Other People

If you’re like me, you may find that you have an occasional outbreak of misanthropy. Some things that people do push my buttons to no end, despite having no real impact on my life.

A recent example rode in front of me today. A man on a motorcycle (cruiser) wearing a beanie helmet (1/2 ping pong ball, as I like to think of them), a dress shirt, shorts, and sandals. Now, even if I had never ridden a motorcycle, I may well have thought this fellow was an idiot. However, I rode for nearly a decade, giving it up shortly after my first son was born because I really didn’t want my sons to grow up not knowing me after some ass clown in a car decided not to shoulder check, or stop at a stop sign, etc. Admittedly, I will probably return to riding once they’re in their teens or so, and I’m reasonably confident that they’re on the right path in their lives (or some other phony-baloney criteria I make up to justify a return to riding).

When I did ride, I was in a full face helmet, and leather from neck down—leather jacket, leather pants, leather gauntlets, and leather motorcycle boots. Why? Because pavement will strip flesh and muscle from your body like a giant pumice stone, and it can break and grind bone nearly as effectively. I would personally rather slide on a big slab of dead cow’s skin than my own, and let it take the brunt of the assault; likewise, I would rather the armour in my jack, the carbon fibre in my gauntlets, or the rigid skeleton of my gloves take the impact from a fall than putting all of that force into my own bones.

Does that make me a wimp? Maybe; it depends which ass-clown you ask, doesn’t it? I personally think it makes me one of the smarter riders on the road, because I recognize the kind of damage that can happen, and take precautions to mitigate it—even when it’s 30+ degrees outside.

So why do I let these things bother me? I have no stake in the lives and health of other riders. What does it matter if they become road crayons (fun fact: road crayons only come in red)? Frankly, it doesn’t—just as it doesn’t affect me that so many riders put non-baffled pipes on their bikes and destroy their hearing. Maybe I’m just upset because I don’t want a group that I belong to (or used to, in this case) to look like a bunch of irresponsible idiots, because someone might accidentally associate me with said stupidity upon learning that I used to ride.

I don’t know. Maybe I do just hate people—persons, no; I can like persons. It’s the freakin’ people I can’t stand.


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