The cookout party we hosted for my hubby’s birthday was a smashing success. At least I had a great time, and I hope everybody else did, too. We wondered how it would go, since most of the invitees didn’t know the others. But it turned out to be a convivial mix of folks.
Somehow the topic of the Sturgis motorcycle rally came up. This huge bike rally turns the small town of Sturgis, South Dakota, into an orgiastic bacchanalia of drunken revelry. I’ve been to the ROT Rally in Austin, a smaller version of the same, so I can only imagine what goes on in Sturgis. Whenever James has expressed a desire to attend this annual rite of insane drinking, macho posturing, and sexual promiscuity, I’ve gently let him know that could only happen over my dead body.
At the cookout, one of our neighbors was actually trying to convince me to let James go.
He said, “We don’t even care about going into Sturgis—we’ll stay at a Best Western in Rapid City.”
“It’s for the scenery – to see the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, and, ya know, those other scenic places around there.”
Umm-hmmm. “If it’s for the scenery, why not go any old time of year?” Like in the spring or fall instead of August? That sounds like torture to me—to be stuck on a motorcycle for hours at a time, a hot wind blasting your face and waves of heat shimmering up off the asphalt. I don’t get it. James has explained many times, “You’re close to nature on a motorcycle. You feel it, you smell it, you see it up close.”
OK, then ride a bicycle. It’s safer and you can actually smell the roses instead of get a blurry glimpse as you whiz by. I understand that bicycles don’t have the panache of a motorcycle. Motorcycles reek of danger, risk, machismo. Bicycles conjure up skinny guys in funny helmets, who don’t seem to be having any fun. They all seem to be wearing the same grim expression. Think “motorcycle” and an entirely different picture springs to mind: hairy, muscular dudes wearing tattoos and dirty jeans. I suppose that type appeals to some women, but I suspect, like lifting weights, the display is more for the other guys than for the ladies. Actually, James and his motorcycle friends are more like “Wild Hogs” than “The Wild One.” They are just middle-aged (to put it kindly) guys who like to dress up like badass dudes on the occasional weekend. Which is harmless.
Plus, as some of the women at the party pointed out, while he’s gone to Sturgis, I can take that opportunity to do something I want to do, whether it’s shopping in Dallas, visiting an old college friend, or maybe holing up in a cabin somewhere and having my own little writing retreat. They have an excellent point.
At some point in this discussion, I look over at James, and suddenly I know. “If I tell him he can go, he won’t want to anymore.”
So this morning, I casually throw out, “Honey, it’s been awhile since you’ve been on your bike. Why don’t you go for a ride with somebody? In fact, why not just go ahead and take that trip to Sturgis? I don’t mind. Really.”
There was a slight pause. Then my dear husband, who’s been vigorously campaigning for the Sturgis rally for years, said, “Nah, I don’t really want to go. That’s a long trip for a motorcycle.”
I look at him, pretending to be shocked. Finally I shrug, “OK. But if you change your mind, you have my blessing.” I’m slightly disappointed. I was already planning my own little getaway.
There’s a lesson here somewhere. When you push somebody to do this or that, their natural inclination is to resist. Then one day, you get tired of pushing and just give up. Suddenly there’s nothing for the other person to fight against anymore. They might just slide into the position you’ve been trying to maneuver them into all that time.
Interesting how that works.
Have you had an experience like this? Leave a comment!