Wednesday, December 23, 2009
2 wheels to love
Man loves Bike. Period.
Unless Man loves Car. But we shall not go there.
In this case, Man loves Bike. More so because Man has had Bike in his life longer than any romantic relationship. Under such circumstances, it's quite a challenge to keep the (man-machine) relationship on an even keel. I sometimes congratulate myself for not having given my bike a gender or a name. I refer to it simply as 652 - the concluding part of its license plate.
652 and I have had 12 adventurous years of togetherness. We were together when I was madly in love. And we're together now. All these years, we've put up with each other's idiosyncrasies. I tend to be amongst the faster moving traffic on the road (which, let's face it, depends quite a lot on 652). On its part, 652, though not moody as bikes go, has been downright obstinate. Its indicator lights have never operated as per the design, it still sputters between 44 and 45 kmph and it inevitably requires an annual de-carbonization.
Small price to pay for the kind of kinship this beautiful bike has accorded me. I've taken it deep into uncivilized territories, kept it baking under the sun for months on end, abandoned it during the years I was onsite, refused to keep it sparkling clean and not even bothered to service it more than once a year. Yet, it serves me faithfully. It's never left me stranded. It has stood patiently as I picked arguments with corrupt cops. And it's never skidded under my hold, although it has given timely and wobbly warnings on a couple of occasions.
Despite all that, I did something quite drastic to 652 last week. I changed its seat assembly. Yeah. 652 now has a brand new seat, not one with fragments of the sponge exposed. Frankly, I was getting tired of the squishy welcome my bum received whenever it rained. But now, when I sit on this bone-dry new seat, I feel a little sad. This isn't the seat that ferried that breathtaking woman in my life, and later, my cutie-pie daughter. This isn't the seat with memories.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I may not have given my bike a gender or a name, but I never doubted for a moment that it has a soul.