Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Maybe Compassion, Broken Bones And Bruises Are The Answer

There's a 400cc dirt bike locked up at my place this morning. It's not mine, I don't intend to keep it and I came by it via some unusual circumstances.

Just minutes before I was supposed to leave to go to the Bessemer Aquaponics meeting last night I heard the sound of a small crash on the street right outside my window. Looking out I saw a young black male getting up from the ground and his motorcycle partially underneath our Mercury Marquis with the Police Interceptor Package-- the car Daddy worked his whole life to buy.

By the time I got out the door another young black male who lives just up the street was already on the scene and the two of them were pulling the bike out from under the car oblivious to the fact that I was there. My mind quickly assessed the situation, dirt bike, no tags, no helmet, obviously no insurance, this guy is instinctively going to try to ride away from the scene of the accident.

My mother being my mother came out the door and started telling him what he was and wasn't going to do. He and his friend acted as if she wasn't there not out of spite but because of the instinctive adrenaline rush. I know this because I've seen it too many times before when myself and mt friends wrecked motorcycles as young men. Also knowing that the flight instinct can switch to a fight instinct I decided I needed to get my 83 year old mother back into the house but to get that old battleaxe to do anything without a fight... Well I whispered to her to run in and call 911 as there was damage to her car.

The rider of the bike got on the bike and tried to start it, his adrenaline was pumping 100 miles per hour even though he wasn't moving. I'd seen him around the neighborhood as he hangs out with the other young black male who lives just up the street and has never been a problem but I also knew I had to discourage them from leaving the scene of the accident. I positioned myself not directly in front of the bike but in a position where I could pull him down as he sped away, "Why don't you just lean your bike over against my old truck," I told him. "You can't hurt that old truck."

His young friend agreed that would be the best idea and talked him into getting off the bike.

The old battleaxe came back out and announced that she had called 911. Really, I thought, great way to defuse a situation, Mom. Can't you see I'm outnumbered here should things turn ugly? Momma has no concept of street smarts, men pushing 60 vs young men in their 20s. Damn I hate having to think for other people. I wanted to choke her. I looked again at the Mercury. The only dent was in the bumper cover at the exact same place where she had put a small tear in the bumper cover a few years before. She thought the tear was new but I knew better. I thought about his situation: dirt bike, no tags, no helmet, obviously no insurance, excessive speed, probably no motorcycle endorsement, driving while black in Greensboro...

Even without the driving while black thing my white friends and I can all relate to the rest if we think back about 40 years or so. It ain't nothin' we haven't done before. I told Momma we had it all worked out, his mother was on the way and she needed to go back inside and cancel the 911 call. Amazingly she did what I said without argument.

As the adreline left him he got sick on his stomach, threw up and started feeling the pain of his fall. He actually took a pretty hard lick as hitting the car threw him into a landscape wall at about 50 MPH. He was losing color and hurting.

I gave him a down the road speech on why dirt tires don't work on pavement and pointing to his skid marks how it was obvious he had failed to use his front brake but being a motorcycle enthusiast myself I couldn't do the usual old person, you need to stay off that motorcycle crap. Trust me, he got that when the other, not quite so old battleaxe-- his mother-- arrived to take him to Cone Hospital. And did he get an earful, "I told you not to buy that motorcycle. You don't need no motorcycle. You gonna kill yourself on that motorcycle..."

Took me back 40 some years to the words of the other battleaxe... We get it Mothers of the world, you love us, you want us to stay alive and be safe. But you don't get it, it's in our DNA, some of us can't live without it. If you take our 2 wheels away we will kill ourselves... seriously. Even when our bikes don't run there's always the hope we'll someday ride again. Don't try to understand us, just accept us and realize its not because you did anything wrong. Some men are born to like other men, some men prefer motorcycles.

He'll be back. Like I said, I've got his bike and it's not a cheap motorcycle. I got his drivers license info to. With his help I'll be happy to load the bike on my truck and haul it home. In the long run I think he and Greensboro will be better off for his having met an old white biker than for having gone to jail. Even if he did have to do it the hard way.