It has certainly been a long time since wisdom ruled the day. I did get up and run in the rain, and now I am preparing to do some “wrenching” on my motorcycle. I am trying to temper my eagerness to ride with my desire to get everything “right” on the bike–without stretching the bounds of the friendship of the good souls who help and guide me on this quixotic journey of sorts.
Learning to fix motorcycles is a bit like learning music: there is a steady flow of learning curves followed by successes, brief interludes of smug satisfaction, followed by harsh reminders of our inadequacies, and then another learning curve followed by success, more smugness, more inadequacies until, at some point, a compromise is reached; and like Roberto Duran, whispering “no mas…” We grudgingly accept who we are and where we are at, and somewhere in this village of complacency, we feed off the nuggets of wisdom (also known as experience) scattered sparingly around and which sustains us and carries us through the common days of our lives.
My motorcycle, a 1982 Honda “Naked” Goldwing, is beastly and beautiful, but it is still just a thing and not worth throwing good money after bad. The sloth in me would love to bring it down to Duncan or Galen and say, “Have at it. Fix everything that needs fixing. Replace everything that needs replacing. But, leave the polishing to me…” That, however, would be a fool’s errand, and I would be left with an expensive bike that costs way more than it is worth. I am learning this slowly, but I am learning, even as I approach my golden years.
Pieces and parts are pretty cheap, and time, if viewed magnanimously, is infinite. My most valuable resource is friendship and kinship. I seem to always find someone willing to help an old fool with a stubborn problem. Denise often laughs that if I work on the bike long enough in the front driveway, someone will stop by who knows how to fix it. It is an observation that is pretty close to the truth, for I am certainly blessed with a panoply of friends with a myriad mix of skill-sets, attitudes, and inclinations. Luckily, I am a gregarious creature, which is a good thing, for I would be a useless misanthrope, who would more than likely spend my life trying to dig myself out of the holes I’ve fallen in, never seeing the hands reaching down to help me up. In this sense, I am saved by friendships, and I pity the solitary, myopic persons who labor alone–even as I admire and stand in awe of their mechanical skills and problem-solving prowess.
Today, Tom has lent me his shop–a shop full of nifty, rare tools (and a bike lift). Hatrack is coming by to keep me honest, and bless me with his years of mechanical wizardry. Steve, is riding his beloved scooter in today’s driving rain all the way from Boston to ensure that I do things right, not half-ass or halfway. I’ll be there with my new timing belts, carb-syncing tool, and valve adjusters (and links to youtube videos). It is a mix and a recipe for success, so I am sure that today will be a day with a learning curve, successes, and, God Willing, a bit of smug satisfaction.