Becoming a motorcyclist changes your view regarding death. I recall, not long after I got my license and then became more comfortable with riding, thinking, "I DO NOT want to die. I will wear every piece of protective equipment I can think of and will make sure I'm well-rested beforehand and completely sober. But, if it does happen to be my time, meh. What can you do?" This should not be confused with BEFORE I was comfortable with riding, when I most often thought, "I'm TOTALLY gonna die."
Okay...so I've slipped up a little on the well-rested part. Which went hand-in-hand with the hangover a couple weeks back on a Sunday morning club ride. What little lesson did the Universe impart to me? Foggy brains are no good on a ride. I was all over the place, wasn't paying attention, reacted slowly. Stupid, really. And if one more rat bastard told me I needed to smile more, I was going to have to head-butt them with my helmet (However, I'm not THAT stupid. Head-butting hurts).
This past weekend's rub with the grass teaches another lesson: Don't be an ass. Tangent --> Speaking of ass, I'm now into the third washing of those jeans. And the butt-specific grass stains? Etched in. I asked our newest roomie, "Are you any kind of laundry guru? Know anything that'll get out ground-in shame? How about those tough embarrassment stains?" Note to self: He is no laundry guru. If that red t-shirt of his (the one that says, "When Chuck Norris parties, he doesn't throw up. He THROWS DOWN") goes in with my lights, I just know I'll end up with pink socks. I can only own one article of pink clothing at a time. Tomboy law.
Back to "don't be an ass." The events of this past Sunday bring to mind a wise and often-overlooked bit of sage advice. "Go that way. REALLY fast. If something gets in your way....turn." Uh huh. Also, duh.
I'm not terribly superstitious, but I believe an occasional little bit helps. My Icon jackets come with a little St. Christopher medal sewn into the inside pocket. I'm not Catholic, but it's nice to imagine a diminutive sweatshop worker--I like to picture a mother with many children--sewed this into my jacket with particular care and, as if knowing it would end up in my possession, would say to the aether, "Don't be an ass, Kuj. Even faith can't cure stupid."
Whenever I get on my bike, I give the freaky tiki on the tank a little pat, and say to myself, "Yeah, you could cack today. So, be vigilant, have a blast, and do what you can to return with all 20 digits, 4 limbs, both eyes and a head (I hear those are important), and whatever brain cells you still had when you left the house earlier."
Next week, I'm leaving for the Brainerd Intl. Raceway up in Minnesota. It's a Central Roadracing Association weekend, and a friend of mine is racing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I love spectating, particularly when someone I know is out on the track. Motorcycle roadracing is a far more exciting sport to watch because it's so edge-of-the-envelope when it comes to speed, inertia, gravity, etc. And the pilot's all out there, skin, leather and plastic, pavement. Knees in the breeze.
Sunday night, the CRA organizers pack up and go home. But we'll be staying overnight again, because Monday all day is a TrackAddix track day. If you've never heard of "track day," it's basically an opportunity for those us of the non-racing persuasion to get to ride on a bona fide race track (and the NHRA dragstrip, which is part of the road course). Cheap too. Try $165 compared to a race weekend total of around $1500.
Gone is the gravel and sand, wildlife of the non-human variety, mini-vans, pedestrians, drunks, greasy horse poo, tar snakes and bicyclists in those icky shorts and cone-shaped helmets. It's just you, your bike, a 3.1 mile track and plenty of knowledge to be gleaned from riders with all kinds of experience.
This will be my first track day, and I've been told many times that track day makes you a much better rider, because all the above issues that make you hyper-aware on the street, disappear to let you concentrate on how to ride. I'm in the novice class, and we get to ride for 20 minutes every hour for most of the day. There are also instructors on-hand to walk you through the track before you start and offer suggestions as you ride.
I'm all excited about it, but I'm fairly certain I was less stressed out about buying my first house. Most of the stress is logistics (what to bring, how to bring it, will I get to have sex with a random blind man, I should shave in case I'm in an accident, etc.). I'm guessing when all the necessities are out of the way, the actual track day will have me as wired as my first skydive.
This introduction of more risk into my life had me thinking this morning about the what if...and I remembered back in high school when we had a Senior Will drawn up where we left various ephemera to the underclassmen. Well, the popular people evidently participated in the Senior Will. The rest of us on the fringes were evidently left off the "I will my foul sweat socks to Stumpy the Junior Jock Strap boy" list. I guess that beats being left a foul jock strap, depending on how you look at it. Also? Not crying about the Will. All the popular kids were douchebags. Being a band fag was fine with me. Especially that one day when the band got free lunch. For 2nd place in the nation. The football team never got that. Meatheads.
In the incredibly unlikely event of my demise on-track (Mom, read that twice. Incredibly unlikely), I, Kuj, being "all there" at the moment, do hereby blah blah blah.
To my Mother, I bequeath:
- My Bare Minerals kit, only used once. Using it on my corpse will likely result in a flawless complexion, unless oil-producing glands continue to function post-mortem. If that's the case, there's just no God.
- The bucket full of collected things in the spare room closet.
