Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Farewell Fine Freedom

Have you ever been really sad to part with a favorite possession? Ever sniffled? Eyes watered? Maybe even shed a bitter tear? Heck, maybe you bawled your eyes out like me! Ok, so I exaggerate a tiny bit, but you get the idea.

We really think we can get attached to our stuff, but I disagree. I don't think that's what is really going on. I'm inclined to believe that we are attached to the idea of the thing, or to the memories, thoughts, and intense feelings associated with that particular thing. The energy of it. The part of a thing that can actually touch the core of our being, our soul.

That makes much more sense, right? In that way, the thing does really become a part of who we are, and all of us are pretty attached to ourselves; whether we find that to be a positive or a negative thing matters little. So what though if our stuff is all about us? Why is it that sometimes we can part with something with a smile, and other times, we can't help but cry?

Here's what I think, based on what I'm going through at the moment! I think that we have unfinished business or regret when we are sad, or, "overly nostalgic" about letting something go. For some reason, we feel like we are losing that energy, losing that part of ourselves somehow.

Take my life for example. This afternoon, a man is coming to my house to buy my 1982 Honda Nighthawk. My motorcycle. My baby. Sure, I posted the ad on craigslist. I was the one responsible. But it was one of those "take action" things I've been putting off for a long time. I posted the ad on Monday morning, thinking, ok, so, this weekend I'll charge up the battery, start her up, "blow out the cobwebs" riding around the block a few times, and maybe by then, someone will be interested and maybe I'll even sell it and have some money to pay off that pesky credit card I want to cancel because they keep charging me a yearly fee until I call them up and complain. Blah. Blah. Blah. Meanwhile, I'm doing something about my garage full of junk AND my debt, all in one fell swoop on a Monday morning. Pat, pat, pat on the back.

Well, I was rudely awakened from that lazy reverie when about 30 minutes after posting the ad, I received an email from someone who wanted to buy it. First problem. Ad says "runs," yet I know that it's at least a battery charge away from that being entirely true. Uh-oh. So I backpedal a little bit and start sweating. It's all happening way too fast for my apathetic self!
By the end of the day, I have three emails about the bike, an as-yet-uncharged battery, and heartburn. I can't reply until the thing is actually RUNNING! And I didn't have time planned into my busy day to make it so. (The unwatched pot boils violently???)

Tuesday comes: Vote. Go to bank to make deposit and get paper notarized for courthouse. Go to courthouse to present paperwork for defensive driving course (another blog entirely!). Go home and hook battery to charger (can't leave that puppy unattended!). Pray. Post more stuff on craigslist! Re-attach battery to bike. Pray. Turn fuel switch to on. Wait a sec. Push ignition button. (Holy crap, I should have pulled the choke!) Push ignition button, pull gently on throttle. Sniff. Sniff sniff. Uh-oh. Look down. My foot is in a puddle of gasoline. Switch fuel line off. Cry.

Great. The carburator is leaking, was leaking, finishes leaking, all over the floor of the crowded garage. I have to clean it up. I have a non-running motorcycle. I go to craigslist and pull the ad. I cry.

And yet, there was a glimmer of hope. The third email was from someone I wanted to sell my motorcycle to. I mean, I had to sell it to the right person. The first person wanted motorized transportation. I know this bike isn't suitable for him. The second person didn't read the ad well and was antagonistic: "'Don't have time to work on it?' Does that mean it doesn't run?" Obviously not the right buyer there. No, my ad was written for the person who would want my bike in spite of its flaws, who would love it like I do.

The third email just said, "Please tell me when and where I can come pick up this bike."

I had told my husband that I thought this was the guy. So when I stood there whining because I took the ad down and now I had to take the carburetor off again and see if I couldn't get this problem resolved so that MAYBE I could sell it, he said, "What about that one guy?"

"You think I should still call him?"

"Why not?"

I thought, "The answer's no if you don't ask, dummy, follow your gut and call this guy!"

