Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Silly Rabbit

These days, the Kid has a motorcycle. He didn’t have one when I met him—although he claimed, in a fit of trying to impress me, he had two, but really zero is how many motorcycles that Kid had (don’t tell him I said that, though; he doesn’t think I know). That was a completely different Kid from the one I’ve grown to love, however.  He really does have a motorcycle now. And I, in a convoluted sort of way, helped get it for him.

The bike’s a custom chopper. I had to ask him three times over the course of two weeks before I finally understood just what that meant, but now I know (at least I think I know): a custom chopper isn’t any kind of bike, specifically. It’s something somebody built for themselves, from scratch. But the Kid didn’t build his bike himself. He traded for it.

See, the Kid used to have a four-wheeler. That’s the thing I really helped him get. A friend was selling it in February and he absolutely had to have it, so while I moved heaven, he moved earth, we set it up. Got it. Loved it. Rode it daily. Then absolutely had to trade it for the bike in June.

Kids these days, I swear to god. As my dear, departed mother used to say: I’m so glad I never had any that lived.

If I’m being honest, though? That’s one of the things I love the most about this Kid: He’s just like me. Wherever he is, all he wants is to be somewhere else. He wishes it were summer when it’s winter (except for the heat) and dreams about ice-racing in July. He wants a 4-wheeler when he has a snowmobile, and wants a motorcycle when he’s got an ATV. When he’s in the bar he flits from the pool table to the dance floor, from one table to another, from the front step to the outdoor smoking area and back. Every airplane that flies overhead, he doesn’t care where it might be going, he wants on it. Just exactly like I’ve always done. Like Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison pining for the train. He changes jobs more often than I change underwear (although there is one constant calling that he always dreams of making work), and he goes through girls like paper towels.

So he had the 4-wheeler and he wanted the bike, but he couldn’t make a simple trade because the guy with the bike didn’t want a 4-wheeler. He wanted a snowmobile. So the Kid found a snowmobile. But the guy with the snowmobile didn’t want a 4-wheeler, either. He wanted a mo-tar bike. So the Kid found a mo-tar bike and the guy with the mo-tar bike did want a 4-wheeler!

For those of you who’ve never heard the word before (like me): a mo-tar bike is a dirtbike that’s been converted to street-legality. I only had to ask that question once. It was the ugliest fucking thing I’ve ever seen. Told the Kid that under no circumstances was he allowed to keep it if he ever wanted to see me naked again. So we both spent the next two weeks on tenterhooks for different reasons, afraid the whole thing might fall through and he’d be stuck with the mechanical equivalent of a cold shower. The day it all fell into place was so exciting. Happy, banner day for both of us. I even got a hug out of the Kid. I had to tell him to do it, but still. Kid doesn’t hug. Doesn’t kiss much, either. Says it’s cuz he doesn’t like it, but the truth is that he’s scared to get too close. Just like me. Don’t tell him I said it, though. He doesn’t think I know.

The bike was in okay shape when he got it, but it needed work, and the Kid asked if he could borrow my spare computer so he could go online and order parts. Since we met he hasn’t had a computer. He only ever used to go on facebook at my house. I’d forget sometimes and send him messages, then lie in bed and watch him read them at my desk. But my dad gave me a computer for my birthday, so I didn’t really need the little laptop anymore. I didn’t give it to him (hear that, Kid? I do still want it back, you know), but I said he could use it for as long as he needs. So in a convoluted way, I not only helped him get the bike: I fixed it, too.

Sort of.

Bike still doesn’t work 100%. And it works exactly 0% in the rain. Kid told me a story about how he rode the bike up to the bar one rainy night and it broke down on him on the way home.

“I had to push it all the way from JDs!”

I didn’t think that sounded all that bad. JDs is a store, and from there to his house is just a couple miles. Sure, it was raining. Sure, it was late. But he’s young, he’s strong, and even though he’d been at the bar, he doesn’t drink. Not really. Not usually. Not then, at least. So big whoop if he had to walk a little ways. Am I right? I walk seven miles almost every day for fun, and he’s 18 years younger than me. It will hardly kill him to walk two, even if he is pushing a bike. He’s not supposed to be riding the damn thing after dark on his learner’s permit, anyway. The little shit.

“From JD’s!” he practically squealed. “All the way here!”

So I made ooh-ah, poor-you noises like I was actually his girlfriend or something, and I asked him if he got the problem fixed.

“Naw,” he said. “I just don’t take it out if there’s even the slightest chance of rain.”

That fucking Kid is just like me, I swear to god.

So anyway, a few weeks later, after we pretended not to celebrate the first anniversary of our first night together, I had a passing attack of the we-might-actually-still-be-friends-in-six-more-months-etceteras and asked him if he'd find a bike for me. You know, since I’d helped him get and fix this one and everything. I didn’t need anything special, I said. Something he could get for nothing and fix up over the winter months. Something safe that I could ride to work if I’m still in Maine next spring. Or something I could Steve-McQueen my ass out of here on if I’m not. He asked me what, specifically, I wanted, and I hemmed and hawed because I know I can’t have what I really want (yes, I’m still talking about motorcycles, people). He said he’d look around and think about it, and we left it at that.

Then yesterday, a mutual friend of ours stopped in where I work to say hello. This friend recently dumped his bike and broke his collarbone, so we talked about that for a while. Talked about the new bike he got to replace the old one. And in a fit of excitement at the whole idea, I blurted out “I might be getting my own bike in the spring! The Kid’s looking into it for me!”

“Well,” our Friend said. “As long as it runs better than his!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” I said.

I’ve gotten used to this small-town gossip mill. I figured someone probably saw the Kid pushing his bike that night and told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on. My gut reaction was, as always, to leap to the Kid's defense.

“It has a little problem in the rain,” I said. “He’s working on it.”

“Did he tell you he stopped by my house that night?”

“Well… No.”

“Yeah,” our Friend went on, “he pounded on my door at 12:30 at night. My girlfriend was staying over with her dog, and her dog scared the shit out of him. He asked if he could leave his bike at my house, and she gave him a ride home.”

I know this probably sounds odd to you. I know it probably sounds like the Kid's still telling stories to me after all, but it's not. There’s a perfectly logical reason why the he mightn’t’ve mentioned to me that he’d stopped by the Friend’s. I won’t get into what that reason is – maybe some other time, in code or something – but trust me: it makes perfectly reasonable sense. To me. And to the Kid. ‘Cuz he’s just like me. And that's all that really matters in the end.

“But your house isn’t any closer to JDs than his," I asked the Friend. "Why would he go to your house instead of just going home?”

“Would you want to push that thing up that hill?”

Ah, the hill… the Kid’s road is named after the goddamn hill, for crying out loud! How could I have forgotten about that? So that’s why he got so squeaky about pushing it all the way home!

Except, you know, he didn’t.

But you know what, Kid? 

For future reference? 

When I say I don't believe something you tell me, it isn't always because someone squealed.

Sometimes it's because you're just like me, so I just Know .

1 comment:

  1. EGE .. your stories used to make me laugh. Now they make me 'smile sadly'.
    I wish you happy.