by Gary Charpentier
During one of his entertaining monologues, Spalding Gray introduced a concept I will never forget: The Perfect Moment. As I understand it, the Perfect Moment is a point in time when you realize you are absolutely content. Happy even. Not a care in the world. For Mr. Gray, a Perfect Moment occurred at sunset, on a balmy tropical beach in Thailand, with the chatter of the bar girls in the air, and a cold, fruity, intoxicating beverage sporting a paper umbrella in his hand. I recall there were other chemicals more exotic than alcohol at work in his scenario, but that has little bearing on the spirit of his observation. If you had to pick one moment to be locked into for eternity, your own particular brand of Heaven as it were, this would define your Perfect Moment.
With as much inertia as carries me through life, I have experienced several Perfect Moments. Most have occurred on or around motorcycles. Since becoming aware of the concept, I have recognized and acknowledged these for what they are and stored them away in memory to help me through the vast majority of less than perfect moments that constitute the rest of my life.
This last week has been one long Perfect Moment. This is so rare! It is so often we anticipate a long-awaited event, building our expectations, only to be let down by the reality of all the little things that inevitably go awry. Seldom do circumstances live up to the advanced billing. But the return of Gogo to the open roads of Minnesota in autumn has been better than I could have hoped!
There are flies in the ointment, certainly. My Perfect Moment is interrupted daily, as I still have to report at the usual time every night for my eight hour contribution to the wealth of my employers. What makes this bearable is the fact that I can ride my Ducati over any of several routes to get there, and then park her in front of a window where she serves as a constant visual reminder of why I endure wage slavery. But out on the road, in the saddle, her desmo v-twin purring beneath me, it clicks. Ahhh, Perfect Moment. The workday is done; the sun is coming up; and there’s a whole day ahead in which to explore, experience, and live. If I didn’t need money, I would just keep riding to the end of the road and then turn around and come back by another route…endlessly.
It’s seven a.m., and I am sitting on a bench outside Bobs’ Java Hut in Minneapolis. My Gogo is backed into the Motorcycle Only Parking section out front and drawing admiring glances from passers-by (even the jaded, been-there, done-that regulars!). I have a cup of Bobs’ potent house blend in one hand, a cigar in the other, and a smile on my face. Perfect. There are unpleasantries to attend to later in the day: bills to pay, appointments to keep, but I am not thinking of these right now. Later, I will ride to places where serious people will demand my attention to mundane matters. While we are transacting our business, they will wonder at the smile on my face. They just won’t get it. I’ll feel sorry for them until I get back on the road. Then it will wash away in the wind…