Monday, March 15, 2010

A tattered soul

The sneakers in the first picture are my favourite pair. I’ve had them for many years. The second picture is that of my riding gloves – not my only pair, but the ones I’ve had for the longest time. In fact, I do not remember a time when I did not have these gloves. You will never know how dirty they look unless you’re either a very close friend or very brave.

But in a way, these dirty old things have seen the best and the worst of me. I still use them at times. I can’t be as reckless with them as I once used to be, but I still do use them at times. They fit me so well.

Over the years I’ve tried to take care of them, just like the way they’ve taken care of me. But time has passed, and no one around here is getting any younger. They look so worn and tired. Every day a new wrinkle appears on them, everyday another seam snaps. I’ve tried to mend them a few times, but maintenance-wise there appears to be only one direction they are headed. Maybe we’re all headed the same way.

Maybe I will get a new pair of sneakers or gloves after a while, but I will never forget or throw these away. These were not mere “things” I once owned, but for me they were organic living beings, whose lives ran parallel with mine for a while. Even now, after many years of use, there is not one thing I’d change about them.

I still sometimes decide to go on rides at 1 past midnight. When I do, I sometimes worry about the chain running loose or tyre treads wearing thin, but at least I know I don’t have to worry about my shoes or gloves or my helmet. They plainly know what they have to do, and they’ve served their turn unflinchingly for many years now. They’ve always seemed to understand the boiling irreverence of youth, just like they now seem to have the wisdom of many years on the road.

I don’t think of them as being sexy. I don’t talk to them, or give them “cool” names. I think that kind of thing is reserved for frivolous coffee-table motorcyclists. In fact, I’ve never even had their photographs until now.

These are not my riding gloves or my sneakers or my jeans…these are what I’ve been. These are who I’ve been. These are my most sacrosanct memories. They may not smell expensive or turn heads at some high society motorcycle-club meet, but I will never give them up. If you have a problem with my gloves or sneakers, you have a problem with me. If you think your gear says a lot about you, just know that after more than forty thousand highway miles, my gloves and shoes have absolutely nothing left to prove. Not even to me. Because the only way your helmet can get that fade and those scratches is by earning it on the road. They are cool because they don't have to pretend. Just know that I quite literally trust them with my life. That’s more than what I will ever say for you. If you say I have to get rid of these and get shiny new ones, here’s what I have to say to you –

Screw you.