i bought myself a motorcycle a few weeks back, but, because i'm an asshole, that's not the end of it.
i can't just start riding my motorcycle around as-is.
i am not an off-the-shelf kind of sucker. my style is bespoke.
i wear custom pants and custom t-shirts, i drive a custom TITSwagon and keep my custom wallet in a custom utility belt.
i may look like a weirdo child with my name all over everything i own, but at least all of my stuff is distinct.
so, now that i have a motorcycle, i have to invest some time into bringing it up to code.

i went and took the motorcycle to a bike shop for an oil change.
at some point i want to learn how to do basic motorcycle maintenance myself.
i read a book on the subject back i high school thought mostly it was just beatnik horseshit and i don't have the time right now to learn so i will have to rely on the professionals.
you can't just take your motorcycle to Jiffy Lube [i learned,] you have to get your motorcycle maintenance done at special motorcycle shops.
i called two shops, one was run by a friendly-sounding Mexican and the other by White hipsters.
i could tell they were hipsters by the way they answered the phone.
i was inclined to go with the Mexican shop, i didn't want to get into a cooler-then-you contest with the guys who change my oil, but the Mexican had an appointment at 11:00am and the hipsters had 2:30pm and because i don't like getting out of bed early if i can avoid it, the hipsters it was.
they weren't so bad.
while i waited for them to finish my oil change, i walked over to a Sonic and got myself a hamburger and made conversation with a carhop who was a convicted felon.

the first bit of work i put into my new motorcycle myself was to remove the windshield it came with.
some people pay extra for a windshield for their motorcycles, it's a great way to keep bugs from splattering against your face, but my thinking was that if i wanted to drive around behind a windshield, i would just use my car.
you ride a motorcycle to feel the wind in your face.
besides, the helmet i had the dealership include in the cost of my motorcycle came with a retractable visor that can cover the top half of my face if i need it to.
the windshield was attached to the motorcycle's frame with some bolts so i had to ride over to an AutoZone to buy a set of ratchets that would fit the hexagonal bolts.
there were so many different sets of hexagonal ratchets it took me and the AutoZone guy several minutes to figure out what i needed.
when i got back to the apartment the PSE said that we already had the hexagonal ratchets that i needed tucked away in our tool shelf but, of course, the PSE wasn't talking to me during that week so i couldn't consult with her on the project.
this is what happens when you don't work with me, PSE. now we're out $3.19.

as i was out in the parking lot unbolting the windshield from the motorcycle my downstairs neighbor who i am friendly-ish with came out of his apartment to take his teenage daughter out for fast food.
the poor chunky girl eats way too much fast food.
“is that your bike?” he asked.
i told him it was and he offered me a cover for it, to protect it from the elements.
apparently the guy used to drive a Harley but he had to get rid of it [i assume this guy was involved in some kind of hard divorce] and, when he moved from his house to this one-bedroom apartment, he discovered his Harley motorcycle sack in a box somewhere.
i took it from him appreciatively, though, i don't know if it was meant to be mine for keeps or just a loan or if the guy wanted me to offer him money for it?
i just shook his hand and took it as a kindness.

it is a bit of a pain in the ass to have to spend an extra seventy-five seconds taking the bag off my motorcycle when i want to go for a ride, having to unlock the back hatch of the TITSwagon and chuck the motorcycle bag in there for safe keeping and then spend another seventy-five seconds getting it out again and putting it back on the motorcycle when i return, but, i guess i have the thing so i might as well use it.
the motorcycle bag is less about protection from the elements then a security feature.
motorcycles are designed to be waterproof, at least i assume they are, i don't know.
but my thinking is that if there is a bag over the motorcycle, would-be thieves don't know what lies underneath.
there could be a complicated alarm system, or some kind of booby-traps.
for all anybody knows the motorcycle could be owned by some former VC, surrounded by shoots of bamboo smeared with shit.
of course, the bag says 'Harley Davidson' on the front and that probably just make it all the more of a target.
not knowing if the bag was mine for keeps i didn't want to spraypaint over the logo but i can't very well advertise for Harley-Davidson so after a week, i safety-pinned a piece of waterproof material over it.

