Hot Dogs, S’mores, and…Hip Waders?

by Kristin Leary

There’s nothing better than kicking back, roasting marshmallows, and listening to the tales of motorcycling adventures after a long day’s ride. Last weekend, I had one of those nights. Each story was better than the last. The nine other cyclists shared stories about their best rides, their brushes with death, or the ultimate twisty-curvy roads. I listened attentively to their stories, for I was eager to pick up a good riding tip or learn about a fun road trip to take. Periodically, I found myself putting on some mental hip-waders, as I attempted to measure the depth of B.S.! Nevertheless, it was amusing.

Eventually, I looked up from the campfire and noticed nine sets of eyes staring right at me. They had “tell us your best riding story, Kristin” looks. My first reaction was panic. My second reaction was utter confusion. What exciting story does a motorcycling veteran of one and a half years have to share?

Despite my nervous humility, this group wasn’t going to let me off the hook. So, for their amusement, (as well as yours) I decided to share my Brush with a Gardening Hose.

Every morning, I take the same route to work. It’s a great road for motorcycling — nicely paved, curvy, quiet, and scenic. Motorcycling 101 advises cyclists to constantly scope out the surroundings, so I did. On this particular morning I noticed an older gentleman about 50 yards ahead in his front lawn near a stoplight. He was watering the lawn like many people do. It didn’t seem unusual to me.

As I approached the red light, I offered the polite biker how-do-you-do nod to my lawn watering friend. To my surprise, he returned my kind gesture by screaming profanity at me. To top it off, he stuck the hose in my face. (Did I mention that the hose was gushing out water very fast and very cold?)

Red light or not, I was out of there. When I was about four blocks from his house, I pulled over to drain my helmet, wipe off my face and glasses, and to shake my head in disbelief. I didn’t know if I should be mad, scared, or amused. I must admit, part of me wanted to go back and give this walking coffin liner a piece of my mind, or maybe egg his house as I passed by. Rationality prevailed, and I continued on my path to work.

I’ve come to realize that there are some people out there who just dislike motorcyclists no matter how clean-cut, polite or friendly they may be. The old biker stereotypes will always be around. In case you’re wondering, I still ride my bike to work, and I take the same nicely paved, curvy, quiet, and scenic road. I do see my lawn watering friend almost every day. But I must admit, if the hose is in his hand and the light is red, I get out my water balloons. 

M.M.M.

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