Let’s run down the list: A sun-soaked parking lot with a reasonable amount of shoppers present. Saturday, hot in California, slightly congested from a suicide drive without pause from the Northwest, a back tire with a gash down to the radial which I noticed in Medford while I let my dog out to run while the attendant fueled us up, the feeling of fear whenever a crack in the road jolted the wheels, but mostly the fear of getting a flat on the Bay Bridge -then a few glasses of red, a few hours of sleep, and I’m in the parking lot breaking in my new S&M Intrikat frame, designed by Chad Johnston, one of my favorite riders. Sean McKinney had sent me the frame in an expertly packaged bubble of pornography.
The frame is the best I’ve ridden. Responsive and perfect. Probably an hour or more into the session, I over-adjust on a front wheel trick and slam face first onto the asphalt. Old pain. Eyes full of water, nose throbbing, that strange sensation of blood running down your neck, and between your collar bones. I’ve had a broken nose twice, so I know it’s not broken. In the grocery store I grab a handful of the hand sanitizing wet wipes and hold off the blood. Some hits the tiles and a few people look at me. I nod to them that I’m fine. A manager starts to walk over so I make my way out. I can feel him watching me. No sense wasting time explaining myself. I make it to the door, reach inside and grab my shirt. It’s one of my good t-shirts, and I’m determined to keep it clean as long as I can. I check the mirror for blood, but I’ve got it all taken care of at this point. I want to keep riding, but I also have a new book I’m writing, and it’s safe to say that the wreck has refocused me, and I feel I’ve been there long enough today. Not as long as usual, but I’m satisfied. I start the engine and wait on traffic, hit seek on the radio and the stop it on the first clear station. Motorhead: Eat The Rich. I sneeze blood against the windshield and start laughing. Something holy about a bloody nose while blasting Motorhead. 41 years of age means nothing. Pedals, tires, asphalt, blood and metal. Timeless perfections. I check my shirt. It’s unscathed. I listen to the song and drive toward the place. In the later 1700s, Jean Jacques-Rousseau said, “When the people have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.” The man who inspired the French Revolution as well as nationalism and socialism and so on also happened to set the course for a seriously fucking good Motorhead song, which I hold in the higher of his esteems. And the California sun burned, the nose throbbed with broken vessels, and the windshield had a metallic finish of blood that reflected the sun and music rather nicely, perfectly really. My thoughts spilled across the dash in a pool of music, of words. The colors and the cracks in time are there for us, and only us.