on the second night that i owned the motorcycle i spent a few hours Googling “how the hell do i keep my motorcycle from getting stolen?”
apparently Hondas are a prime target for criminals, and Hondas parked in big apartment complex parking lots are the most tempting fruit of all.
making things worse, it turns out that a motorcycle can be wheeled away simply by engaging the clutch.
you don't need to have a key in the ignition or anything, just squeeze in the clutch on the handle bar and a thief can push a motorcycle away into the night.
that's a fucking problem.
all my research told me that i really ought to own a garage but, failing that, the next-best option would be to buy a special disk-lock that fits over your front tire and makes a bunch of noise if somebody tries to touch it.
they sell for around $120 at motorcycle shops, though i assume i can get one cheaper on the internet.
a few days after i bought the motorcycle i went over to a motorcycle shop and bought a disk-lock, but it just sat on my desk in my office for a few days before i returned it unopened.
it just seemed like having to unlock this extra thing was another pain-in-the-ass i would have to do every time i wanted to go for a ride.
also, the guy at the motorcycle shop showed me that Hondas have a way to lock the steering column so that if a thief does try to engage the clutch and push your motorcycle away, it'll just go in a counter-clockwise circle.
my thinking is that with that feature, and the bag, i should be good enough, right?
that might be a mistake and i might go back to the motorcycle shop and buy the additional lock again, but, for now, i just look out the window onto the parking lot below ten times a day, and i jump up any time i hear any kind of noise outside whatsoever.

after two weeks of driving around with my motorcycle looking like it came straight out of the factory [or, looking like it came straight out of the factory and then accumulated twenty years of wear and tear, but still retained the original paint job] it was time to do something about that.
the bike was mostly black with some brown trimming on the fenders.
i could live with the brown trim, i could even live with the brown trim on the gas tank/body, but, i could not live with the giant 'American Classic Edition' decal on the side of the body, or the 'HONDA' markings on the back of my seat and on the engine. i would have to do something about all that.
i went out to the Lowe's and i bought myself two cans of spray-paint and my plan was to spend an afternoon eradicating all the brand names i could find.
then the night before i was set to get to work, the PSE told me “wait. i'll help you...”
the PSE only just got finished being all pissy about me buying the motorcycle a few days previous and she went out of her way to explain that her helping me paint the motorcycle was not to be construed as her endorsing the thing, or that she would be willing to help me out with the thing in any other way, only that the PSE enjoys spray-painting things and she was feeling sweet and helpful.
i took her help because she really is a much better spray-painter then i am. thanks, PSE!

the PSE pushed to paint the entire bike, the body, fenders, engine and exhaust matte black.
i didn't want to do that and i had to put up a surprising amount of resistance considering how much the PSE was against the motorcycle in the first place.
i thought it would be better just to paint the mototcycle's body and fenders glossy black and to leave the engine and exhaust chrome.
chrome is gaudy, i get it, but this is a motorcycle after all and a certain amount of chrome is a part of the look, like the Terminator would ride.
it took the PSE and i a little more then three hours over the course of two days to get the motorcycle painted the way i wanted it.
first we had to sand all the parts we had to paint, then tape off all the parts we didn't want to paint, then the PSE got to work spraying.
we finished the thing off by replacing the 'HONDA' etched into the back of the seat with 'TITS' in light pink so that everybody knows whos motorcycle it is.

a few days after getting my motorcycle all decked out the way i wanted it i took it for a ride to run an errand.
riding back to the apartment, coming the other way, a grizzled old biker with a big, bushy gray beard and a leather vest advertising his gang affiliation on the back waved at me.
it was a distinct kind of motorcycle wave, preformed low, under his handle bars with just two fingers.
it caught me by surprise because most of the time when i ride i am concentrating on not fucking up my gear shifts.
by the time i figured out what was going on i ended up nodding at the guy in return, but i doubt he noticed.
i have got to get used to waving at bikers. thats the kind of person i am now.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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