode was different. For the first time, it all made sense. With eyes slammed shut, sobs pouring from my soul deep within, I saw her face. I felt her hands around my throat, her tiny little hands. The weight of her body pressed on my chest as she sat on me, holding me down. I could feel her spit as the words of hate spewed from her mouth.

"Stop crying! Stop crying RIGHT NOW! No one wants to hear your shit. . ."

At 4'11", my mother is one of the tiniest people I've ever known, but certainly the meanest. A childhood of abuse has left me scarred and locked within my own emotional prison. Not just the abuse at her hands, but the torment she allowed others to commit to my tiny body. The parade of men who had their way with me at her consent. The stepfather who beat me with a bread board at the age of 7, the "friend" she allowed to rape me at the age of 13, and then all the others that came for years after.

I couldn't let anyone in to love, with the exception of my daughter that I raised. I gave my entire heart and soul to my girl, even staying with a miserable-excuse-of-a-husband because she loved him and needed him so. When she grew up, moved away and subsequently voiced her own hurt and anger with my parental shortcomings, I died inside. The one and only person I had ever loved, ever tried to love with all I had to give, now hated me for all of my failures.

My walls grew up even higher, the prison of stone I kept my heart and soul behind. The little girl I had been who was still starving for love and acceptance lived in the dank, dark world of her own, destined for a lifetime of solitude. How could I be loved if I wouldn't let anyone in? I couldn't trust anyone to be tender, kind and caring of my little girl inside. How could I? Most everyone I had ever met proved to be untrustworthy. I felt abandoned, neglected and alone.

Then I met Highway. I saw in him what I saw in me. A broken man, an injured child, a frightened soul. A lonely person in a crowd of a thousand friends. Afraid to love, afraid to be intimate, afraid to be hurt. We saw within one another and questioned, "Should I dare? Should I dare try?"

We climbed on Blackbird together and rode like the wind. On Blackbird there is no pain, there is no fear. She's our passport to Nirvana. She knows the magic road, the secret path to safety. On Blackbird we are free children. Free to laugh and giggle, to love and be loved. We are free from the walls that imprisoned us, free to run from all of the sorrow of our respective childhoods.

Beautiful Blackbird knows the way to make us smile and heal our hearts. I grasp Highway's hips as he grasps the handlebars with authority. He turns our lives and souls over to Beautiful Blackbird, consenting to her will. Squeezing him gently, he squeezes back on her throttle and we fly. The three of us become one and away we fly. Soon Blackbird will lead the way, teaching Katie Scarlet the secret path to our happiness. Katie Scarlet will follow, as I follow Highway, along the road to our future.

No one can hurt us on Blackbird. No one can catch us. No one knows us and we become shadows of what we used to be. Together we three fly like the wind. Fly us away Beautiful Blackbird, fly us away.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Healing the Pain

Since my slight mishap just two weeks ago, I've made amazing strides in my recovery. The final determination from the doctors I have seen is that when I dropped my motorcycle I strained my calf muscle, strained my muscles in my knee, bruised some bones, including my kneecap, and I had a contusion on the inside of my knee. The lump in my knee was about the length of my hand and about 1 1/2 inches thick. I couldn't put any weight at all on my knee for 3 days and was confined to crutches. But sitting on my ass wasn't going to work for me. Katie Scarlet was waiting in the garage for me and the road still called me in my dreams.

Everyday I was determined to get up and push that knee towards recovery. Highway lovingly looked on, ready to help at any moment, as I moaned, grunted and wept as I struggled to stand, move, bend and walk. After trips to the Urgent Care, my regular doctor and an orthopedist, I was becoming discouraged. I had become frustrated with the same information about what was wrong and nothing but a handful of pills, a brace and crutches, and being told to "give it time" to recover. I didn't have time! My bike needs riding and I need to be on her.

My friend Kay suggested I see her husband, Dr. Peter Lathrop at San Diego Pain Treatment. I had spoken with Dr. Lathrop a few times at the networking meetings I attend occasionally in San Diego and I'm ashamed to say I hadn't even thought to call him for this. I made an appointment for Friday, which was just one week after the accident. I hobbled into the office on my crutches with my knees bound up like a Chinese concubine's feet.

