Every morning, my wife and I start our very different routines. I head for the kitchen, assemble a bowl of fruit and cereal, make coffee, and either settle in on our porch to read or at my laptop in the far corner of the house to write. She fires up the television and spends the first couple hours of her day watching the previous evenings’ streamed Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers shows. I usually insert a nice set of Bluetooth noise-cancelling earbuds so I can ignore the noise and, especially, the “news” with which she starts and ends her day.
Today, she had to “share” the news that US House Republicans are refusing to wear masks and vaccination. Of course, I did not need to know that or, at least, hear it. In these days of the American Empire’s dying light the news is relentlessly depressing and uninformative and useless. The nation’s original massive flaws and bonehead founding decisions and “values” are slowly coming home in dozens of directions and there is nothing I can do about it. So, why bother me with it? Stuff I can fix, I’m interested in. But if I’m in the back row of a 747 headed straight down from 30,000 feet at 700mph (or 1,000 ft/sec) after a software failure locks up the plane controls, I’m just in the plane for the ride down and, hopefully, a quick and painless death. Don’t ask me to take the controls or even make suggestions to the pilots in those final 30 seconds.
However, hearing that “news” did remind me of a thought that I’ve had for the last couple of decades about motorcycle helmets and the people who refuse to wear them as some sort of strange rebellion against common sense and intelligent decisions. Contrary to the self-image these characters have, I have yet to see a single helmetless motorcyclist who even slightly resembles Tommy Cruise (even the weird looking plastic-surgery-enhanced 60-year-old Tom Cruise) or Ron Perlman. More typically, they look like some fat version of either Marty Feldman, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Joe Pesci, or Danny Trejo with or without scraggly beards (including the Rosie O’Donnell look-alikes). Nobody needs to or wants to see that, but these goobers all think they are gracing the scenery with their inbred faces and we all have to suffer for their vanity.
There is a logical fallacy called “the Spotlight Effect” that probably explains much of this pain and suffering. The Spotlight Effect is used to describe “the tendency we have to overestimate how much other people notice about us. In other words, we tend to think there is a spotlight on us at all times, highlighting all of our mistakes or flaws, for all the world to see.” Or, in the case of Republican congresscritters or bikers, deeply flawed humans who imagine everyone is looking at them with envy or admiration.
Trust me, we aren’t.
In fact, we are doing the best we can to ignore your existence, but you’re making it really difficult with all the whining, potato-potato noises, and traffic-stopping incompetence. Real motorcyclists know that, at best, motorcycling on public roads exists by the will and tolerance of 99.99. . . % of the population. Motorcycles are nothing more than recreational vehicles as used by the overwhelming majority of motorcyclists and every one of you noisy pirate pretenders.
Roaring from bar to bar, impeding traffic, disturbing the public peace, and getting killed at exorbitant rates and in expensive ways is not a demonstration of a “lifestyle.” It is a statement of insecurity and a desperate need to be noticed. You are simply compensating for having been (rightfully, probably) ignored as children and are mistaking irritation for admiration. Take off your pirate outfit and disguise yourself as a normal human being and mingle with other human beings in any downtown are plagued by bikers and listen to the comments made by those people about the jackasses on motorcycles. You’ll be surprised, disappointed, enlightened, and (on your best day) humbled by how much people hate motorcycles and bikers.
Likewise, if you are paying attention when a Goldwing or other real motorcyclist is in the same traffic situation you’ll notice that nobody hates them or even notices their existence. That is the best situation possible for a recreational vehicle on public roads. Because if we get enough attention for our outsized contribution to noise and air pollution, traffic congestion, and general lawlessness we’ll end up in the same place as horses and horse-drawn buggies, ATVs, go-karts, farm equipment, jet skis, and the rest of the world of adult toys not allowed on public roads.
So, put a helmet over your mess of a face, put the stock pipe back on your bike, and shut the hell up about your bullshit “right of way” and learn how to ride that thing before you lose the privilege . . . for all of us.
And, if you are a Republican chaos and destruction promoter, please expose yourself to as many equally careless and contaminated goobers as possible. Coronaviruses can only do the job evolution designed them to do if at least 70% of the population are dumb enough to set themselves on fire to thin the herd.
Your observations just continue to resonate here, TME. And, oddly, validating my old guy notions that I just don’t care to partake in the “steaming mug of big flying hurry” that’s the ruination of the collective serenity. Which thing, “Serenity”, appears to be on the “avoid at all costs” list of attributes for many of the folks noted in your thoughts above. Seems like a collective twelve-step meeting is called for.
This morning, I happened to read the story of the woman tennis star’s decision to just say “nope” to her association’s demands that she provide more of a public presence. While her decision was certainly noteworthy, even more interesting were the reader comments, which ran from the quieter “I gave up the ‘lifestyle’ madness years ago”; to, recriminations of laziness and lack of ambition, of the sort of: “how will we make money if everybody drops out?”; and, then,
I’m with Emerson in this: “…give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of Emperors ridiculous”.
I have errands which call for a motor vehicle today. I’ll continue to shift the old Bonneville at well below obnoxious, keep my helmet strap snug, and mind the folks who are apparently consulting on emergency appendectomies via their cell phones, given the intensity of the telephonic relationships I see everywhere in traffic.
And I really appreciate your observations, and their pungency.
Tim, Just up the hill from Lock 15
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You have my sympathy and I appreciate yours. You might know that I spent a really irritating and humorous day (that felt like a decade or two) at a “motorcycle event” in 2017 (https://geezerwithagrudge.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/wandering-down-to-davenport/). At the time, I decided I am/was too old for camping and too intolerant for motorcycle events. That poor city was smothered in unburned fuel and pointless poorly tuned small engine noise and the moment we arrived I wanted to head for an actual campground. The two guys I went with had been going to Davenport and other similar “events” for years and that was their last one, too.
Mostly, I think the “tolerance” and cowardice cops show towards illegal exhaust systems is based on making bar owners happy and as far as I’m concerned that “business” model could dry up and die forever and no one of consequence would be inconvenienced. But they are, apparently, all powerful in too many communities.
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