Tag Archives: the goldfinch

The Bug

first_person_motorcycle

Something happened to me. Call it a bite or a cold or a bug, I’m not sure, but it’s possessed me. At first it was an unsettling feeling, like the start of the stomach flu, slightly nauseous and unnerving, feverish even. I couldn’t quite keep my balance as the paradigm of how I’m supposed to live my life started shaking under my once steady and by-the-book legs.

Not a big deal, I thought. This will pass. Once, not so long ago, while reading The Goldfinch, I wanted to see if I too, like one of the characters, could spend an entire day, morning to night, completely drunk. It seemed like an interesting concept at the time. But as friends and enemies alike pointed out, as a person who can barely handle a few drinks before spewing them out sometimes making it to the toilet and sometimes not, I thought it wise to put the idea on the shelf for a while. The same thing should, will, must happen again. It’ll just go away, like a one night stand disappearing in the middle of the night so when the morning comes it’s hard to remember if it ever happened or if it was just a dream.

Instead the idea, call it infection, grew. This newly found deep desire to swing a leg over a saddle, wrap my fingers around grips, and take off briskly with the wind in my hair, dust in my path was infecting my mind. Before long, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Would I like motorcycling? What kind of motorcycle would I buy? Who else do I know that rides a motorcycle? In the midst of taking a shower or doing a run, I’d find myself thinking, would I like wearing all that motorcycling gear and a helmet? While cooking pasta the thoughts would pervade, is that a motorcycle going down my street? and I’d need to hurry over the window straining to see what kind of bike it was growling down the block.

Whatever happens when you suddenly find yourself obsessed by an insidious idea that for so many years you thought was detestable at worst and obnoxious at best has its fangs tightly wrapped around your throat and isn’t letting go. Who am I? Why is this happening to me? Motorcycles are for gang members and outlaws, not normal people and definitely not me.

Whatever happens to make a person want to ride a motorcycle, apparently I got it. And I got it bad.