Born to Be Mildly Reckless While Still Maintaining an Adequate Level of Controlled Boredom

Ah, yes. Spring is here. The weather is warming up, the sun is beaming down. My husband is getting older, his hair grayer (and less hairier). His normal weekend routine of sitting on the couch drinking a beer while watching home improvement shows is becoming boring. This can only mean one thing:

Mid-Life Crisis Time!

Again.

Recently, my husband has flirted with the crazy idea of not only buying a bike (and to my horror, not a Schwinn– but a chopper), but actually riding on one.

I get it, honey. Your life is humdrum. The open road is calling. Adventure awaits just around the bend. Somehow zipping down the highway–exposed to all the elements, the bugs in your teeth, the wind in your hair, the giant tractor trailer trucks blowing you around like a feather– is what people yearn for when their lives become a bit stale. I can only assume risking one’s life tooling down the road just to pick up some deodorant at Walmart must be an exhilarating experience. (Be sure to pick up some Depends too for the ride back when that tractor trailer truck nearly sideswipes you.)

I know why he wants to ride. I once had a dream of becoming a motorcycle mama. I even managed to recruit some of my friends to share in this fantasy. We’d form a motorcycle gang. (Yeah!) We’d leave our lives behind and hit the open road. (Hell, yeah!)  Drive to destinations unknown. (Helllllllls yeah!) and become rebels without a clue! (Uh…what?)  It would be so…Easy Rider-ish.  We could all wear pink leather from head to toe and call ourselves The Pinky Tuscaderos. Or The Leather Tuscaderos. Probably The Pinky Leather Tuscaderos.

The Fonz seems to dig her. Or maybe he’s gesturing for her to jump the shark. Either way, I like her style.

Although, something tells me I’d look more like this:

No matter. I can drive a scooter, right? Sure. A slow-as-death scooter with a basket for my medications and a cool ringie-dingie bell on the handlebars to keep those pesky young whippersnappers at bay, dagnabit.

The only problem is: I am a giant klutz. When it comes to bikes, or any other mode of transportation that requires coordination, balance, and the ability to remain upright, I am a failure. And it’s been a painful lesson to learn.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of my many (many!) past accidents over the years.

1973: Crashed and fell off Big Wheel in front of my laughing brothers while eating peanut butter toast.
Outcome: skinned knees, bruised ego, peanut butter face-plant

1977: Fell and rolled down a hill after attempting ‘Shoot the Duck’ with my 1970s metal-wheeled rainbow roller skates with the bright red pom poms.
Outcome: twisted ankle, ruined skates, lost ability to be ‘funky’ or ‘groovy’ for weeks afterward

1981: Fell off my brother’s skateboard after hitting a bone-shattering 30 mph zipping down ‘Death Hill’ Drive after my friends dared me.  (Plus one of them promised me some of their Pop Rocks if I made it to the bottom of the hill alive, and no kid will resist that prize, am I right, Angie?)
Outcome: skinned knees, twisted ankle, bruised ego, three packages of Pop Rocks

1981: Slid off banana-seat bike while making a sharp corner (and belting out the theme to ‘Gimme a Break’ off-key). Crashed into my brothers and left behind a twisted heap of Schwinn carnage that was the talk of the neighborhood the rest of the summer.
Outcome: road rash on every single part of my body

1981: Fell off my 10-speed while in hot pursuit of older brother after he stole my Big League Chew. Landed in ditch. Survived, only to have my best friend who was following close behind, run completely over my body with her bike.
Outcome: Bruises on every part of my body, kidneys swollen to watermelon-size, still Big League Chew-less

So…notice anything about the above trip down Clumsy Lane? Well, for starters, apparently 1981 was a very bad year for me. Also, I’m no fool. I know the only way I could even attempt riding a bike again, let alone an actual motorcycle, it would have to be along these lines:

Or maybe this:

But I am middle-age. I do crave adventure. I want to get my motor running and head out on the highway looking for adventure and whatever comes my way. Still, I don’t want to end up in the hospital. My husband is actually more of a klutz than I am (on our first date, he fell into a stream while attempting to putt through the big windmill at the mini-golf course) Plus he’s a big guy, 220 pounds, six foot one. I don’t think he’s built to be on a bike.  He’d be too heavy, too tippy.

