Friday, April 8, 2011

Crazy days

Almost exactly two years ago, someone stole my moped. I loved that thing so much. It was what had gotten me over my fear of motorcycles and into the peaceful freedom that riding brings.
<backstory>
 I had been raised by my mother to fear motorcycles as death traps; horrible things that once you sit on, you will be instantaneously hit by something and either deceased or become a vegetable. Then I moved out and started working in Healthcare, where I was able to see first hand what happens to people in motorcycle accidents. To be frank, it was bad.
My husband (boyfriend at the time) bought a moped for transportation as the car he had guzzled fuel like it was stoned and had the munchies. Mopeds are very economical, as one tank of gas takes you 300 miles and it doesn't need to be registered or insured. I was terrified for him. I refused to ride the thing, even though it only went 35 mph downhill with wind pushing it. Finally, after months of nagging, prodding, and finally daring me; he got me to ride on the back of it. I was terrified of any and every vehicle that drove near us. When we reached our destination I had changed. I saw that it was no longer the death-trap that I had always been led to believe, but a wonderful, liberating piece of equipment.
We had the yellow Yamaha moped for three years before the accident that reaffirmed my fears. I was driving behind a seasoned Harley rider; both of us obeying the traffic laws perfectly. Someone ran a red light and smashed right into the Harley rider. I got out of my car, completely in shock and petrified. I helped him as much as I could until the paramedics arrived. He survived, but I shook for the rest of the day.  That could, at any time, be me.
I went home and ranted at my husband to get rid of the unsafe moped, retelling the story of the accident in as much gory detail as I could; even adding to it. He wisely ignored me. It took me another 6 months for me to ride again.
The first time I got on the back of our moped, I thought I was going to vomit from fear. By the time I reached the first light, I remembered how much fun it was to ride. That was the day I vowed to never let fear control my life again. I refused to drive my car for that entire summer. I rode the moped instead. I loved it. It was liberating, exciting, amazing. I was in heaven. I was always sad for winter, as it was too cold to ride. I made a cover for it so that it wouldn't get damaged from the elements. I washed it, I learned how to change the oil. I loved that moped.
During a nice spring day, I rode it to my first job then parked it in it's spot so that I could nap for a few hours before my second job. I was going to a shady neighborhood, it was night, so I took my car. I remember leaving and thinking that it was odd that my husband had taken the moped, so I called him. He had no idea what I was talking about.
During the four hours I was home, someone had stolen our moped.
I was devastated. I filed a police report, filed a complaint in our apartment complex, called everyone I knew. Nothing.
Last year, we upgraded to motorcycles. I was the proud owner of a blue Kawasaki ER-6N, thanks entirely to the moped that my husband forced me to ride. While I have never forgotten those fun Summer days on the back of my moped, I let go of the sadness at losing it that those memories brought.
Two days ago I got the strangest call. The police pulled someone over riding our stollen moped. We picked it up from the tow place yesterday. It was a bittersweet day as I was so excited at finally getting something back that meant so much to me, but sad because they had completely destroyed it. The seat flops all over the place, the lights are held on by tape, it's missing one mirror, the exhaust smokes.

I will never fully understand the capability people have to destroy the joy in another.

I am forever grateful to that officer for finding my moped; reuniting me to the physical thing that helped to open my heart to the possibilities that growing past your fears can bring. Had I never ridden that moped, I would still be stuck in the life I had; afraid to venture out of my comfort zones. It liberated me. I am now unencumbered by fear of the unknown.