Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Other stuff I feel guilty about: ah, the Guzzi...
While we're at it, apart from not sitting, (enough? at all?) there's lots of stuff to feel mildly guilty about - so today, I'll concentrate on the Guzzi; with which, I'll have to admit, I've just had a breakthrough, so it has swum back into the dim reaches of my consciousness after being rigorously repressed for the last two years; probably like Anthony Bates and his mum, with its carcass sitting slowly decomposing in the barn. (... I'll just go ask the Guzzi....it never lets me do anything..)
I thought, when I had a break two years ago, I'd have all this time to sort it out to something like concours (dream on..) standard. All the alloy polished, the engine fettled, electrics sorted. That sound, of a big lazy twin, would prick up the ears of the cognoscenti like a dog hearing a whistle for dinner, as I blatted through the lanes of Suffolk in an adult, responsible manner on the way to work and gigs, my horn slung insouciantly across my back... right.
I had ridden this bike for 15 years all over the UK, to gigs , college and whatever; there was a covenant of responsibility on both sides - I would look after her in a bodgy kind of way, she would always get me home, on a single cylinder if need be (gasping, sucking air through the removed plug that would reside in my jacket for the journey home), but never ever let me down. Then that fateful last ride in a lowering winter evening, cold sleety rain: after a catalogue of minor upsets, the trans locked making a horrible tin-can-full-of nails kind of sound and she refused to shift out of 3rd, then the lights failed leaving me to limp home burning the clutch at every stop of the 25 mile ride, staying on back roads feeling my way along in the dark narrow lanes. We made it back, and as the rain grew heavier, I wearily sat on the porch in the dark after opening a beer, listening to the ticking of the cooling engine in the hiss of a rain turning to sleet. Finally, as I watched, with a final, resigned sigh, the sidestand broke off, and the bike (gracefully, it has to be said) collapsed into the gravel of the drive with a gentle crunch.. .. I knew our relationship had reached an impasse. I swore, then and there, that I would make things right, and we would once again ride through sunny, sweeping bends, touching the foot peg down and laughing together as we had in happier times.
this is the kind of guilt I have to live with on a daily basis.