This year I lost two dear friends, and a third loss was a whole group, which didn't make saying goodbye any easier.
The first was my old red robe. Easily the oldest of my newly-lost friends, I've had my old terry-cloth robe for almost 20 years. I can clearly remember asking my mom if she'd sew me one, with only two explicit instructions: it had to be red, and it had to have slightly flared ends on the belt. Don't ask me why it had to have flared ends on the belt, I don't know, don't recall, and have no earthly idea what I was thinking at the time. Red, well, that goes without saying.
Needless to say, even with light usage 20 years is a long time for an article of clothing, and Santa this year set his jolly eye on replacing that robe with a brand new burgundy-coloured monster, so oversized that it manages to swallow even MY rather largish frame. Thick, warm, and red. Well, dark red, but hey, nobody's perfect.
So farewell, threadbare collar, goodbye torn-off belt-loops so that I had to keep track of the belt separately, adieu to the strange smells and peculiar stains. Goodbye, old red terrycloth robe.
The group I had to say farewell to was easier than the others, but still painful. Through the loving auspices of several of my gifters this year I got argyle socks. And there is, let me tell you now, nothing finer in the world that argyle socks for Christmas. The problem being, I then had to make room in my already overstuffed dresser drawer for new argyle socks, and this of course entailed getting rid of some of the old pairs of argyle socks who, through no fault of their own, have become torn, threadbare, or lost all the elastic in their cuffs and are more trouble than they're worth except that they're argyle.
The last and perhaps dearest friend I lost over the holiday was my old Arai Quantum-e helmet. Yes, scoff though you might, that helmet was nearer and dearer my
The suggested lifespan of a motorcycle helmet is 5-6 years, and my Arai, through sheer force of costing so much, lasted 11. Part of it being that I could not afford to replace such a magnificent piece of engineering, the other side of the coin was that it doesn't LOOK old. I counted last night, before putting it into it's helmet bag and boxing it up, a total of 5 small rock pecks marring the otherwise still-mirror bright finish. I also grudgingly had to add in the visor vent that was broken and always stayed closed when it was hot and open when it was cold, and the weatherstripping trim around the visor that had come unglued, and the badly tattered nylon straps which, while still strong looked like Cookie Monster's left arm (furry,) and the neck padding which, when new, fit more snug than a...well, fit pretty snug, which now, after 11 years of abuse is looser than a...well, is pretty darned loose.
The time had come, you see, to move on. Safety-speaking, that is. And Santa, working through the auspices of my mother-in-law, hooked a brother up, in a very big way. You see, part of the problem of being older is that your present list gets rather, well, expensive. No longer am I desperate for a wrist rocket or a Super Soaker with the backpack tanks. My tastes have matured, as have the costs of my presents, and a fast search of the web will show you that Arai helmets do not start cheap, and they go way up from there. But, in the interest of having SOMETHING on my Wish List I put a pair of helmets, one cheap, the other my most desired Arai, the Astral in Ice Red, and a pair of leather jackets, and some oddments. And Christmas morning, after all the barely-concealed giggles behind hands and the dropped hints and the sly remarks about how surprised I was going to be Christmas morning, the event occurred.
I got my most-wished for Arai.
And after the warm glow finally difused, I realised that I would have to retire an old soldier--my Quantum e.
So it was with a heavy heart that I lifted my loyal friend down from the coat rack hook for the last time, brought her to the kitchen table for one last detailed cleaning, tightened her straps, slipped her into her helmet bag, knotted the bag cords, slid her into her box and set youthful things behind me.
I need to go ride now. In my new helmet.