My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Motorcycles are no longer cool

For Memorial Day Kela and I are traveling through a couple different places in the South, seeing some friends and family, and trying to relax in the warm and welcoming comfort of Southern hospitality. Our first sojourn along the way, Anderson, SC, was a stop to a motorcycle club on their way to somewhere else. My immediate impression of motorcycles is a flashback to 1969 with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper riding across the country on a self-realization trip. Or a band of 60’s Harleys rolling down the road, unencumbered with the trivialities of “normal” life.

Now my mother was at Atlamont when the Hells Angels took over the Stones Concert and killed one member of the audience and remembers it with distant horror. The Hells Angles were the quintessential motorcycle gang in our history. Vicious, merciless, and badass, they were cool in an awful way. Their motorcycles were the identifying marker of who and what they were.

Fast forward almost four decades and now Steven, an orthodontist who drives a Volvo 960 during the week, and Colin, a retired CPA with a wife actually named Muffin, ride down Main Street on their monthly trip to the Sam’s Club four towns over and back. Motorcycles use to be the pinnacle of coolness, up there with leather jackets, drugs, and anonymous sex. Now they are mostly for retired, balding guys who are trying to recapture an age which they missed because they were trying to pay off a house and put kids through school.

So it is bad that motorcycles are no longer the symbol of free expression and personal autonomy? Maybe. Is it a good thing that anyone can escape into a world where all rules are self-made and followed only on choice? Perhaps. Is it safe to assume that people are just experiencing a Disneyfied motorcycle fantasy with delusions of coolness? Yes. Do I want one? Possibly.

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