The Light-Side of the Dark

Fuel management…it’s a thing…especially when your range before reserve maxes out at 140 miles or so…

My normally aggressive throttle habits and the “not conservative” speed limits found here can radically shorten that range. In a state where I can run near a 1000 miles in a straight line without hitting the border means pusholine, and my current supply and/or access to more, is a frequent concern.

Suffice it to say…I stop for gas a lot. I’m pretty sure my record inside of one day is 13 stops…but I’m not sure the last one counted as I didn’t continue on. The wolf, ya see…was a bit rude. More than a bit in fact. I’m pretty sure we made up and I bought him a pizza…but that’s another story. To be fair…I DID get out of the state on that run.

Anyway…stops for fuel…lots of them…are often the most adventurous part of my trips. A battered and grizzled lone rider, on a distinct machine, sipping a drink or checking maps in a busy crossroads station, inevitably attracts the attention of the bored, curious, adventurous, or otherwise interesting folks.

Sometimes this isn’t a good thing. Sometimes it is. Sometimes I don’t know which it was until much later. Regardless, I often learn something new…or at least learn that occasionally, my assumptions about this wide world and the people moving around in it aren’t based on anything concrete.

A gas-stop can shift your world view…if you are, in fact, actually viewing the world…rather than surrounding yourself in your interpretation of how you think it works.

***

Pushing hard through the pitch-black…making time…high-speed running down the I-states, pondering the sheer loneliness to be found deep in the night, when, right on cue, what had been just on the edge of my awareness began to grow into a sea of light on the horizon.

Shortly I chuckled as it resolved itself into something identifiable. The massive sign blaring T&A in bright lights…a truck stop…yep, it’s the male in me that can’t help seeing their sign and thinking, “They’re not selling what they’re advertising”, except that’s not always true. Sometimes they are.

Don’t get the reference? Do a google image search for T&A.

Don’t do this at work.

The Dragon was demanding go-juice and the price looked good so I downshifted, grabbed the binders, and took the exit at over 80mph. I needed to drain some caffeine off and probably add some more too and the popular truck stops are usually reasonably clean and well lit. It also helps me to relax for a moment on something that’s NOT moving at high-speeds simply to get my perspective back. That damn Doppler shift tends to throw the universe completely out of focus.

Ya find interesting things…when the universe is out of focus.

All the parts of the big cruiser did as I asked them to so I arrived in the lot of the massive truck stop at a reasonable pace and more or less safe and sound. I grin as I briefly reflect that Valkyrie brakes…and the good maintenance of them…is rather high on my list of “Dragon parts that MUST work ALL the time”. I expect entering the bustling T&A parking lot at 80mph and sans binders would make for a fascinating and somewhat messy spectacle.

A splash of fuel and then, as is my custom, I pulled off the pumps to a space near the side of the store. After draining off a few cc’s of spent caffeine I grabbed a drink, exited the store, and leaned on the bike, pondering what remained of tonight’s journey.

This is usually when interesting things happen. I would not be the least surprised that if the universe came to an end, it would find me leaning on my bike at a gas stop, sipping a soft-drink, grinning, and pondering just what the hell that bright light in the sky was all about.

Interesting things. It didn’t take long.

“You looking for a date?”

Surprised, I looked up at the young, attractive woman that had suddenly appeared out of the night. I am usually quite aware of my surroundings and was not conscious of letting that slip. My immediate impression was that she must move like a cat to have gotten that close undetected. My second impression was that she was no danger to me. My third contained all kinds of assumptions.

Short, tight dress. Heels. A large purse/grab bag slung over her shoulder. “The look.”

As she took a few steps closer “one hip at a time” so to speak…those curves swinging in a universal language that will grab…and hold…the attention of most healthy males, my assumptions solidified. Other things did too.

Yep. A cat. Mmmmm.

I knew, before her next words, what she was about and where she “fit”…in my world. Or I thought I did anyway.

The truckers have a term for these women. It’s not a kind one, although it sometimes applies. “Lot Lizard” is the term. Prostitute. Hooker. Other, less kind descriptions filter down in the language. I’ve never been comfortable with most of the terms. I’ve seen enough and been enough places to know the drug-addled, teen-runaway, pimped out stereotype that “Lot Lizard” would apply to is not always the norm. It certainly didn’t seem to apply to this woman.

The assumptions are still there though. The world, pushed down into nice orderly compartments for my ease and convenience.

“No, thank you.” I reply. The young, rebellious male buried deep inside me screams, “Oh come ON!” into the depths of my brain. Yeah. That darkside. It’s always there.

“No problem.” she says, but makes no move to leave, eyeing the big machine I was leaning against. “Nice bike!”

“Thanks.” A moment or two passed. She smelled good. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure!”

“What do you…uh…you know…charge?” I’m sure I was blushing. The worldly biker…been everywhere, seen everything…spent near ten-thousand nights with my woman…fought my way to hell and back…biker…blushing like a school-boy.

“Depends. For you? Thirty for a hand job. Fifty for a blow. Hundred for half-and-half.”

“Half-and-half?”

“A blow, then a f@ck.”

“Ah.” I had been genuinely curious.

“If you’ll run me to Shreveport, I’ll do you for half.”

It was a gorgeous night. She was pretty. The darkside in me was earnestly explaining that that was a pretty good deal.

“No thanks.” For some reason I felt the need to add an excuse. “Not my direction.”

“Okay.”

I finished my drink, mounted the cruiser, and put on my helmet. “You be safe.”

“Thank you. I will.”

On a whim I grabbed a twenty out of my jacket pocket (my emergency gas money stash) and held it out to her. My assumptions said she needed help and that would go a ways toward…I dunno…saving? Is that a good term? Perhaps. I often play the hero. A damsel in distress. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going for the next drug fix…she wasn’t the type. So yeah. Saving.

On a reflex she reached out and took the bill. “What’s that for?”

“So you can get something to eat or…I don’t know…something.”

She laughed. A lighthearted, musical thing, and handed the bill back to me.

“Honey, I’m out here working, not begging.”

I blinked. Pondered. Smiled….and stabbed the darkside of the man with some shattered assumptions (he was still explaining how Shreveport was less than a couple hundred miles and this was a good deal).

Just like that. World view adjusted.

How’s yours?

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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