So I called.

Sure enough, he wants it. He wants to restore it, and HE CAN. I always dreamed I would "someday," but it's 12 years later and I'm not much more of a mechanic than I was back then, but this guy can and will do it. It's what he does. I actually spoke to his father first. Apparently, they have a long happy tradition of restoring classic cars and dad here owned a Nighthawk in the 60's when they first came out. They thought for sure I would have called Monday night and they were ready to come that evening with cash. I knew my bike had its perfect new owner. So why did I get off the phone and cry?

Oh for me. For me, for me, for me.

I cried for the first and only motorcycle I've ever owned. The one I actually learned how to ride on. The one I bought for myself as a college graduation gift. The one I bought after I said, "Ok, so I've always thought about wanting to ride a motorcycle and now I'm 26, I have two kids, and if I don't do it soon, I may never do it." The one I practically dreamed into existence: I want an older model, affordable, Honda. (When I finally said it out loud, I saw it on the corner of a street I drove down daily, about a week later, with a for sale sign on it.) The one that I couldn't even drive home by myself, that made me cry (while on the back learning to ride) because I was so afraid to take a turn! The one that I could eventually ride, weaving between the reflectors at a good clip, with a gleam in my eye. The one with the smell, the sound, the feel of riding right above the power to GO! The one that always meant freedom, in every way, to me.

I cried for the memories. I cried for the dream. I cried for who I was when I bought it, who I thought I'd be by now. For the trip to Sturgis that never happened. For the mechanical ability that wasn't cultivated. For the wind in my hair and all that cliché, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance kind of spiritual awakening and connection stuff that happened when I rode along for miles at death-defying speeds (which isn't very fast on a bike, btw!). For the joy of the days when it did run and made me feel so, so good to be alive.

Yes, that one.

Is it no wonder, then, that I cried?

My youngest daughter said, "Mom, you never ride it anymore anyway."

"Don't be mean to me," I said.

I don't know that anyone truly knows what that bike means to me...even sitting in the garage. Just being able to sit on it and hold on every now and again.

"Making way for the new one," my husband said.

"Yes, the new one," I smiled.

But later, when I was alone and driving in the car, the hopeless romantic in me imagined the new, perfect owner driving away with my baby in the back of his truck, and I cried again. The new one will never be the old one, the first one, the most "romantic" one, and that's ok. I'll be able to console myself that I still have all the feelings and the memories safe here with me.

Oh, and pictures!


Vaya con Dios, my darling!

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.


Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for your post, Nicole. What a wonderful tribute to your bike and your former self.


George said...

Yup, that was a nice bike. -sniff- Hasta la vista!! I hope I can ride your next one.

Camellia said...

I remember when you got it. I remember what it meant to you. So, that sense of discovering and allowing who you are into who you will be...what's next, Blossom?

Mrs. G. said...

Parting is such sweet sorrow...happy travels.

tumbleweed said...

mmm i recently parted with a small car that had (through no fault of its own) become surplus to requirements. originally belonging to my grandmother, it had come to live with us when she moved in (to our house). then when she joined the Big Sleep in 2002, we drove it. gradually the children have acquired licenses and saved for their very own chariots...and I (for the first time ever) bought myself a car (after a lifetime of gratefully driven handmedowns). The Beastie is entirely satisfying, so little Blunbintle (Grandmother's car) spent increasing hours doing nothing. i debated selling, but it seemed wrong. a couple of weeks ago we put it on a truck and sent it East as a present to my auntie. she loves it, and putters happily to the shops in her new blue broomstick. a happy new beginning for the little wheeled one!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I think we all have memories like this--thus it's very good literature. My husband and I had a red 49 Ford convertible. We thught we needed that $300 when we sold it. Worse, I thought I couldn't drive it from Phoenix to LA when we move. My how times have change. The cre is worth thousands and I drive any damn place I want. (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson