May 28, 2008

Things To Do Before You Die

I've never made an official list like that for myself since I'm afraid there'd be too many things on there I'd NOT do before I died, but what I HAVE done is kept a list of things to do before I die as I DO them. That way I can check them off as soon as I accomplish them and write them down, and I don't feel like a failure!


One of those things that I wrote down long before I started a list is:

  • Ride a motorcycle in the rain.

I've done that a few times, like the Rolling Stones said in a song once. After my first divorce many years ago the only vehicle I had was a motorcycle, and I rode it to work and to the grocery story and to anywhere I didn't want to walk for the better part of three years. I rode in the rain and the cold and the heat and even once in a hailstorm.

I've had more close calls on the bike when it's raining than at any other time, but when it's open road and the rain is coming down and you're out there in it, living it, it's...liberating. I once heard a man say "The honorable man loves the feel of rain upon his face." I don't know what it means, and my honor may not be in the best condition currently but I do know that there is something to this riding in the rain.

Not the skin on your arms being beaten red. Not the incessant noise the drops make on your helmet at 50 mph (or gawds forbid your skull.) Having a really good rain suit handy when you ride in the rain will make the pain part a little more bearable. No, what I'm getting at here is a sense of being a PART of things. When the thunder rolls you feel it in your chest. When the lightning flashes it's all around you, not filtered in through the window tinting and heard dimly over the roar of the A/C and the radio. It's a sense of being a tiny part of a very big whole.

You feel connected to life in a way that's getting harder and harder to come by these days. It makes you want to bare your teeth and howl at the sky. It makes you remember you're just another animal on the face of the earth. Granted, an animal with the good sense to come in out of the rain but only if you WANT to.

And with enough sense to invest in a good rain suit.


Bob said...

there is something elemental about being outside in a storm. We once arrived at the beach at the tail end of a storm. the wind was blowing hard, the waves were huge and crashing, the spray mixing with the rain. We didn't even check in, we went straight out to the surf. it was awesome, in the fullest sense of the word.

meno said...

As longs as it's warm, i love to hike in the rain. Someday i'd like to do it naked. Did you ever ride your bike naked in the rain? You could feel the rain on more places than your face.

Gordo said...

Storms are amazingly powerful things. That's something that people that don't venture out into them don't realize. The raw power can be at turns invigorating, awe inspiring and downright terrifying.

Gordo said...

Meno, I wonder if riding naked wouldn't present more problems than just rain contact? A certain skydiving video comes to mind ...

Nancy Dancehall said...

But have you walked through Bedford Sty alone? That's living.

I walked through Cabrini Green once. Not alone but with Jo. We were 20 or so. And it was in the middle of the night and we were lost. And I had luggage.

We saw lots of things but were not harassed. Until we finally made it to her neighborhood and a couple of stoopid frat boys decided to bother us.

After surviving the Green, we just pulled out knives and forks and ate them.

I'd rather ride a motorcycle in the rain. Naked or otherwise.

Mona Buonanotte said...

Are y'all gonna start a naked motorcycle club? 'Cause I'm so totally in on that...

Clowncar said...

Does your skin really get beaten red from the raindrops? That's pretty nutty.

I've walked through Bed-Sty alone. And the Bronx. And large swaths of Brooklyn. No big thang. The motorcycle in the rain thing sounds much scarier.

Jean said...

I'm thinkin' riding naked in the rain would be HELL on nipples...ow!

Irrelephant said...

Bob, I've never had that particular joy but I have been around the ocean enough to be enthralled by it on a good day--I can only imagine it in the tail end of a storm.

Meno, the closest I've ever gotten to riding in the all together is pushing my bike back into the garage in a pair of boxers. *lol* I've been hit by a variety of insect life at highway speed and I can say that even fully clothed it can smart at times. I'd honestly hate to be hit bare-skinned by a bug. Talk about welts, and bug guts on skin? Ew.

I spent thirteen years living in a small mobile home, Gordo, and I can honestly say I genuinely miss the sound of a storm from those days. I don't miss much ELSE, but I do miss storms in that little crackerbox.

And you're right, Gordo--too, methinks.

Nancy, you're a tough little cookie (with a long history) aren't ya? It figures the only trouble you'd get is from the fratters. Jackasses.

I'm still not real hyped on the whole nekkid thing. Raindrops at 60mph on bare arms is like being hit by many slow-speed pellets.

Mona, tell you what, I'll set up a training course for first-time nekkid motorcyclist women and we'll go from there, yes?

CC, it can. Back in The Day, before I was smart enough to wear protective gear at all times I got caught in storms fairly often. Water droplets are falling at their terminal velocity already, possibly moved around by whatever wind is blowing. Multiply that by your forward motion into them. I've come home with both arms solid red and swollen from biceps to fingers after being caught in heavy downpours when rushed.

As for scary? Not really, not after you've done it a few times. I tell people it's just like riding in the dry, only a little darker and you don't take turns quite so quickly.

Jean, it's hell on ANY exposed skin! Nipples and areas? Yowtch! I guess it'd be a little better for the passenger because the driver would be getting the worst of it, but still, not my idea of a good time.

Maybe a very VERY slow cruise in a gentle spring shower. MAYBE. *lol*