The Honda was straining to maintain his composure because the abusive punishment was relentless as Zane continued to thunder down the highway as if he were possessed by an evil intruder! He was hard pressed to recall a time when he was more angry than he was at this moment! Zane’s mind was swirling with seething resentment as his thoughts began to slowly shift towards his estranged brother. He wondered why Quentin wouldn’t return his phone calls? It was only recently that Zane learned how his mother had died two years earlier! No one on his side of the family bothered to reach out, which proved Zane was officially disowned. Having come to grips with the fact that he had been ousted by his family, Zane’s thoughts drifted towards John who just recently died from alcohol poisoning. “I could really use a friend like him right now,” Zane thought. “It would be good for me to have another man’s perspective on things.”
He slowly began to question the events that led to his expulsion from his brother’s good graces. “It’s not Quentin’s fault,” Zane reasoned. The younger brother had his own set of unique problems to deal with, so Zane concluded that his banishment was somehow warranted. “I can’t really blame him,” Zane thought. “The only time I would ever reach out was to borrow money! It’s no wonder he won’t talk to me, especially since I didn’t go to Dad’s funeral.”
As it turned out there was some bad blood that developed between Renee and Zane’s sister. A family feud that centered around a simmering resentment caused their relationship to sour. To make a long story short, Betty called Renee on the phone and coldly informed her that, “Tammy doesn’t want to see you at Charlie’s funeral!” Upon hearing the news, Zane boldly informed his wife that, “If you’re not going to the funeral, then I’m not either!” Looking back he realized it was a bad move. In hindsight he debated whether he should have attended the somber gathering? “It would have been awkward as hell,” he concluded as he imagined showing up at Dad’s funeral without the wife and kids. Be that as it may, Zane suspected that he should have at least made an appearance. “I didn’t even send flowers,” he recalled as the Honda propelled them down the rural country lane with the intensity of a blazing cannonball! Zane suspected that he abandoned his siblings in the same way that he dismissed John. Although he was currently holding kindness as his core value, Zane realized that historically speaking he had been very cruel. “I should have been a better friend to John,” he lamented as it dawned on him that he was nearly out of fuel.
It’s a common misperception that motorcycles are fuel efficient, but the Honda could only squeeze thirty miles from a gallon when ridden sensibly. At this time he was burning through his dwindling fuel at an alarming rate; because Zane was still ‘riding to beat hell!’ knowing there was less than a gallon in the tank, he forgot about being disowned and snapped back into the present moment. “I’m going to have to stop at the Chevron,” he reasoned as he slowly peeled his way back from the madness that swallowed him whole. He consciously relaxed his grip on the throttle causing the machine to travel at a sensible velocity, while simultaneously reaching down to check the fuel cut-off valve. Upon doing so he could feel the small lever through the leather of his summer riding glove. The tail of the small metal lever was positioned vertically which told him the fuel valve was correctly seated at the “on” position. He realized that if he had inadvertently left it in ‘reserve,’ he would run out of fuel and become stranded. It was engineered this way because older machines didn’t come equipped with a fuel gauge. Instead, a rider knew he was nearly out of gas when the carburetors would be starved of fuel; causing the engine to sputter. This was the rider’s signal to rotate the valve into the ‘reserve’ setting which provided enough gas to limp into a fueling station if one was within range.
He was sure he had enough fuel to reach the Chevron, so Zane let his mind relax as he recalled the immaturity that had manifested itself just moments earlier. “Just because I’m pissed off at Quentin doesn’t give me a license to be an asshole,” he reasoned as he contemplated his childish behavior. Once again he thought of the Chevron because the idea of buying fuel triggered a pleasing thought process which compelled Zane to briefly indulge in a warm memory. The grateful Honda cruised along at a sensible pace as Zane’s mind drifted back towards Las Vegas.
As he rode, Zane recalled how he and his daughter treated themselves to a motorcycle excursion through New Mexico’s sandy badlands. It was over ten years ago, and Elise was still very young. On this occasion the happy pair found themselves barreling through the moonlit desert on a warm summer’s evening. The blurred scenery was partially illuminated by the moonlit dusk as they thundered back towards home on the desolate two-lane black top at the outskirts of town. They were on the last leg of their return voyage when Zane absent mindedly checked the status of the fuel level. The father and daughter were blissfully unaware of the fact that dad had accidentally left the valve in ‘reserve.’ With Elise clinging to his waist like a Koala, dad leaned over and brushed his hand up against the fuel valve. “Oh no,” Zane thought! “It was in ‘reserve’ this whole time!” Knowing they had burned up a lot of miles, dad feared the worst as he rotated the valve back into the ‘on’ position. Upon doing so the Honda immediately became starved of fuel and lost power! Zane quickly returned the lever to ‘reserve’ allowing liquid fuel to trickle back down into the empty carburetors; helping the cylinders to once again catch fire. “I have no idea how much gas I’ve got left,” Zane thought! They were still ten miles from home when the stark reality began to sink in. In the moment a concerned voice reminded him, “We could run out at any given second and darkness is setting in!” Zane heeded the wise words and purposefully backed off from the throttle in an effort to conserve fuel. “At least I had sense enough to bring my phone,” Zane silently declared as he secretly thanked his guiding star.
Dad would not have to call for a rescue, however. Instead they found themselves within walking distance of the trailer house before the Honda began to spit and sputter, “We really dodged a bullet this time,” Zane reasoned as the pair coasted into the driveway and disembarked from their adventure! Dad was the first to remove himself from the cycle at which time he assisted Elise as she extricated herself from the machine as well. After being in the saddle for hours, Elise staggered and swayed as she established her footing on the hard packed dirt that made up the driveway. Dad assisted her with the removal of her helmet, at which time Elise sauntered up to the front door of the trailer house with the intention of sharing her joy with the rest of the family!
The pleasing images faded as the familiar sight of the local Chevron station came into view. Zane was grateful for the happy memory because it helped to ratchet his mind backwards from the hateful resentment that previously stifled his ability to regulate his behaviors. He realized he was acting out as he reviewed his childish antics! In retrospect he felt bad for being such a nuisance. “I was acting like a spoiled brat,” Zane recalled as he replayed the event in his mind’s eye. He remembered the bitter flock of disgruntled golfers as they shook their angry putters! For a brief instant Zane felt compelled to offer an apology to the privileged elites as he wheeled the Honda into the filling station’s service bay. He pulled up close enough to the hose so it would reach, and then he killed the engine. He drew a deep breath as he manipulated the kickstand with his left foot because It was time to check the tire pressure and refuel.
To be continued…
Fifty-Two-year-old, stay at home dad, philosopher, and recovering narcissist.