Of course,  then I realize if he does buy one, he could also purchase a rather snazzy leather jacket and he’d look like this:

So I thought maybe this motorcycle thing could be a good thing. Cool even. Definitely sexy. As long as he stays stationary.

But once he’s actually riding the motorcycle, I know I’ll be at home worried sick because he will end up doing something like this.


Maybe I can convince him to buy one of these instead?

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101 thoughts on “Born to Be Mildly Reckless While Still Maintaining an Adequate Level of Controlled Boredom

      1. I just told Michael @Skooba that you are enjoying your iPad cover. I like mine, too!

        And as the teacher who is fighting to SAVE the hooky-playing FERRIS BUELLER in Clay’s March Movie Madness Contest, um, I’d say that some people know how to work the system to their advantage. I am sure you are one of THOSE kinds of girls. 😉

  1. You were a “spirited” child very in keeping with being a “spirited” blogger. Loved this…the rhythm of the vrooooom, vroooom of words. You are an amazing writer. I must admit…at first I groaned when the wp reader counted 1,000+ words, but then I journeyed with you, laughed out loud and now don’t want to leave. Love the header addition btw.

    1. Ah! Really? 1,000 plus words? I had no idea. I truly thought this was one of my shorter post. haha! And to think I wrote this last night and edited it this morning, cutting out hundreds of other words. I really need to work on that.

      Thank you so much for your comments, Georgette. It means a lot to know you stuck through it and liked it. By the way, I’m currently writing another 1,000 words a day for my book, five days a week is my schedule. Hopefully it will be done by July. I seriously doubt it will see the light of day but I guess I have to admit, if I’m writing this much, I must be a ‘writer’! (why does that feel so strange to say?)

      1. oh no…I’m bad…yours is only 800+ words…I was reading the word count just above yours rather than below…it’s early…and I better wake up if I think I’m teaching today!!! A cup of virtual Joe from your header, please!

  2. Reminds me I forgot to cycle to work today, now it’s sunny and the clocks went forwards and I’ve put a belly back on I need to get back to it, been 6 months since I last cycled to work.

    No excuses tomorrow, thanks for the reminder!

    1. I envy you, Joe, and your ability to remain upright on a bike. I have to resort to using my stupid elliptical machine. I’m surprised I haven’t fallen off of it yet.

      Enjoy your ride and be careful out there!

  3. Learning how to ride a motorcycle has been on my bucket list since an old boyfriend tried to teach me back in my twenties. His bike was way too big for me and I couldn’t keep it upright. My husband, Danny’s friend from work has a 250 and he is going to teach me. Bring it on mid-life crisis!

    BTW- if I had your track record, I would stay off the road… 🙂

    Love your posts!

    1. Well, good luck to you, Susie. As long as you’re not me, you should do very well.

      I once rode on the back of my older brother’s motorcycle when I was about 14. No helmets. He drove like a maniac. Must be why I’m so afraid of bikes? My mother wasn’t too thrilled when we came back home.

  4. Ha! You always give us a chance to start the week with laugh, by writing posts like this one. 🙂 And please let us know, if you could convince your husband to buy a bike like the last one; although the probability of that to happen, is on lower side. 🙂

  5. Better to let him get the bike than a twenty year old. Take it from me. I would rather give him permission and increase his life insurance than to go through the hell I went through last year. Bike good chick bad. Tell him to get a bike with a seat that can handle two. He in the front and you guarding the rear.

  6. For starters, I love the new Header. I’m trying to make a new one (featuring a face!), but it’s really taxing my skills.

    Second, speaking on behalf of the male, closing in on mid-life contingent: Something that shakes up the “beer on the couch” routine can be great if it’s ignites a new interest, really; hopefully it just doesn’t involve maiming himself.

