The world really is a small place. Sure, if you pull back from the surface and look at a map, or take the globe off the shelf and give it a spin, it can look like a pretty large and daunting object. But seriously, how many times have you been miles away from home only to run into somebody you know? As random as it seems there is probably a logical explanation for that. For instance, like-minded people hang out or go to the same places, so it shouldn’t be out of the question that within the realm of travel that someone you know would also be there. Traveling on a motorcycle actually puts you in this position. As riders, we seek out the most scenic routes and the likelihood of running into familiar faces is probably high. Even if we are trying to find the solitude that riding a motorcycle brings, it is inevitable that the moment we look up from the gas-pump we will be faced with our neighbor down the street.
We’ve all been there – pumping gas, oblivious to the world around us, when someone calls out our name. We don’t hear it the first time so of course we seem rude, but the second time we hear our name, we look up and then scramble to put a name to a face. We stammer through the conversation saying everything but the wrong name in hopes that it doesn’t seem obvious that their name has escaped us. “Hey guy, it’s been a long time!” He sure remembers me, but for whatever reason I can’t come up with his name and if I try I’m sure I will be wrong. And just as if it couldn’t get more awkward, his wife walks up and calls me by name as well. What did I do to have such an impact on someone’s life that they remember me? And now I have the opportunity to forget two names as they stand there before me. I can’t get my helmet on fast enough.
The standard biker conversation ensues; how’s the ride going, where have you been and where are you heading sort of questions. But the one that caught me off guard was “when did you get a Harley-Davidson?” I’m confused. Most of the people I know are familiar with what I ride so this seemed like an odd question. They were riding a Goldwing so I felt it appropriate to answer their question with a question. “How long have you been riding a Honda?” Now they’re confused. This just became that weird feeling when you get on an elevator and say something to the only other person riding with you and they don’t say anything back. You know they heard you, but…silence. Oh, and there is a gas-pump in the elevator with us.
Well it seems that at this very moment there is someone out there riding a Honda Goldwing that looks just like me and his name is Jeff. They realized their mistake and I’m off the hook trying to remember their names. I do have three new friends out of this, only one of which I haven’t met yet. It’s a small world and I wonder if I will ever run into this guy. And what will he say when I pull my helmet off and he sees himself on a Harley-Davidson? At least I’ll get his name right.