Sitting in the shady patio of a Fredericksburg restaurant, Spider and I sipped
cold ones and watched the t&a parade while our womenfolk carried their economic
stimulus package (read: credit cards) to the local shopkeepers. It’s a small town
in a small world, though, and, directly, we were spotted and approached by Black Bob.
Now, Black Bob is neither “black”, nor “Bob”, but is, in fact one of those
very fair people sometimes called a “glow-in-the-dark Anglo”. We already
have a “Whitey”, though, and “Black Bob” just sounds better than “Pale Ernest”.
“Long time”, sez I, “what’s shakin’ in the big city?”
Black Bob replied that he’d totaled his bike about eight months back and that
at least part of the time since was spent recovering from a broken elbow and
“3rd degree burns and miles of road rash.”
We allowed as how that sucked pretty bad and inquired as to the details.
“This dude in a truck turned in front of me. I had the choice of T-boning him
or laying her down. I laid her down.”
Wow, “laid her down”.
I searched my memory, certain I’d never been asked to perform “lay her down”,
not back when I initially tested for my license, nor 30 years later, when taking
the Experienced Rider Course.
But then, youth took a toll on my powers of recall long before age did any ravaging;
maybe I’d learned “lay her down” and then forgotten it, along with my ATM password
and Ol’ Dumb Wanda’s phone number.
I do remember at least part of a long-ago night when, in a similar circumstance,
I stood on my little Honda’s drum brakes before T-boning a station wagon.
I got a broken arm, broken leg and my first new motorcycle out of it
(no burns or road rash, though).
No new bike for Black Bob. He said that he’s too old for that, now,
making me wonder just how hard he’d hit the truck (so I asked).
“Well, actually, I never hit him, I stopped sliding before then, but it was his fault.
It’s lucky I laid her down”.
I stared at his back as he wandered off and wondered where he got the idea
that the side of his motorcycle would stop him faster than its tires, and why
he’d prefer sliding along beside (or possibly under) 700 lbs. of motorcycle,
rather than sitting atop it.
Spider’s voice intruded on my thoughts, “The trick is to stay with the bike
and bring it back up as you slide out from under the truck on the other side”.
Encouraged by my blank stare, he continued, “Do you remember that Cherokee gal
who rode down from Virginia with me on my old Triumph?
I signaled the waitress.