Yesterday, I received the following email on a rider list to which I subscribe:
For Sale:(1) 2008 Ninja 250, 12k miles, red, new tires, completely stock, no crashes, cracks, or scrapes. Needs carbs cleaned, will include new battery still in box.
Included in purchase, (1) 2002 Ninja, 58k miles, trashed and modified bodywork, tires hard as rocks, ran well when parked. Has new clutch installed, but never ridden afterward. Also has throttlemeister and K&N air filter.
Will also include lots of spares, we'll clean out my garage when you pick up the bikes.
$1800 takes all, pick up in Independence, MO.
My heat skipped a few beats, not a full on myocardial infarction, but close, or perhaps just a touch of gastroesophageal reflux. In a few moments I had a route planned on Streets & Trips of just under five hundred miles each way, I had checked on cycle trader to get a feel for just how great a deal this would be, and I had looked at UHaul trailer rental prices. It is truly not that expensive to rent a trailer for a day or two with a loading ramp and that would be easier on my back than trying to lift the bikes into the back of my pickup truck.
I hastily sent this reply, trying hard not to sound overly eager:
Does "needs carbs cleaned" imply that the 07 is not running or that it is just in need of scheduled service? Does it start and run? It sounds like the overall condition of the bike is very good.
I will have a chat with my wife tonight to see if I can get a kitchen pass.
My wife has my truck right now as hers is in the shop again, grrrr, and on the way home from work I told her about this "great opportunity". The look of horror on her face was only a bit of a surprise, but she did not vomit and I took that as a very auspicious omen even if all the blood had drained from her beautiful face. Clearly, I still had a bit of work to do and all the time I had spent watching TV in bed while wearing my pristine Aria Signet-Q, in Hi-Viz Neon Yellow, had not yet convinced her that I am truly serious about this late onset midlife moto madness I am experiencing.
"Where are you going to get the money", she asked with blue tinged lips?
I am no lawyer, but I knew this question was going to be the first so I had given careful consideration to my response. "What money baby?"
"Damn you, the $1800", she screamed.
"Look, I want the 02, and I can easily sell the 07 for $1800 after I get it back to Dallas. My bike will be free." I said this with a straight face, with a calm and rational voice, and it had the exact impact I had expected.
"Bull sh*t!", was her bitter response.
Now this might have altered the course of a man with less determination, or better judgment, but I was not at all deterred, and, considering that Mrs. Hanson is a redheaded native Texan with an honest Irish temper, her response was the equivalent of the discharge of an air gun instead of a full broadside from the fourteen inch rifles of the Battleship Texas.
Our conversation continued for some time, with long pauses on her part, and with very substantial dynamic range. Luckily, OK it was planned, I had already opened the sunroof on my truck to make certain that the overpressure waves generated by Mrs. Hanson's responses would not blow out my windows. It must be understood that Susi is literally a Sunday school teacher, she is the director of children's ministries at our church and also the director of the preschool, but I dare not repeat the expletives that escaped her tender lips else I will be forever baned from this form. Nor does Susi deserve to have her reputation damaged as she was driven to her verbal excesses by my impertinence.
In the end I got about what I expected and deserved.
"I will think about it. I have a headache and I am not going to talk about it any more right now."
It was clear that I would be sleeping on the couch.
After dinner, which I cooked as an act of contrition by a repentant supplicant begging forgiveness, I checked my email in as inconspicuous a manner as possible. The bikes had already been sold and a dark shadow momentarily griped my heart.
Despite my disappointment, I did learn a lot from this experience.
First, my dear wife is honestly worried about my physical safety on a motorcycle and however determined I am to ride I am also determined to do my very best to make her comfortable with the idea.
Second, my first bike will not be my last bike. I was truly happy, even gleeful, with the prospect of riding a high mileage 02 Ninja without regard to what the bike looked like. My first bike will be a first bike, a tool for learning, and it does not matter in the least if it is new or cool or powerful or even if it has a wonderful pizza aroma.
Third, my truck will be paid off in just one more year and Mrs. Hanson is already talking about how that would be a better time for me to get a motorcycle. I understand that she is continually praying to God, Susi is good at praying, that I will somehow wake up and be miraculously restored my faculties of reason, or perhaps that I will simply parish, but this still creates a definitive time frame and I view that as a modest but significant victory.
I am resolute in my determination to ride, I am indefatigable, and Mrs. Hanson is starting to accept that reality. A year is nothing, less than two percent of the days I have already experienced in my life and the best of those days where gifts from my dear Susi. I am a lucky man.
Live free ride far,