Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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April 2013

        Hey everybody,
   Well, the 2013 ABATE of Ohio Legislative Seminar held on the weekend of Feb. 1st. was certainly interesting LOL. And no, I didn’t do nuttin’ bad! In fact, I brought a few lady friends with me who recently joined ABATE. They’ve never been to anything like this before, and both of them had a blast! So much so in fact, that the hotel’s security had to give THEM a talking to! LMAO!

   The hotel where it was held will be the same location for the national (and international) legislative extravaganza sponsored by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and known to all as the “Meeting of the Minds” in September. I’m sure that much more about this year’s ABATE seminar will be written about by others, so here I’ll just say that at least I didn’t embarrass myself too badly this time. Though sadly, I did return to our room and slept through Saturday evening’s banquet and award ceremonies, so I missed that entire part of the festivities because I was up all of the previous night. Both of those old sayings, “If ya dance to the music, ya gotta pay the piper” and “If ya snooze, ya lose” come to mind.

   Though you might be reading this in April, as I’m writing it, I’ve just returned from the seminar yesterday (it’s that time-warp thing again). As I gaze out my window I see a calm and still landscape of snow. But the ride home from Columbus yesterday was sorta dicey mostly because I used up all my windshield-washer fluid mid-way through the trip due to all the road-spray from trucks and cars on I-71. I blame that for missing the turn-off sign for I-76 East in Akron and getting halfway to Cleveland before I realized it. For trips like that one was, I wish my w/washer was attached to a 55-gallon drum of the stuff! I’d mount the damned thing on my roof if I had to.

   Although it drives me nuts to get lost, it happens often. I’ve met the greatest people and seen the coolest things when I was so lost that I didn’t even know which state I was in, but it’s still a real pain in the ass sometimes. One of these days I might break down and actually get a cell phone with GPS, if nothing else to give me a grip on that. I think I’m the only person in the country without a cell phone!

   Oh, I’ve paid for a few before that belonged to my exes. But I’ve never thought I really needed one for myself since I’m retired and have an answering machine. Of course, having a cell for break-downs and flats makes perfect sense. And who knows? I might wanna order a hot pizza to pick up on my way home from somewhere. But for the most part, anyone who has something to say to me can just wait until I get home and I listen to my answering machine.

   It’s safe to say that I get disturbed even thinking about technology (though we all use it all the time). I have become somewhat familiar with my computer. Enough so that I can email and do my writing. I can surf the web to do research for just about any reason and on any subject. And there, I can find the answer to just about any question that can be put into words. But every time something unfamiliar happens with my computer, I literally freak out. I imagine everything I keep on it is gone forever, that I’ll never again have the luxury of casually waking up to my morning email, and that I’ll have to dig out my old clickity-clacking “Royal” typewriter, dust it off, and buy a new ribbon for it (if they even still make them).

    A few years ago my son Jason took my entire collection of music and created over 47,000 individual song files digitally. Then more recently, he uploaded them into my computer so I could DJ without lugging all my music CDs around (remember those old antiquated CDs?) Then, since my computer suddenly became 99.9% full of text and song-files and I was afraid it was gonna explode...I bought an external “terabyte” hard-drive and copied it all to that to free up memory on my computer. Now, I just gotta find the courage to hit the “delete” key on the lap-top to do just that. Until I do, my damned printer isn’t even working properly, probably because my comp is so packed full of stuff.

   Ya know, I recently watched a science program where this guy actually had a “chip” implanted in his arm so he can be online all the time. For now, he uses some kind of headphone gadget that he actually plugs into his arm. But they’re working on an internal devise that goes directly into his brain. In fact, a woman has something implanted in her brain that allows her to mentally command the use of a prosthetic arm that replaced the one that was severed in an accident.

    It’s so damned hard just to keep up with all this stuff! Our world is changing SO rapidly that time itself seems to be speeding up (and the older ya get, the faster it slips by!)

   Many things we “old-timers” took for granted are now totally obsolete. For instance: As a kid, I remember waking up to the sound of our milk-man rattling his glass bottles. When was the last time ya saw either a “milk-man” OR a “glass” milk-bottle?

    Someone would just “Drop a dime” into a pay phone if they turned ya in to the po-lice, but thanks to cell phones, “pay phones” are just about all gone. And while we’re just speaking of dimes: “Buddy can ya spare a dime?” was a request for a cup of coffee. Try getting one for that at Starbucks! And a “dime” bag of pot used to be $10, and it weighed over ½ an ounce because a Mexican ounce bag was only $15 (and a Columbian-$20, not that I’d personally know anything about that.)

