When I was in my early teens, I huffed and puffed in denial, when my riding instructor insisted I needed to keep my mind on the task if I wanted to work with horses. The grumpy old man with his cap pulled tight over his head, proclaimed loudly that I daydreamed far too much. I remember well his voice, as it was carried on the back of his thick Dutch accent, and I recall thinking him far too old to understand anything.
Ah, the innocence of youth, so refreshing, and more often than not, so wrong.
It took me a long time to admit, that I lean naturally towards the tendency, to exit everyday life by tumbling freefall into daydreams. The fact is, I enjoy what these dreams offer me, which is only soft edges, and endless possibilities. I liken it to how a child tumbles with abandon into the beginning of summer, whole heartedly believing that anything is conceivable, and that every step leads somewhere promising.
Due to this predisposition to slip, without notice, into the realm of the day dreamer, I am not encouraged to ride bicycles by, or on, any roadways, or near people, dogs, birds, mice…well you get the idea. Roller blading is a no-no, swimming for short periods of time could be okay…maybe…and naturally, it’s a big loud NO WAY to any radical thoughts of learning to ride a motorcycle. It’s never really been a solid thought for me anyway, although admittedly I did, for a fleeting moment, wonder how it would feel to lean in tight with the bike as you round a curve, or a corner.
So in the motor bike world, that leaves me duly noted as ‘the passenger’. I have no issue with this label, as it rewards me with pockets of time to do what I do best….day dream!
On the May 2-4 weekend this year, which as you will recall, was rather early falling as it did on the 17th, I was invited by hubby to join him and his ‘biker gang’, a Harley Davidson group from Milton, to a long weekend run to Hawkesbury, Ontario. Hawkesbury is located on the Ottawa River, a mere bridge span away from the roads that wind up to the scenic ski area Mont Tremblay, Quebec.
Hubby normally takes these longer rides on his own, but this time I thought: Hey, why not? How hard could it be? All I had to do was put on some cool looking shades, arrange my face into the blasé expression one always sees on riders, and their passengers alike, and I was good to go! Right?
Why, oh why, do alarm bells not go off in my little brain when I casually throw around the phrase ‘how hard could it be’? You would think, after multiple past experiences, I would become slightly twitchy whenever I heard such words…you would think.
I followed instructions from the driver of the day, the aforementioned hubby, and layered myself in clothes, in order to keep warm, all the while trying to remain trendy. We left bright and early at 6 am to meet the pack in Milton. Now on the way, some worries did start to take flight when a tiny sheen of ice started to form across the bridge of my nose, but like a trooper, I merely adjusted my sun glasses and reset my aloof expression.
I could do this!
Eight bikes roared out of Milton with the church peaks of Hawkesbury the final destination on each and every GPS strapped to the tanks. Oh, and did I mention the route that was planned out by the elected road captain, the route that would take us, here, there, and everywhere, before we finally tipped a glass of ale in Hawkesbury, would take, ohhh, say about 11-12 hours of riding…give or take an hour or two? How hard could it be?
By the time we formed a nicely staggered line of bikes along the highway 40,1 piercing alarms were finally set off in my mind, but the sound of the custom pipes on each and every bike drowned out the bubbling panic.
Just past Oshawa, with the promising town of Bowmanville not far ahead, a distorted plan began to take shape. I could tell hubby to drop me off, just right over there, near the Fifth Wheel gas bar. I could, once my legs thawed out, crawl my way up through the gravel, to the restaurant, once there, I could call and beg my eldest son to come pick me up.
This plan could work!
I watched numbly as the Fifth Wheel slid by as if suspended in the chilly morning air. I had leaned over to instruct hubby regarding my brilliant escape, but my lips, my carefully glossed lips were frozen, moving only slowly now they smacked together like two ice cubes bonding in the freezer. I huddled in close to hubby’s broad back, careful to keep my wobbly head from crashing repeatedly into his own. “Help me,” I whispered. “Help me.”
I peered up through salt encrusted eyelashes to check the mid morning sky. Would the day fail to give off any heat? This, most certainly, was not the daydreaming time I had envisioned.
The sun above resembled more a painted backdrop than reality, its light was weak as it attempted to filter through the morning haze. Was that a circle rounding its fuzzy orb? Didn’t that mean something…bad?
I fought to hold on to positive reflections. Thoughts of summer—yes!—that was good! I would think of summer, with its tropical breezes lightly scented with coconut oil and chilled-by-the-pool cocktails.
With these lovely visions dancing in my head like sugar plums, I started thinking of my new leading man—Olaf, from the animated move Frozen. I do realize it seems rather odd, considering my circumstances, that I would focus on snow, much less a snowman—yes, yes, my celebrity crush is a man made out of snow, but I was not myself that day, and that is who I thought of.
As the wind whipped by my expressionless face I swear I could hear the music from the movie in its waves, and I caught the sound of my Olaf belting out his ode to the season of heat.
My teeth started to chitter and chatter—on my right side first, and then my left. I tried to recall the symptoms of hypothermia.
I squeezed my eyes closed as I grasped for my weak visualization skills. I pictured myself wailing, I mean walking, along the beach. I watched as I slowly crossed the sand with my feet bare, my toes reaching deep into its granular warmth. The picture began to stall, to crack, and crumble in my mind. My feet were not toasty and warm, they were freezing!
Olaf’s song had ended, his final plea for summer blown apart far behind me.
Who’s idea had this been anyway?
I stared at the back of hubby’s helmeted head. I had a driver, but this certainly wasn’t a town car.
I don’t want to play anymore! Stop the merry-go-round and let me off!
In reflection, I believe I started to truly wail at that point of great weakness. The other riders in formation—none of which had a passenger by the by—stared over at me with mouths agape, before they carefully distanced themselves from my open aired chariot. I didn’t care. I no longer craved membership into their group.
It’s funny, I haven’t been called back to participate in another adventure with the biker dude gang. Very reminiscent I have to say, of the Euchre party I attended once upon a time—tables upon tables filled with solemn faced players—and me. No future invitations forthcoming from that bunch either.
Humph—is it really, truly necessary to remember what is trump for every single hand?—seriously?
Biker Dude Gang
The church peaks of Hawkesbury, ON