- The "claws" you talked me into buying at the Ren Fair.
- A song lyrics web page of your choosing. Bone up on your Duran Duran, since you know every other song on the planet.
- My sanity.
To my Father, I bequeath:
- Someone to follow you around one day a week, spouting useless, often-ignored phrases such as "Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad" and "Why won't you buy me that car when I graduate?"
- My XM radio. You can never listen to too much Motown and Blues.
- Sportbike tires for Rachel.
To my Brother, I bequeath:
- A mail sorter the size of a small, third-world country. Just admit it, you won't open your mail when I'm gone, either.
- A cork. Obviously.
- A hot tub. Filled with Guinness.
- A case of Febreze. In case the cork gives.
- My ability to not sweat the petty things, before you perforate your colon from stress. Don't forget to pet the sweaty things. Obviously.
- My bike. I picture a nice end table.
To my cousin Heather, I bequeath:
- My sense of humor and rapier-like wit. The trick is to not announce, "I'm funny!" Although, that worked flawlessly the first time. Huge laugh. HUGE.
- Many tiaras.
- A case of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Don't think about the human flesh thing.
- Whatever patience I had left to deal with this "laugh first, ask if you're okay later" family of ours.
To my cousin Beefcake, I bequeath:
- Your own bar. Tappers as far as the eye can see.
- A tiny, fart-riding cowboy. Weeeeee!
- Extra-long socks.
To my Aunt Joy, I bequeath:
- Anything decorative that still didn't get hung up on a wall or placed...decoratively. You are a magician of the domestic.
- A lifetime supply of that appetizer from Wildfish.
- No winged f**kers.
- Someone to make sure your nightshirt is on right-side out next time you huddle in the laundry room during a tornado warning.
To my best friend Trish, I bequeath:
- A simultaneous, alternative life. You need the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle; you have no idea. Flip-flops, umbrella drinks, mostly nude, fairly tanned pool boys. Never mind. Talk your gorgeous husband into a flattering Speedo. Make him mow the lawn.
- A hammock. From which to watch Speedo husband mow the lawn. Don't forget the umbrella drink.
- And a babysitter.
- My total and utter disgust for the Wilco drummer's hair. Okay, I'm dead, I can come clean...my total and utter disgust for Wilco's music too.
To my dear friend Choz, I bequeath:
- My Frank Sinatra CD. You've probably spilled Captain Morgan on yours by now.
- My fountain of useless knowledge for NTN trivia.
- My absolute enjoyment in something as simple as a good boat drink and an after-dark excursion aboard the good ship.
To my dear friend Billy, I bequeath:
- Every last cd I own (except Frank, obviously). You just can't ever have enough music. You'll love Enya.
- That one t-shirt. You know the one.
- My Wilco drummer "memorabilia."
- Full length posters of every "hot chick" who's ever been your "intern."
To my dear friend Ben, I bequeath:
- An ass-smacking hand made of plaster. I swear I'll get back at you one way or another.
- A new hamstring, evidently.
- The title of "Pseudo-Sommelier" for trying to keep the Winery thing going after I moved.
- The simple amusement of "Not Saint, Le, Eau."
- That look on your face when you denied stepping into a strip club 20 minutes after your arrival in Eau Claire.
- Speaking of that, a god blessed chauffeur.
To my dear friend Art, I bequeath:
- A straight pinky.
- No more agita.
- A lounge very near your desk, complete with the Taco Bell dog and "female appointments" calendar.
- A lifetime supply of choco-buttons.
- A dead, sweaty, fake Elvis with camel toe. Yeeesh.
A ticket for any airline except America West. A drunken stroll to the Las Vegas Strip Walgreen's for "beanercheese." A $20 sushi lunch. A $120 Mexican dinner. A new SSCo username.
To my dear....well, to Junior, I bequeath:
A car radio with one station. Mexican. A California Closet consultation for your cubicle. An end to polo shirts with a single, horizontal stripe. You and Alan from "Two and a Half Men"? Twins. Bernie. You have him follow you around at midnight. See how you like it. Your lips bronzed in the shape of "Tooosday." Somebody else may enjoy the sight as much as I once did.
To my incredibly gracious boss, I bequeath:
An employee who's less of a pain in the ass. And cheaper. But better.
To my neighbors across the street, I bequeath:
A parking lot. Stock exhaust pipes.
To the Chippewa Valley Sportbike Club, I bequeath:
A case of Anti-Monkey Butt. A case of Taint Paint. A case of Gold Bond. A case of Beamish.
- A case of happy pills.
A case of duct tape. A case of zip ties. A case to hold it all.
To El Presidente, I bequeath:
Your very own case of duct tape and zip ties. A chiropractor. A monkey paw.
To the entire Chippewa Valley, I bequeath:
More radio format choices besides Country AND Western. Lou's. Portillo's.
- Siri Thai.
To Skrawny, I bequeath:
My ass fat. All the tears you made me shed in sheer hilarity. A cabinet full of beer steins.
To my ex-boyfriend, I bequeath:
My old sweatshirts. You freak.
Don't forget to play the music on my mp3 player at the funeral...party it up!