by Biker Billy
The cable is out and that means no TV, Internet radio, web surfing, or e-mail. I am for all high-tech purposes unplugged. True, I could cruise downtown and connect via WiFi with my laptop, and of course my telephone and cell phone still work. But for a few moments on this early spring evening, I am disconnected from the web of the wide world. It is actually liberating in a strange way – like a fly escaped from the spider’s web – and it reminds me of the reasons I love to ride so much.
You, like me, are probably connected to the world most hours of the day with work, family, community activities, or friends. We live in a world of connectivity, from PDAs and cell phones to e-mail and beepers, from TV and radio to old-fashion printed papers and magazines like the one you are holding now. Information is always streaming towards us at an ever-faster pace and we are expected to respond quicker still. Time for thought and reflection has gone by the wayside of technology. My computer of five years ago is a dinosaur, resigned to the garage to serve as a web radio and to feed programs to an exercise machine. Funny, I wrote a book on it, researched countless projects, and when it was new I was thrilled with its speed. Now it is so slow to me that it is one step away from the recycle bin.
Yet parked a few feet away is a motorcycle almost twice its age and it is still every bit as speedy and exciting to me as the day I first threw a leg over it. Yes, there are newer, bigger, faster, and even shinier motorcycles out there, but I know that ten years from now that same old bike will be state-of-the-art to me. That is because it will still deliver the same thing I bought it for – freedom. I can roll it out of the garage and key that starter and as soon as the motor leaps to life I am unplugged. I no longer hear the phone ring, e-mail can’t offer me a pill or a patch or a peek at some naked temptation, and the only Hilton I’ll see is a hotel. Ahhh, freedom – faxes can’t reach me, the mailman can’t catch me, TV can’t melt my brain, and the only spin I get is from my wheels. Vibrating pagers and cell phones are not able to intrude over the good vibrations of that roaring motor. I am truly free, like that fly slipped loose from the web just before the jaws of the spider consumed him. I am able to fly off on the wind and do what feels so good and so rare these days – simply be free.
Understand that I do love technology; it enables me to live a wonderful life and it makes my work so much more doable. I like to be connected, to news, to friends, to clients, to my community, and to the power that is access to information. However, I also need and cherish the time to just breath fresh air and feel the ever-changing melody of the natural world as it expresses itself through sunshine, rain, wind and clouds, flowers in the fields, and all the smells both good and bad that the bike carries me through. Somehow, mounting this mechanical beast, a child of technology, transports me as much as humanly possible back to a time before the pace of life got so out of hand. I can roll along roads that were once wagon trails leading through the mountains, following pathways that my great-grandparents might have taken westward to settle away from the crowded mass of civilization. Like them, I can find the space to spread out and feel free, have room for my elbows and be able see the things that are just out of sight over the next ridge. I can disconnect from the boundaries of my current life and its situations and reach for a new future. I can remake or restore myself. I can test my mettle against the hazards of the unknown. I can explore and discover the world and feel its gritty reality. I can connect to the universe as an atom of life coursing through time and space.
Whoa, Nelly, did I just say I could connect to the universe? Yes bubba I sure did. Out there on that motorcycle, far from the reach of wires and computers, unable and unwilling to dial my cell phone, I am more connected than I ever am back in this office, sitting at this computer. I am connected to the real reality, to the wide wonderful world (WWW) of my creator. I am connected to the inner me, to the truth and awareness of being a fragile mass of short-lived flesh on an equally fragile, yet eons-old, planet. Humanity is something I experience firsthand, in knowing that one fool politician could take my life at an intersection just as easily as he attacks my freedoms in the statehouse. Unplugged yet connected, freed by technology from technology–it is a paradox.
While I am carried away from the burdens of this modern life by this paradox that is riding a motorcycle, I am reminded that all of life is really a paradox. Like the fact that the cable just came back on and the TV in the living room is screaming the news, my inbox is being invaded by Viagra-enhanced, porn-hawking scam e-mails from deposed dictators of nonexistent third-world countries offering fortunes for pennies on the dollar. Well, I ain’t buying any of it. I am going to do what I suggest you do: unplug before it is too late and connect with the reality, truth, and beauty of the world as only we bikers know how. I am off to the garage to wrap myself in an old leather jacket, roll the old bike into the sweet air of this spring evening, and ride.
Ordinary deviled eggs just don’t do it for me, kinda like riding a bicycle. So I took this tired old appetizer and did a rebuild on it. Just like an old Harley fresh from the restorer’s shop, these eggs will take your breath away and give you new ride–a fast ride, that is, to get a cold drink of milk.
6 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and shelled 1 scallion, ends trimmed and minced 1 teaspoon dried cilantro 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons ranch dressing 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard 1 canned chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, minced Salt
1. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise, place the yolks in a small mixing bowl, and set the whites aside. Add the scallion, cilantro, cumin, parsley, black pepper, ranch dressing, mustard, and chipotle to the egg yolks and mix well with a fork until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
2. Spoon the yolk mixture into the hollow part of each egg white; there should be enough yolk filling to form a small dome on top of each egg white. Serve cool, not cold, for the most flavorful presentation.
Makes 12 Diabolic Eggs
Biker Billy hosts a syndicated television cooking show, “Biker Billy Cooks with Fire”, and has authored three cookbooks. Just released in 2003 is his latest book, “BIKER BILLY’S HOG WILD ON A HARLEY COOKBOOK”. The book includes 200 recipes from HOG members and Harley riders across America and an ample supply of Biker Billy’s own fiery recipes.
The book is endowed with Biker Billy’s unique biker banter. It is sure to bring the adventure and flavor of the open road to your table and family.
The illustrated book is published by Harvard Common Press and is available in bookstores everywhere for $19/95, or on Biker Billy’s web site where you can have it autographed. Check out www.bikerbilly.com where you can also find information on Biker Billy’s touring schedule.
Column copyright Bill Hufnagle 2003. Recipe reprinted with permission from “BIKER BILLY’S HOG WILD ON A HARLEY COOKBOOK”, published by Harvard Common Press, Boston copyright Bill Hufnagle 2003.