Wyatt Underwood's


Harleying no more!

"But!" Agonized silence. "I am Harleying!" Embarrassed silence.

Of course I am not. I am Wyatt Underwood. But he, that me, is a construct. And part of constructing him, me, is hours and hours of riding, motorcycle riding, then Harley riding. I have ridden a quarter of a million miles on different motorcycles, not Harleys. Have I really? I have. I have ridden almost half that many miles on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Take that away and you leave a big hole in that construct.

What else have I put into that construct that takes up a similar amount of spacetime? Technical proficiency with computers and programming surely. Maybe the unmanned exploration of space. Maybe loving. Maybe trying to understand what a career means? No, almost surely not. Maybe trying to understand what being a computer professional means? Almost surely not. Writing? Thinking? Writing poetry? Maybe that!

The comparison that keeps occurring to me is suit-wearing. A suit is a ridiculous piece of clothing for a man. You can't fight in one, you can't shovel, you can't hoe, you can't ride horseback, you can't climb a mountain, you can't swing a sword. About all you can do with a suit is pose in it. Which is not to say that individual men have not at one time or another done in a suit each of the things I claim you can't do in one. And made it work. But no one with any sense or choice would do any of those in a suit. The suit fights you, drags at you, interferes with moves you want or need to make. The suit is built for posing and that's what men do in them. So when you commit to wearing a suit, and many men in many of the professions I took on while computering do commit to wearing a suit, you commit to posing for many hours of the day. In which case, your attire fits you and is an accessory, maybe even an advantage.

I made a similar commitment to riding first a motorcycle at all, then to riding a Harley. If I was going to some place I couldn't walk to, then I rode. Within reason. Obviously I didn't ride to England. Companies I worked for insisted on flying me places, and insisted that I drive a car while there. I did. But on my own, I rode.

And now I have to stop. Or that's my reading of recent events. I hurt myself - and my Harley - too often when I ride. I can stop now and treasure many good memories of riding. And still write and think. Or think and ride.

Maybe I could learn to wear a suit? [tiny grinning face] Yes, maybe I could. We shall see.