My Mystical Motorcycle Message
My husband left yesterday for France, for a refined yet testosterone filled few days of car auctions, car parties, followed by a car show.
Can you say Gear Head?
Last night, after delivering the dead weight of both sleeping dogs to their beds, I looked up and was reminded of a mystical motorcycle message that was delivered to me on another night when he was far, far away.
It was a different kind of trip, raw and rugged.
He was pretty much incommunicado, racing in a desert over ten thousand miles away, but things had taken a turn and I sensed he was in danger.
So I asked for a sign, and the Universe, with her wicked sense of humor, delivered a doozy.
It was the second year he had decided to ride with his buddies at Rawhyde, down in South America to follow this crazy-ass off-road, Mad Max style race called the Dakar.
The year before they had the time of their lives, riding in that environment, among all the other idiots, I mean racers, and being worshipped by the locals, who line the route and gather in great numbers at every gas stop, handing them food, babies and cameras to capture the moment.
They are revered, like rock stars.
The riding is treacherously fabulous.
The dirt roads through the Atacama Desert are rocky and rutted and they’re racing next to Rally cars, other motorcycles, and behemoth Russian supply trucks that decided a few years back that they too wanted a piece of the action.
It’s consistently well over one hundred degrees, and they have to cross the Andes via Paseo De San Francisco, which at over 10,000 feet requires them to do what the locals do to offset the altitude – chew raw coca leaves.
While they ride a motorcycle. Yes, you read that right.
It’s an insane cluster fuck, an accident waiting to happen. People die.
But as he’s told me, it’s the most fun he’s ever had with his clothes on.
Here’s a taste in case you’re interested:
This trip Murphy’s Law prevailed.
Everything that could go wrong did – and then some. I heard about it in my one text per day. It was often terse and exhausted sounding, sent at the end of another grueling episode of Chasing Dakar.
Let’s just say, things were not flowing, and he was not a happy camper. I felt terrible for him.
The day came to cross over the Andes and because of circumstances too complicated to get into, he and an instructor were leading the group up and over.
The idea is to do it as quickly as you can, spending as little time as possible up at that elevation. Get your paperwork stamped at the checkpoint and GO!
The previous year he’d told me stories of helping other riders back down the mountain, who were literally found laying in the road next to their bikes, sick and seriously delusional from the altitude.
Apparently they’d never received the coca leaf memo.
Knowing all that only made things worse for me when I didn’t hear from him at all that day. Nothing.
The window of time in which I’d usually receive my text had come – and gone. Man, how I would have welcomed one of his cantankerous texts.
I started to worry.
With the phone tucked under my pillow, I laid there – waiting. Once I realized it was asinine to try to sleep, I decided to text him.
Hope you made it safely. I Love you.
I knew he wouldn’t answer, But it made me feel better…for about a minute.
It’s amazing where your mind can go when you’re sick with worry about someone you love.
Mine writes horror movies that could never be shown because of the graphic nature of the gore. They involve motorcycles and danger, blood, guts, and death.
That night I had him lost in the Andes, with no food or water, crazy from the altitude, eyeing a fellow victim like a pork chop. Or dead, his body carried away by the Andes version of a Yeti, never to be found.
I felt completely powerless, and I was making myself sick.
By 3 a.m. I decided to pray. I prayed the tight-fisted prayer of the terrified wife.
Please let him be okay. I even forgive the fact he hasn’t checked in. Please let him be alive. Please give me a sign.
I took a Xanax and finally drifted into a fitful sleep filled with nightmares. In one, the bedroom was filled with an eerie, greenish light. I could see it through my closed eyelids.
My eyes snapped open and the room was filled with an eerie green light I’d never seen before. I blinked, then blinked again.
WTF? Slowly I got up to see where the light was coming from, half expecting a ghostly visitation from my dearly departed in the arms of a Yeti. What I found was almost as weird.
We have a 1953 Peugeot motorcycle up on the short wall that separates our bathroom from our bedroom. Yes, you can say it. All his friends do. I’m the coolest wife EVER!
You’re required by law, to have a fluorescent light in a bathroom. I’ve always hated the greenish glare those bulbs give off, so we installed it behind the motorcycle to assuage the inspector – and then had it promptly disconnected.
If you flip the switch, nothing happens.
But not on this night. I came out of my worry coma to find that the motorcycle above my head was impossibly illuminated. By a light that should NOT be working.
I stood there frozen, a shiver ran around the room, looking for a spine to run up, then it found mine.
It was my sign. It had to be. Light…Motorcycle…
Now just to be clear, he’s okay, right? This means he’s alive, not dead.
The exasperated Universe told me to cut the chit-chat and go back to bed. I flipped the switch which was already in the off position, not knowing what to expect, and the light went out.
Later that day, I received a text. It was short, crabby and filled with expletives. It was the best text of my life
They had become stuck at the top for hours, and things had gone downhill from there (pun intended). But at last they were back at sea level; sleepless, starving, but safe and sound and back in the race.
It ended with Love you, and that’s all that I could see. I burst into large, crocodile tears of relief.
PS. That light has never worked since.
Keep Calm & Carry on,