- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Recently out of graduate school, I had a real job and a steady income for the first time. The rent for my apartment was cheap, and because I had lived for years on student loans, so were my tastes; saving money was a snap. After a few months I splurged and wrote the biggest check of my life to buy the one thing—maybe the only thing—my parents would never have bought for me: a motorcycle.
Late at night, returning along spooky, deserted freeways from a party or visiting friends, I would accelerate to 90 or 100 mph on the straightaways, my torso low over the gas tank. I rocked in and out of curves, pleased and amazed, like a child with a gyroscope, by the conjunction of balance and speed.
I met my father at his hotel room and said, "Come on down to the parking lot. I want to show you something." He followed me to the parking space where my black 1981 Honda CX500 was leaning nonchalantly on its kickstand. My father put his hands on his hips, looked at the bike and then at me.
"Give me the key," he said, and for a moment, although I was 25 years old and financially independent of him, I felt like a teenager again, being grounded. I dug into my jeans pocket and produced the key.
My father put it in the ignition and slung his right leg over the saddle. He looked down at the foot pegs and gearshift, gripped and released the clutch with his left hand and the brake with his right. "One down, four up?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said, surprised he knew anything about the gearing pattern of a motorcycle.
"Is there a helmet law in Texas?" he asked.
He pressed the starter and the engine turned over crisply. He clicked the gear into neutral with the toe of his black, wing-tipped shoe and backstepped the bike out of the parking place.