Why am I doing this?
A long time ago, I tried to answer that question, about riding itself. I spoke of the resistance I got from people like my dad, who was puzzled why anyone would want a motorcycle when they already had a car, and the bursar at the college where I signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Course who looked at me with eyes that had widened to the size of serving platters and shouted, “Are you CRAZY??”
The intervening years have broadened my scope, and shown the inadequacy of my earlier answer. Every biker has a tiny little motorcycle zooming along the double helix of their DNA, and nothing will be right with the world until it finds manifestation in the larger world.
That’s an exaggerated metaphor, but not much of one.
The motorcycle has opened up to me an entire world of culture, awareness, Zen, creativity and some damn fine parties.
Yes, “culture, awareness, and Zen.”
Some of you are scratching your heads and trying to reconcile that sentence with a reality described by decades of B-grade movies and “Gangland” documentaries; the truth of the matter is, there is a very deep well unlocked by the turning of two wheels.
If you’re not tapping that well already, try and imagine a world where you are a part, a participant, in your journey and not just watching it through a windshield, like your travels are, as 20th Century philosopher Robert Pirsig put it, “just more TV.” A world where all are “brothers” regardless of their bodily plumbing, a world where the only things keeping you from being a pavement smear are two wheels, your own skill, and a chunk of luck. A world that forces you to be keenly aware of those things; you can’t be cavalier about any of them and expect to remain in one piece for very long. A world that gives you plenty of time to think, but makes you put your thoughts in a prioritized order.
A world where everything finally makes sense.
That world is damned life-affirming. It is a tremendous source of life lessons.
And that’s why I’m doing this. When I saw the motovlogs on YouTube, I was only trying to get a biking fix during one of the dismal winters that never seem to end here in Upstate New York (I blame Canada), but when I saw all the things that make up the Way O’ The Biker, the feeling, the genuineness, the blending of opposites without contradiction: humor, seriousness, deep thought, mindless good fun, all at once, when I saw the openness that says “there is no one right way,” something dawned on me.
What this is, is a chance to do something positive.
That chance may be as small as a dead Smurf’s dick, but even that is greater than zero.
Now, I am no saint. I have done many things of which I am not proud. However, I’ve done many things of which I am proud; I’ve read a lot, done a lot, thought a lot, lived a little, and the time has come to start sharing.
I’m not going to quiz you on it or anything–hell, I’m not even going to tell you I’m right about any of it. I’m not here to hand out dogma as provided to me by angels on gold platters inscribed by tiny lightning storms. For one thing, that hasn’t happened yet. With the weather around here, it’s only a matter of time, but it hasn’t happened yet.
No, I’m not here to tell you how to think, I’m just trying to give you something to think about.
The main message is that it’s OK not only to think, but to think a little differently. And to have some good fun in so doing. If you’ve ever seen the way bikers personalize their bikes and outfits, then you’ve already seen that this mindset is a way of life, not just an intellectual abstraction.
Hence the theme here. The motorcycle is a perfect application of applied Zen and practical philosophy. Maybe I can show people that, here on my little internet mountaintop.
Read, do, think, and live. If I can do it, you can do it. If I can show even one person that, then I will have done something positive.
If instead, I do nothing more than eventually make the Cracked.com list of “8 More of the Stupidest Things on the Internet,” well, it won’t be the worst thing I’ve ever done. Still positive.
All I ask, is that you leave me a comment, and give me something to think about, so maybe together we can find Truth.
Because Truth Rides a Motorcycle.