Dr. Lathrop used a treatment on my knee, "Microcurrent Electrical Therapy – a low-volt pulsed microamperage stimulation which stimulates the body’s natural processes to relieve pain, reduce spasms and edema, release muscle trigger points, tonify weak muscles and assist the healing process through soft tissue regeneration." It simply felt like a tiny pulse of electricity coming from a device the size of a smartphone, that he rubbed across my knee and calf. The entire visit lasted 15 minutes and was a pleasant experience.

When he finished he asked me to stand up, without the brace and crutches. I shot him a look of disbelief and thought for certain I would be collapsing momentarily. I stood up and to my amazement, I felt no pain. None! Visions of healed parishioners at the Holy Roller Tent Revivals bounced around my brain and I began to laugh. He asked me to bend, stretch and walk, all of which I did, pain free.

I've seen him 5 times now and the pain is gone. Really gone! For a few days the pain would return a few hours later, but it lessened daily. My knee still feels weak, but with some exercise it will be just fine. The huge lump the orthopedist told me was under the skin and would leave a dark bruise on my skin never came to the surface. It's as if the bruise ceased to exist.

Katie Scarlet had some service done while I has doing the same. I just got the call. She's ready to go.

I'm ready too.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Riding with Scary Larry

It was a crisp late-Spring day and Daddy was getting his Harley ready for a ride. When I had arrived in Utah 5 months prior, the snow was 3 feet deep. This dry, sunny day was one of the first I had seen since I had moved in with my father and his wife Kathy. She walked into my room early in the morning and smiled.

"Do you want to ride with your Dad today?"

I nodded and giggled stupidly. Kathy was always very good to me and always encouraged my Daddy to spend time with me. She was selfless when it came to him and me, always thinking of what was best for us first, never herself. She dressed me in jeans, a t-shirt, her leather boots and riding jacket, and taught me how to tie her bandana on my head. She handed me gloves and sunglasses and told me not to giggle too much.

(Daddy and Kathy in Utah, circa 1978)

At the age of 13 that's mostly what I did. Giggle and cry. That's what girls do. My Daddy was incredibly tolerant of the giggling, but when I cried, he simply left the room, or the house. In the 7 years since my parents' divorce I had seen him rarely because of my mother's transient lifestyle. But my mother had finally found a man who wanted to be with her and that didn't include me, so she shipped me to my Daddy in Utah. It was one of the best times of my life.

I walked out to the driveway and he gave me some basics.

"Lean the way I lean, to the same degree I lean. Hold on, at all times. Don't wiggle or fidget. Pay attention to the road and to me. Be quiet around my friends."

"Yes Daddy," I replied, with an enormous smile.

"Tell me if you need something. Don't talk to anyone but me. Don't wander off when we stop. Remember to hold on, always. And have fun."

"Yes Daddy."

We rode for an hour or so and ended up at a friend's house. The yard, which wrapped around the house, was littered with bikes. I knew the rules about motorcycles already, having lived with my Dad from birth until the age of 5. Never touch anyone's motorcycle, ever. And if you're under the age of 20, keep at least 10 feet away from all of the motorcycles, just in case. I gingerly maneuvered my way into the house behind my Dad and found an huge gathering of bikers.

I sat quietly beside him as the drugs moved freely about the room. This wasn't new for me, so I knew how to behave. When the mirror was passed to me I said "thank you," and passed it on to my Daddy. I only spoke when spoken to and only to answer yes or no or thank you. I never said "No thank you," as that would be rude.

After an hour or so, everyone headed to the bikes. Approximately 25 bikes, all ridden by men and most of whom were riding solo, started nearly in unison. This was in the times of the kick-starters, so the sound of the cranking filled the air. My Daddy had broken his right ankle 8 years prior so he would stand beside the bike, kick with his left foot and accelerate with his right hand. He looked awkward, but he managed to get it done.

(My Daddy's Harley, circa 1982)

At 6-feet tall, 220 lbs, with a voice as deep as James Earl Jones, my father had a menacing presence about him. Scary Larry, as he was known to the others, treated him with the utmost respect. So much so that no one even questioned who I was and where his old lady was. He saw no need to introduce me, nor did I. These were his friends, real bikers, and to me, these were all Gods. I wasn't fit to lick their boots, never mind address them, speak to them, or look them in the eye. I knew my place and they knew theirs. I belonged to Scary Larry, so I was as safe as if I'd been surrounded by the Secret Service.

