Mini Cooper vs. SV650

Riding my Suzuki SV650 down to the corner store the other evening to buy beer, I followed a silver-gray Mini Cooper into the parking lot. A fellow in his sixties got out and started using the instant teller. I passed by him on my way inside and said, “My motorcycle is bigger than your Mini.” He got a chuckle out of my impudence.

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Last Friday was Halloween. The first trick-or-treaters were three girls, one of whom lives next door. The best costume among them was the a Teletubby. The girls were chaperoned by the neighbor’s uncle. He wore a motorcycle jacket and carried a helmet. I think he rides a Kawasaki sport bike at home in Ontario, Canada. What I know about him from his sister is that he’s an eccentric bachelor. Early in 2007, for God knows what reason, I told him about the spill I’d suffered while entering a parking lot and hitting a patch of gravel. I slid along on my elbow and was happy to be wearing body armor. No harm to me, but the bike had some minor damage. I acknowledged him where he lingered in back of the girls. In response, he said, “Have you fallen on your bike this year?” If you suppose this interrogative caught me flatfooted, you would be right. Instead of inquiring about my summer or whether I still my Suzuki, he had to ask if I had fallen again. As a matter of fact, since then, I’ve tipped over once while parking on soft dirt (no harm) and skidded on oil (probably a Harley’s) in the motorcycle parking slots of the William Street parking structure in Ann Arbor, going over and fracturing a brake lever. But at this moment, with an audience of impressionable youngsters, I sure didn’t feel like rehearsing these misfortunes. Sensing my reticence, he prodded me, “Remember, last time I talked to you, you had fallen.” “Ah,” I said, managing to compose myself. “I had a great season. Rode twenty-five hundred miles.” They left, and I found myself thinking it was the equivalent of having a semi-stranger come to the door and ask if I’d pissed my pants lately. Just taking a survey.

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The idea of GM’s vaccinating itself with Chrysler to ward off a fatal ague is ridiculous, if only for the fact that the vaccine itself is tainted. Having inhaled the remains of Hudson, Kaiser, Fraser, DeSoto, Nash, Rambler, and Packard, Chrysler chronically wheezes and carries the scent of death.

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