My motorcycle seems to be one of the best ways to start a conversation when I’m out on the road. The other day, a guy standing outside a Missouri gas station commented on how he liked my bike. I thanked him and he began naming the qualities of the last Indian motorcycle he saw. He asked where I was headed and I responded that I was headed south. He had clearly had a couple of breakfast beverages that morning.
The guy regaled me with a tale about losing his cell phone on the road one day and upon going back to it, watched it get run over by a truck. He left it. Then he remembered that he had put 400 minutes on it and forgot to get his sim card. So he returned to the site of the smashed phone only to find it was gone.
Then he asked if I was traveling alone. I said yes.
He told me that he didn’t go anywhere without a can of mace and held his hands out to visually describe the size and I estimate that his can of mace that he carried everywhere was just smaller than a 2-liter bottle of Coke. I could not tell where he was concealing it, but I didn’t inspect too closely. He added that he also carried a pistol too.
He suggested that I carry a can of mace and a pistol…
…and a knife…
…and a rifle…
….and a machete…
….probably a shotgun too.
He pointed toward my bike and said that I could probably put those items in the saddlebags of my bike.
“Maybe a short shotgun,” he said.
Then he told me about the time he got beaten up and broke multiple bones in his face and had to have a lung re-inflated. He would rather kill somebody than get his head kicked in again.
We shook hands and introduced ourselves and I got back on the road.
I thought about our exchange for a good 50 miles. And it made me feel good. Well, I felt bad that he lives in a world in which he’s thought about the multitude of weapons he needed to carry around to feel good. I felt good that, in the same way he needed to think about the weapons he needed to carry to make is world make sense, all I need is my two-wheel beast and an open road.
And maybe the opportunity to talk to people who help me remember that life on my motorcycle is pretty awesome.