Born to be Wild

October 25, 2008

A couple of months ago, I purchased a scooter. I’d never driven a motorcycle before, but this seemed a good way to learn, and escape from high gas prices. It’s a nice bike – new, bright red, solidly built, 70 mpg, and great fun. And scooters are significantly less expensive than motorcycles. Most motorcycle accidents happen in a rider’s first 6 months, so if your going to wreck, might as well wreck something less expensive. What can I say? The button down conformism I had been trapped in had to give way to freedom and testosterone.

Now I’ve discovered bikers have something of a club among themselves. Car drivers don’t usually notice, but most bikers wave to one another as they pass along the road. A secret handshake of comraderie. They have discovered the great liberation of shedding the minivans and SUVs for leather and chrome.

Unfortunately, when a biker comes upon me, I evoke the image, less of Ghost Rider, and more of Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber.

Made a deal with the devil…

“I can get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog.”

The scooter just is not as cool as a full size motorcycle. I don’t look dangerous or rebellious against society’s rules. I look like a frugal grad student on his way to class. Thus, more often than not, the bikers ignore me. Or I catch their glance, then they look away and probably throw up in their mouths just a little bit. Because I’m not one of them. A few do wave, but most do not. I learned early on not to initiate a wave. Nothing more irritating than a dumb white kid giving a big wave from his scooty-scoot to a leather clad hell’s angel.

Now I could have seen this coming. Either bikers would recognize a newbie in their ranks and want to welcome me in my path to learning the ways of the motorcycle. Or they would be suspicious of me and all the other new idiot bike and scooter riders out there and be grossed out at how their proud lifestyle, which they once shared with just a few awesome people, is now being destroyed by moving into the mainstream.

But I see the same behavior in the church. It is really hard for people to visit church, and oftentimes, people do not make a strong enough effort to welcome the newbie. New people are suspicous. When a new person enters the group, the group changes. And everyone who already owns the group likes it just the way it is, thank you very much. And to church visitors, the regulars might as well be a bunch of leather-wearing hell’s angels giving them the middle finger as they putter in on their moped. They are just that intimidated by church.