Motorcycling in Delhi: Skillful and Stupid Are My Maiden Names

I have a motorcycle. Everybody likes it. "Cool bike," they say. Except Shannon. She doesn't like my motorcycle. "Average bike," she says. And then she says quiet things under her breath about my life insurance, like, "Cool policy."

Riding a motorcycle in Delhi is pretty hard. You have to be skillful, and also stupid, both of which are my maiden names that I would have if I were a maiden. You also need a good filtration mask, because riding in Delhi during the winter is a little like riding on Venus, or some other place where the air is not made of oxygen. In the summertime, the oxygen comes back, but it's pretty hot and humid. The silver lining is that not a lot of bugs smack you in the face while you're riding, because they all died during the winter when the air was like mustard gas. 

You take your car to work, I'll take my bike. (Delhi, India; Oct 2017)

I remember my very first motorcycle was pretty big. Too big, one might say, if one were to be intent on "reporting facts." I learned to ride it in an hour in a big, empty parking lot. My dad coached me. "OK, whatever, don't drop it," he said as he sat in the parked car at the edge of the lot and chewed on a toothpick. I'm not trying to brag, but I was kind of a prodigy on the bike. I hardly hit anything in that whole hour, except the curb, and my dad's parked car, and a tree.

A couple days later I took the 1200cc behemoth to the DMV for a riding test. I didn't realize you had to ride through a maze of traffic cones. It was pretty hard. I ran over most of the cones, and the ones I didn't run over, I knocked over. The test examiner seemed a little upset that I'd smushed the cones. I felt like she was overreacting. They were cones. It's not like I would've run them over if they were people, duh. Unless the people were to have been standing on the street or sidewalk, or in their front yards. Then maybe I would've run them over, but on accident, so it's okay.

Here is my first motorcycle, with which I ruthlessly murdered many traffic cones. (Provo, Utah; Apr 2010)

I have never really learned much about the motorcycles themselves. I just like riding them. I feel like it's not critical for me to know what's happening inside the "V-Twin" or the "stroke chamber" or the "sparky guzzle" or the "choker necklace," as long as the bike goes, you know? 

Once I pulled into a lonely gas station in rural Idaho on my big bike. A few minutes later, a large dude in his 50s with a pony tail and a black leather vest with a skull on it that said something like "I eat social norms for breakfast" roared into the station. "Cool bike," he said. Then he started asking me questions that made me uncomfortable, like "How much horsepower does that bad boy have?" and "What's the torque like?" and "How big is your crankshaft?" I bobbed and weaved with vague answers like "Lots of horses, man!" and "Wow, I'll tell you what!" and wished that he would ask me my religion or political preferences instead. I guess I'm just not into my hobbies enough, except for using Neti Pots, about which I am deathly serious.