The ride was amazing. Hours and hours of the most beautiful landscape I'd ever seen. I held on to my Daddy with glee, exhilarated that I could simply hold on to the man I loved most and watch the world go by. I was in his hands, completely his, and I had him all to myself. It was him, me, the bike and the road. What more could I want? I had the whole world right there; everything I ever wanted. It was the best day of my life. This was my dream-come-true.

We stopped for an hour in a grove of Aspens to stretch and drink. I sipped water from the creek that ran along the grove and watched my Daddy with his friends. It seemed natural to me that they looked to him as a leader. When he walked to his bike, everyone else simply followed his cue, just like me.

(Me, age 13, 1978)

In the late afternoon, as the rest of the group headed to a party, we split off and headed back towards home. We stopped for a restroom break at a rest stop along the highway. When I came back out of the restroom my Daddy had a look on his face I had never seen. He seemed stressed and in a hurry to leave. I feared I had made him unhappy so I held him tight until we got home. In my mind, to disappoint my Daddy would be the worst thing I could ever do.

We pulled in the driveway right at sunset and I was heartbroken to see the day end. He looked in my eyes, pulled off my bandana, and wiped my dirty face.

"You were a good girl today. But you always are, aren't you? You're my Darlin' Baby Girl."

Every time he called my that, Darlin' Baby Girl, my heart soared. The sound of his soft, deep voice saying my own precious nickname that he had given me at birth was the best sound in the world to me. Serenity filled me as I floated into the house.

Later in the evening, Kathy came in to my bedroom to see how the ride went. She had a familiar smirk on her face.

(Me and Daddy, circa 1970)

"At the rest stop some guy was talking to your Dad. I guess he had seen you get off of the bike and walk into the restroom. He told your Dad that you were 'a fine looking old lady.' Your Dad realized for the first time that other men saw you as a woman, not a girl. Your Dad hit the guy so hard that he was still lying unconscious when you two left the rest stop."

Kathy couldn't stop giggling as she told the story.

"Your Dad was so proud of you today. He's still sitting in our bedroom shaking his head. He just realized that you're a young lady today, not a little girl anymore."

I'll always be my Daddy's Darlin' Baby Girl.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Determination

Tina-Walker-Too-Much-Tina-Sash-Sashmouth-Katie-Scarlet
Her name is Katie Scarlet and she's all mine. A 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 500R, Katie is built for me. Highway and I drove 3 hours to pick her up, dusk was upon us, and we both realized it had been quite awhile since I've ridden. We both agreed he should drive her home through Orange County and San Diego rush hour traffic. I was elated when she finally made it home.

The next morning I was like a kid on Christmas, standing by the front door with my helmet as Highway slowly got ready. He had been fighting a cold, but now it was really settling in. I felt bad to push him to ride, but I couldn't contain myself.

I spent some time in our parking garage getting the feel for her. She revs so much higher than Highway's Yamaha Roadstar I had been riding. I was having trouble finding the sweet spot in the clutch, just the right amount of throttle, etc. Finally, we headed out on the streets of San Diego.

Two blocks away I accidentally popped the clutch, stalled her, and dropped her. I was so desperate to keep her up, I tore up my left knee in the process. I sat on the street, sobbing like a kindergartner, feeling like a huge failure. All of this waiting, all of this hoping, all of this dreaming and I could see it all running down the sewer. Highway picked up the bike and with the help of a few neighbors who had seen my spectacle, they moved me and Katie Scarlet to the curb. Highway put the bikes away and brought the truck to take me to Urgent Care.

I've spent the last 4 days feeling an array of emotions; frustrated, angry, sad, humiliated, optimistic, and finally determined. This wasn't going to be the end of this ~ no fucking way. I wasn't going down like a sniveling little bitch.

I'm mending quickly; my knee and my ego. I'm planning to be back on her by February 1, and riding on the streets mid-February. Highway and I have planned a "retraining" of sorts, doing some basics in a local, huge parking lot. I plan on doing at least an hour a day for 7 days straight, then riding every day for a few weeks, weather permitting.

I realized I tried to do too much too soon. It had been 8 months since I've been behind my own handlebars and I'd only ridden for 7 months before that, very sporadically. I did fine, at first, but I just hadn't practiced enough. Then I let too much time pass. . .

This isn't the end. It is only the beginning of my story.

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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...)