Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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January 2017

    Whoopee! “The Holiday Season” is officially over!

    Ya know I used to LOVE the holidays even after I became an adult, but now I often dread them and can’t wait for them to be over.

    Thanksgiving used to be all warm and fuzzy, full of family and food.

    Christmas was magical and though I might sometimes be a selfish old turd, I’ve always loved giving gifts and I still do when I have someone I care about to give them to. My sons are far away and it just works out best if I give them money to do as they decide, including buying something small picked out by them for the grandkids from Grandpa. That kills a bunch of birds with one stone and it helps take some money worries off my boys.

    And New Year’s Eve? Well, when I was partying much more than I do now I used to think that New Year’s Eve was almost sanctioned to be a night when you could get as loaded as you possibly can any way you could.

    For me, now that I’m single and my boys are in different states, everything is way different. Lately, Thanksgiving is just another day except for Macy’s parade and football on the tube, unless someone is kind enough to invite me over to be with their family... then I often feel like the “odd man out” - slightly uncomfortable and out of place. Every Christmas I get bombarded with all the commercial merchandising, but since I don’t participate in the sharing of it so much it’s all just an annoyance. I can almost understand Scrooge’s “Bah, humbug” because those I care most about are far away and even my good friend Jackie goes to Florida for a few weeks each Christmas. As far as New Year’s Eve is concerned, I stay home completely sober unless I have a guest or two, but even then it’s much mellower than in the past. I used to call New Years Eve “amateur night” because the roads were dangerously full of part-time drinkers, and I guess I too have become an amateur so I stay home.

    Believe it or not, I’m not complaining. At least these days I don’t suffer from post-Christmas financial pain....I don’t have to eat turkey leftovers for a week, and I haven’t had a New Year’s morning (or afternoon) hangover for so long I barely remember how bad they were. But I am glad that being constantly reminded of how much fun I should be having is all over for another year. Now, let’s get the hell outta there and change course to go somewhere else...

    I was talking to an old friend the other day and he reminded me of something humorous that happened at an ABATE meeting long ago. But back then, for a few minutes when it happened, I wouldn’t have seen any humor in it.

    This meeting was held at a Hooters restaurant/bar that was in our county for a few years. The place was located on a busy highway and had a huge parking lot.

    When I first arrived there, I parked my relatively new bike to the right of a plain, blue, windowless van and I entered the establishment noting that I could easily see it from the bar’s front door or windows (for obvious reasons that has always been important to me). I was the county coordinator in those days and I began the meeting shortly after the designated time (as usual) when enough people (probably twenty or so) showed up and I brought things to order. After the preliminary pledge of allegiance followed by the reports and discussions, I began the main topic by speaking about an upcoming event.

    In the middle of this I happened to glance out the window and in the distance my scoot was missing! I saw the side of that blue van but I didn’t see my bike! I freaked and loudly shouted in the middle of a sentence calmly talking about the event, “OH MY GOD!!! SOMEBODY STOLE MY BIKE!!!!” dropping whatever was in my hands and flying out the door.

    After I ran the thirty yards or so to where my bike should have been, with most of the people attending the meeting streaming out the door behind me, I immediately realized what had happened: An identical blue van had come later and parked on the nearest side of my bike sandwiching the scoot between the two of them. If you’ve been riding for a while I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar thing has happened to you, but I still remember the feelings of instant relief, instant stupidity, and the slow “wearing off” of the panic even though at the time I had full coverage insurance. Which brings me to this....

    A few years ago I cancelled that full coverage on my bike when I realized that the amount of the actual policy and the deductible didn’t seem to warrant the premiums because if anything happened to MY seventeen year old bike short of a catastrophe that was actually my fault, I could probably fix it myself for a few hundred bucks or less which was probably less than the deductible anyway. Of course I kept the property damage and liability that covers OTHER folk’s property, but I cut off everything else. Then after another couple of years I found out that I could get just “theft” on it for a small amount, and did that in case it was stolen from my garage or when I had her parked somewhere. It wouldn’t come close to paying what it would cost to replace it of course, but it’s something anyway.

    Any of you who have been riding Harleys for a while know this, but the value of a used HD has dropped like a stone over the years. When I ordered this bike (my ’99 Road King) I had to be on a waiting list that lasted for three years and started for me in ‘96! Of course I still had my faithful old shovelhead to keep me on two wheels, but three years? And unless you had beaten the hell outta your scoot, you could always sell it for at least as much as you paid for it no matter how old it was. A Harley was one of the very few standard production vehicles that would actually increase in true value after you bought it! And that doesn’t even include inflation! Now that’s all different probably due to increased production by “The Company” (which at least eliminated the waiting list thing) and also because a lot of newbies who don’t know what they’re doing end up selling their scoots after a few months to buy boats or whatever. Okay, enough of that.

    Before I sign off this month I thought I’d relate something weird that happened just today...
    I’m sure you must be tired of me proudly proclaiming over and over again that I don’t use a cell phone (yet), but my not ever having one means that I still take the old pre-cell view of telephones and how to use them. In that view very few people had a land-line in their bathrooms or anyplace other than their living rooms, kitchens, or bedrooms, so I’m still not accustomed to even being able to use a phone wherever I happen to be.

    This morning I was replacing my shower curtain and as I was walking down the hall towards the bath with the new curtain in my hand, the phone rang. I stepped into my bedroom to grab and answer the one in there, and my fine friend Pam from Batavia down in the Cincinnati area said, “Hi Bum. What are you doing?”

    I replied. “Well, I’m going to the bathroom....” but before I could finish the line with “to change the shower curtain” she hurriedly said, “OH! I’M SO SORRY! TALK TO YOU LATER!” and hurriedly hung up leaving me feeling like a slob for sharing what was going on (or I should say what she thought was going on) with a babe, or anyone else for that matter. Pam is an old-school biker chick and definitely not a prude, but it was still awkward.

    I immediately called her back, and after her surprise of me calling so soon while she thought I was in the middle of taking a, well you know, it was all explained and we had a few yuks over it.

    Now, the importance of this other than it being a harmless, silly little anecdote is that things are often not what you think they are. In this New Year of 2017 when this world is so crazy and all of us who share living in it are so easily upset and agitated, I’m going to try to remember that. A simple miscommunication or honest mistake could result in anything from a slight embarrassment... to an argument, a divorce, an arrest, a killing, a riot, or even another war with people we aren’t already fighting!

    Let’s hope that we AND our newly elected, and completely inexperienced, political leaders (and their appointees) learn to be tolerant and to understand others in the hope that we all...... Have a Happy and Safe New Year,


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