Rated: E · Non-fiction · Personal · #2287291
man machine love and sanity
My new best friend (my 750cc 4-cylinder Honda motorcycle) now newly registered and I spent all of our spare time -(and some that was not )attached to each other on the seemed full.road. This was truly a case of the trip not being half the fun - it was all the fun. Just driving to and from, work and home was an adventure. We laughed at rain, chilly weather, or even rampaging dogs (all of whom hated motorcycles for reasons unknown). I could not tell you why but life was good.
It was deep in the warm weather, school lay a few months ahead, I had finished my brief time as a mason tender, Thanks be to God Now I was working at an amusement park as a ride operator. The job didn’t pay much per hour but there were a lot of hours. I road my love back and forth enjoying every bit of the 50-mile round trip. A good part of that trip was on the open highway and I could give “the Four” its head - well a little bit.
I had to be at the park an hour before opening (11AM) and did not leave until after midnight. That was the best time of the day - no one was on the stretch of highway I took to go home. Every day the Four seemed to go faster on the way home, it seemed out of my control. But common sense which most of the time was a dim distant memory to me asserted itself and I forced my Dear to travel at a reasonable speed.
For a few weeks, this was the routine, relatively slow to work than home at a much quicker pace. The quickness of the pace to home depended somewhat on the weather and the day at work. Amusement parks could be very trying places to work. Customers could be very demanding and management cared nothing for the help as we were just seasonal.
We were expected to run the rides safely and above all be courteous to the customers no matter how they behaved toward us. I understood that business is business and I tried to put up with often outrageous behavior without complaint. But there was always one that pushed all the buttons. One that knew how to not only rub you the wrong way, but also rubbed you raw in the process
On this day a person, an artist of aggravation reached out to me and put his finger in the eye of my self-esteem. The short version of the story was that my ride was broken down - it was an old ride and that happened a lot. As I sat waiting for the mechanic to come and fix it, this guy marched up to me and demanded that his son be put on my ride.
I explained that the ride was broken down and I was waiting for the repairman. This information meant nothing to him. He said he and his son had “bonus badges” that entitled them to ride every ride in the park including this one. I agreed that the bonus badges did that but the ride was broken and so they could not ride it. He persisted and became more and more agitated, threatening me with the loss of my job as he shook his finger in my face.
I could feel my anger building up but held back. I suggested that he should talk to the management of the park because there was nothing I could do until the ride was fixed. This seemed to push him over the edge. He accused me of being too lazy to run the ride and making believe it was broken so I would not have to work. I suggested politely that he and his son should get on the ride and I would make ride noises and jump up and down on the ride to make it more interesting - but that did not seem to please him. He went into a rage and I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying.
It was at this moment one of the owners of the park showed up. As I stood
quietly by, the owner listened to the complaints of the man. He made several gestures at me and threw in a few insults. The owner turned to me and suggested that I take a break which I did.
I was so angry that I don’t even remember what I did on that break. But when I returned, the owner “had a talk” with me. The talk wasn’t so bad but centered on not losing one’s temper. He said he understood my frustration but told me to remember “the customer was always right” and not to argue with them. In the future just send for management in this kind of situation.
Although, It wasn’t a “bad” talk but one thing was sure, it was not my job to do anything but run the ride. I realized that I was just “small potatoes”. I had not thought of this job like that so it was a bit of a shock. I had learned in the navy that all jobs were important and should be done right.
That night on the ride home I wondered, "How fast would that bike go? The speedometer read to 150 miles an hour. Hmmm. The road was deserted and it was warm and dry. I twisted the throttle and watched the broken center line of the road appear to become solid. I lay down on the gas tank to lower my air resistance and in moments the speedometer read 137 miles an hour.
Time seemed to stop and from somewhere, as I had a vision of what would happen to me if I fell at that moment, a voice from I don’t know where said, “Stop this!!” I did stop - right then. Pulled over to the side of the road and sat there for a time. As I sat there a poem came to me not word by word or line by line but all at once. I wrote it on a scrap piece of paper as follows:
Hovering in the vacuum of an unreleased breath, I fly between life and death.
No longer bound by physical law.
a mindless missile rushing to my doom or salvation
Joy! - Fear!
Celebrating life by worshiping death, I twist the grip and hear fading voices call.
Life priest like chants, “Are you ready to die?”
Death's sweet siren voice asks,
“Are you willing to live?!
The accelerating machine leaves them behind.
Reason and emotion, leave the battlefield of my mind.
My sanity is renewed, one more time.
At that moment I knew I would never ride that fast again nor would anyone or anything easily make me risk my life over foolishness.