When You’re Grieving a Hunk of Metal
I sold my motorcycle today.
Let her go for a song. As I knew I would.
She was old. She wasn’t pretty. I joked that we had that in common. I’ve tried umpteen times in the last few years to sell her, and then two days after I’d post the ad I‘d remove it.
The End of an Era
It wasn’t about the bike… it was about the end of an era.
I ended my marriage 18 years ago. I took a couple of years to heal and then started redesigning my life. The bike was part of the redesign – people would ask if I was having a mid-life crisis and I’d laugh and say “No crisis here!”
I can’t even remember why I decided to take motorcycle lessons and get my license. I don’t have a clue why I said Yes! to buying that heavy old beast from my friend… well, except that he loved her but he loved his new wife more so he quit riding… and we were good enough friends that he knew I’d love her too.
Which I did.
The Adventures Began
So the adventures began! Nervous tootles around the neighbourhood as I got used to the weight. Daytime rides where I knew there’d be minimal traffic. Longer rides as my confidence grew. The highway. Rides after dark. Finally, the big road trips.
Such road trips they were! I started joking that if you wanted a storm to move in, put Agnes on the bike on a road trip!! Torrential rainfall, crosswinds that could topple a bus, even hail storms on a highway with no shoulders (that was August – how crazy is that!).
Despite the white knuckles, despite the singing old songs in my helmet as loud as I could, despite the concentration on not acknowledging the missing barriers along the cliff edge… it was adventure after adventure and my bike became my reliable, never faltering, good friend.
Life Moves On
Life moves on, however, and a series of life events (aka choices) kept me off my bike for a few years. Each Spring I’d start her up, I’d contemplate putting plates on her, then I’d come to my senses and be fiscally responsible. With that fiscal responsibility came some guilt that the bike was sitting unridden for yet another year.
That’s when I started trying to sell her. Sort of. When the heart is involved, price tags are not easily settled on.
I’ll fast forward now to my latest incarnation. I’m older and wiser… and the owner of unreliable knees. Logic told me motorcycle riding was not the best activity to pursue with knees that stiffen up after 15 minutes in the same position. Falling over with a 500+ lb. bike between your legs is not fun!! (yes, did it once!)
I Braced Myself
When I placed my myriad ads on the internet, I braced myself for the onslaught of disparaging comments that always seem to come when people want more for less. A Facebook page for old bikes started sending love within two minutes of my ad going up – those folks could see through the scrapes and bruises and recognize my old friend for the classic she was. The other sales page was not quite so generous but a PM came through fairly quickly showing interest without any negative asides so I sent him my phone number. Within a few minutes a woman called and she sounded really anxious to find out more.
Long story short, they were at my house within the hour. Ana was 40-ish, had been in an accident a number of years ago that totalled her bike and she hadn’t ridden since. But it was now time. Her partner was a Harley-guy who couldn’t see many redeeming qualities in my Honda… but that’s a whole other subject – Ana was a Honda-gal! After climbing on and over and under my bike, he backed her out onto the street and roared off. Well, I use that word ‘roar’ generously. She gave a few putt-putts as she cleared her lungs after a winter of dormancy, and then she sang!
With tears collecting in my eyes, I beamed with the pride of a mother whose child has just aced a difficult piano recital. Ana looked at me, and with tears collecting in her eyes, did that ‘thing’ that is the little girl in all of us: hands clenched tightly together against her chest, huge excitement in her eyes, she bounced up and down. Our eyes met, and I knew I was done for. She didn’t even know my baby, but she loved her. When her partner returned, he did his wheeler-dealer thing, but it didn’t matter – Ana loved her and that was what mattered to me. Which brings us full-circle to the “song” I mentioned at the beginning.
Back in the house, I texted my daughters that another era in their mother’s life had ended. My girls are not big on sympathy unless it’s necessary, perhaps they just know their mother… but within 10 minutes they had created a whole new hilarious scenario with me on a Vespa, racing about town with daughter #1 sitting side-saddle behind me and daughter #2 screaming along in my side-car. I think the husbands were taking care of the grandchildren, I’m not sure.
Time of Life
It’s a curious time of life, do you agree? We get a little older and need to relinquish parts of our lives. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s bloody hard. Life does go on, however, and today I’m appreciative of the daughters who love me enough to remind me I’m still fun and help me find a new channel to live that part of me!
(Speaking of love… I need to ad a postscript here: that Harley guy swallowed his Harley ego and rode the old Honda a full hour, on the highway, in broad daylight, where anybody might see him, home for the woman he loved. Can I get an Aaww?)
What about you? Have you “had to” give up a fun or important thing in your life since you turned 50… 60… 70? I’d love to hear your story!