   “Mom and Pop” owned grocery stores that belonged to US citizens, gas station attendants who “pumped your gas, checked your oil, tires, and washed your windshield” and getting a “baker’s dozen” (13) at the donut shop, are all gone now. Hell, I once asked a waitress at Dunkin’s if I’d get a “baker’s dozen”, and she had no idea what I was talking about! And I can even remember it didn’t seem that long ago that taverns often featured “quarter draft beers” for poker runs and biker could get a buzz-on for a buck!

    Lotsa former motorcycle stuff is Having to use “hand signals” for turns; a “kick” starter; a “6 volt” electrical system (we ALL should be grateful that’s been changed); a “generator”; a “regulator”; a “carburetor”; a “set of points”; “filament” headlights (and having to remember to turn them on as evening approaches). Primary and rear chains are even rapidly becoming obsolete.

   Though I realize that it sounds like I’m complaining about most of this stuff, I’m not bitching so much as I’m stating that it’s all so bewildering to me. Hell, since I ride like an old lady these days, I rarely even have any issues with my bike’s maintenance....I just have to change the oil, tires, and brakes regularly. All the “Motor Company” has to do now is to develop a bike that washes itself (when that absolutely HAS to be done).

    Years ago I came up with the notion that a young person who is VERY well versed in the latest technology (regarding home media), could easily make a fortune by simply forming a truly unbiased company that sends someone to our homes and spends an hour or so looking at our individual techno-needs, then advising us face to face which is the best TV service (satellite, cable etc.), the best phone system (they’d have to be, and KEEP current on all the choices and the best deals). They could even discuss the latest and various “apps” regarding cell phones, and what is available...the best internet service, hell, the best computer system for our needs. They could also advise us on “bundling” with various companies for various services.

    Of course it WOULD require guaranteed impartiality. And it would require lotsa effort to keep up with the latest regarding all this stuff. Every company that offers any of these services and products would want theirs to be chosen and might try to influence the company’s decisions by giving them money or free “stuff”. But the actual overhead for a bright young entrepreneur would be negligible....just advertising, scheduling, and a car.

    They could sorta be the “Geek Squad” for old farts like me (and young people too) who get so baffled about all this shit. I know that I’d gladly pay $100 for a brief “house call” to actually KNOW what is best to do. And there are a lot more people like me out there who would also. It would be bound to save us lotsa money in the long run, rather than bumbling around paying for things we don’t need or want. And I’m sure that there are plenty of geezers like myself who never make the leap to take advantage of all this techno-stuff, just because we’re afraid to do it. We just don’t know what the hell we’re doing, or even what’s out there!

   This company could also branch out to include: Home security services, the best GPS systems for short, the latest available technology regarding ANYTHING a home-owner and traveler needs to live comfortably, yet cost-effectively, in this complicated world we find ourselves in. Though I don’t play the market, I’d actually buy stock in a company that does that!

    Of course technology IS directly tied to progress. In many ways we’ve become healthier and happier. We can easily keep ourselves entertained. And if we’re selective about how we use it, our lives can certainly be enriched by technology.

   For instance: In the old days before “battery-tenders”, I usually chose April 1st (April Fool’s Day) as the day when I’d promise myself no matter what, that my bike would be up, running, and on the road. It was my annual goal. Nowadays, unless the scoot is torn apart (which hasn’t happened to this bike...yet), and since my “battery-tender” allows me to just unplug the bike and having to drag the battery out of the basement (where I kept it warm all winter), charging it, mounting it, connecting it, and most of the other things that I used to have to do just to get the bike road-ready each spring, is completely unnecessary.

    However, at least make sure you always check your fluids, your tires’ pressure and (most importantly) how much tread ya still have on them puppies when ya roll that beast out of the barn. Also remember that a lot of that slippery left-over winter road treatment could stay on the edges of the roads and piled up in the center of the road junctions for months.

   So, ride safely my friends. And maybe we’ll ALL still be around to take advantage of whatever kind of technology is in store for us down the road. Personally, I can’t wait until they come up with a way for people to just “beam” themselves to wherever they need to go. Just think of it: We could finally tell the Arabs to feed their oil to their camels because we’ll have more than enough for our own “22nd Century” recreational motorcycle riding! And if people seriously needed to be somewhere, they could just “beam” themselves and/or their cargo there.

    The air would be a little cleaner, and we could all breathe a little easier (literally and figuratively) because the roads will be clear of ALL four-wheel traffic! And then we can really do some serious cruisin’ without all them pesky old cars and trucks smashing into us and getting in our way.

   Now THAT would truly be “livin’ the dream”,


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