When I was younger (before bikes), people and small dogs would cross to the other side of the street to avoid walking past me. At first I thought it was my cologne, but soon realised that couldn’t be it… I wasn’t wearing any.
Maybe it was my hair cut. Flat tops were all the go back in the day you know.
Thinking back, I can understand how seeing a tall, heavy-set bloke that doesn’t smile (much) coming towards you, might make some people a bit uneasy.
At times, how I looked was a downright hindrance. It took me ages to get close to The Pillion, let alone talk to her.
Once we started to talk though, she must have seen qualities in me that few people dug deep enough to find, and I love her for that.
At other times though, that hard look had its advantages.
There was this one time I was driving home from Penrith. A blue Holden Kingswood, like the one in the photo, was following me. The driver decided tailgating me would be fun, and his two mates thought yelling at me out the window was acceptable behavior.
They were trying really hard to get me to pull over. That was never going to happen, and I managed to shake the Kingswood and it’s occupants a few streets from home.
I thought all was roses as I pulled into my driveway and was still sitting in my car wondering what had just happened, when the Kingswood pulled up outside my house.
The three stooges all got out of their car and started shouting and carrying on like wankers*. I didn’t know them, I’d never seen them around before and I had no idea why they had singled me out. Which was unusual because at that time I was involved with the drag racing scene out at Castlereagh drags, and knew most of the modified cars in the area.
I opened the door and stepped out of my car. I stood looking at them for a minute considering my options, finally deciding bluffing was going to be my best defence.
I took a deep breath and steeled myself before moving towards the back of my car to discuss the matter at a safe distance.
After a heated exchange and some sabre rattling on my part, the bluff worked. They reconsidered their surroundings, and did the bolt.
Just as well too, because I don’t think the odds were in my favour, and I was pack’n it*!
If you’re reading this blog you have an intrest in motorcycles or maybe some counter culture, and in your travels you would have met people who look and/ or act differently.
Anything from Harley riding blokes with long hair, beards and tattoos, to Dainese wearing sport bike riders, to colour coordinated touring couples with the mandatory trailer in tow behind their GoldWing , to scooter riders with tattoos and beards… well maybe sipping a latte at least.
Can you see what I’ve done here?
You and I know that how someone looks or what they ride, has nothing to do with who they are as a person. Sure, some of us can be a bit more boisterous than others.
Some of us can be quiet. Guarded even.
Too many people don’t take the time to talk to someone, get to know them, see what makes them tick.
Not so long ago a work mate confided that when he started with the company, he’d spied a big bloke on a bike complete with close cut hair and beard turn up. He immediately shoe-horned the big bloke into what he thought was the right pigeon-hole.
It turned out, that big bloke was nothing like what he’d thought, and now they are good friends.
How many times have you heard something like this:
“Oh-My-God look at the Tatts and piercings on that lady! She must be on something.”
“That bloke has a gammy* leg, better not talk to him it might be leprosy.”
Those people are still pink in the middle, and bleed red just like the rest of us.
Who cares if they are black, white, have a disability, wear their pants backwards, or are from Mars?
So what if they’re different?
I met a bloke at a pub once. He was siting a the bar and was sluring his words. All the locals were giving him a wide berth, he wasn’t a local and they thought he was drunk.
I wandered over and struck up a conversation with him.
He was sober as a judge and had been drinking non alcoholic ginger beer all afternoon.
We talked for 2-1/2 hours.
It turned out that this bloke was a shearer on his way to his next job. The slur was caused by a stroke he’d when he was 43.
If I’d have been like all the locals at the pub, I’d have missed out on some great company and a good yarn*.
Frankly, I’m old enough now to have moved beyond what people think of me. As a result I tend to take people as they are, and I hope that they would be the same with me.
I’m a firm believer in calling it like it is, most people respect that; There’s no point in saying something if you don’t believe in it.
Know what I mean?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, people are what they are, look how they look and there is nothing you can do to change that.
What we can change, is our prejudice towards them.
- Wanker: A contemptible person
- Pack’n it: Scared. As in “He was packing death (or shit to use the Australian Vernacular)”
- Gammy: Unable to function normally
- Good yarn: Good chat