I think my motorbike has a secret identity. My suspicions started yesterday morning. Sunny day yesterday, first day of my own little mini-staycation because sometimes a person needs a break, and the motorbike and I headed out on errands. Please, these were vacation errands: bookstore, chocolate shop, and wine shop, all to acquire goodies with which to wallow, small packets of joys that fit into my backpack.
Motorbike and I parked in the lot at the bookstore, and I looked back at it just before I went in. It’s mostly black, lean, and it sucks all of the light into itself and then glows it back out as dark light. It is frankly beautiful but a little bit tough looking, like a really awe-inspiring pair of well-engineered high heels that you can run in if you have to. It sat there, clearly waiting for me, biding time with the Hondas and Subarus and people movers of various sorts that folks use to get here and go there.
“That your motorbike out front?” a bookseller a decade and more older than me asked in the sci-fi section. I nodded, I mean I was wearing a clumpy motorbike jacket and had a helmet slung over my wrist like a bulbous black purse. I was not incognito. “It’s beautiful,” he said, sighed, “really beautiful.”
“Thanks,” I said, “I’m so happy it’s mine.” He nodded, hands in his pockets, rocked back on his heels. “I’m from Florida,” he said. I nodded. “There is a shop in central Florida that refurbs classic Corvettes,” he looked at me above his mask with serious eyes. “My youngest is out of college in one year. I retire in six.” I nodded again. “I’m getting one,” he said. And he turned, walked away, disappeared into the Young-Adult aisle, but his dream lingered in the air with a shimmer of hope, of good things to come. It was weird, but good weird. I bought a few books and headed back out to my own dream made manifest in the parking lot.
We dub-dub-dubbed over to the wine-gourmet shop and scored a parking spot right up front. Nothing like mid-day errands for rockstar parking. The motorbike was reflected in the gourmet shop window, looking interesting among the high-end kitchen wares and dangerously sharp knives displayed behind the big panes of glass. I patted the seat and headed in.
Way, way, way in the back of the shop I was gazing at the fancy rye whiskeys, texting with the WideEyedSpouse (do we want the Whistle Pig again? Yes.) A bunch of employees wheelied by behind me with a hand truck. “Can I help you find something?” one peeled off from the group. “I’m good,” I smiled with my eyes above my mask. “I saw you come in on your motorbike,” he said, “it’s beautiful.” I stopped texting and turned toward him, youngish, younger than me by kind of a lot, dark hair, “I love it,” I told him. He nodded, of course I did, who wouldn’t? “I have a Kawasaki [something something] 1500, but yours, well, it’s really beautiful.”
I looked at him with level eyes. I know almost nothing about motorbikes. I have mine. And it is wonderful. But clearly something further was needed in this conversation, because he was still standing there, hip cocked and one foot resting on the other – arms crossed. He was settled in for a bit. “Well, you could always have two motorbikes,” I offered. And his joy broke free – filling the whole area in simple happy vibes. He starting laughing and told me “that’s right! n + 1 is the calculation, right? Where you are plus one more – it’s always possible!” and he sort of rolled off to the side and turned into the gin section, his laughter trailing behind.
I raised my eyebrows, bought the Whistle Pig, and headed out to my patient motorbike.
Friends, what is this? Strangers tell me stories sometimes, I guess I invite shared confidences, shared stories. But these were different somehow. Extraordinarily quick. Extraordinarily joyful, hopeful, intense. Maybe it’ll never happen again. But you know, I think it will. I think my lean, dark light motorbike is a rainbow-unicorn in disguise, and everyone turns into an eight-year-old girl near it, sharing joyful confidences and dreams of lovely, happy things without fear of failure or doubt or reprisal. I’m ok with that.