    1. I am thrilled you like it, B-Man, because you have one of the coolest blog sites out there–what with the wisp of stubble and the blog name and the mystery avatar. But I think it would be great if you whipped up a new header with your um…head (your ENTIRE head this time??) This new header of mine was a complete nightmare for me. I had to copy and paste and paste some more, reduce sizes, pick fonts. oh my god just shoot me now!!

  7. OK, call me a coward. I don’t like things of the two wheeled variety, either. Not since my sister Judy, responding to a dare, rode with her eyes closed and me on the back of her bike, down what became known as “Bloody Hill.” Guess whose blood.

    How about a nice red convertible? It did wonders for my husband. In fact, we’re about to sell it …

    1. Oh, I hear ya. I didn’t even mention the biggest bike accident I had. I zipped down our big hill on a banana seat bike…with my little brother perched on top of my handlebars (yeah, we weren’t very good at thinking things through) At the end of the hill, we were going so fast, the bike wobbled and bam! He ended up flying through the air and landing on the road while I ended up flying through the air and landing on him. My poor brother was so beat-up. We were tough in the 70s though, no helmets (also: very, very stupid)

  8. Bikes are a blast! With a couple classes, a helmet and some luck, you guys could be on the road in no time. And it’s not so hard to ride one, although your list makes me quite fearful for you just THINKING about it! 😉 Just tilt in the direction of the bike when turning, HOLD ON TIGHT, and try not to die! See? Nothing to it.

    1. See, ‘just tilt in the direction of the bike when turning’ could go wrong in so many ways for me. Trying not to die is something I’m sure I’d be very good at, however. I think if I ever tried to ride anything, it would have to be a little scooter, a hot pink Vespa. Those look cute and are mostly harmless, right?

  9. Hi,
    After reading your post in-between the smiles, I have come to the conclusion that maybe just maybe bikes are not your style. 😀
    I love the photos, and I especially loved the pink scooter, that is such a good find, and the Fonz years, who didn’t day dream while watching those shows. 😀

  10. You made me laugh (again and again) but I must admit I became a motorcycle mama at 54. The BEST. Of course, there is some freedom in knowing my children are grown and the will has been drawn up 🙂

    1. Bella, I officially bow down at your feet now. You are living the life! You go, girl! Oh, how I wish I could do that. I’ve no doubt the sense of freedom must be thrilling. Hmm… Maybe once my kids are moved out I can throw caution to the wind (and hopefully not get bugs in my teeth in the process)

  11. 1981 – Wow, D-Woww! That was a bad year for you. But then my crack research team (me) looked at it, and it was a tough year all around: The Pope was shot, President Reagan was shot, and Princess Di got married to that bonehead.

    Please don’t let him get the motor-bike. He sounds a bit accident-prone, but it’s all the other guys out there that can hurt you. I agree with the sports car idea, if he must get something fast. Let the kids have dad around till they’re out of college!

    And you’re right, he’s a big guy. I’m 6’1″ almost 190 myself.

    Great post as always. BTW, I love the little inset of you drinking coffee!

    1. Oh, yeah! I remember that was a year chock full of events. Princess Di got married to that bonehead–that made me laugh.

      I really think my husband is ALL talk when it comes to actually buying a bike. He really is more of a klutz than I am. Plus I think he’d be too scared.

  12. Very funny! Worth every bit of the 800+ words.

    Me? Schwinn bike with a hyper-cushioned, middle-aged-looking noseless (that’s what they call it), perpetually in the highest gear (even when I’m starting from zero). It — like myself — is not built for speed or injury (I’m a pain wuss). If I ever got on a motorcycle (again), it would probably look something like this:

    My husband used to road-race in the circuit, you know, on crotch rockets going 150-200 mph. He got rid of all his bikes (thankfully) because (in his words) he “can’t be trusted.” Your husband should also take this very wise advice. And check his life insurance policy for motorcycle exclusions.

    I also love the photo of you sipping coffee in your banner, chick from the way-up-northeast!

    1. OH. my. God. Why didn’t I use Pee Wee’s clip instead? I will have to replace it right now. Way funnier! As a matter of fact, I wish I had Pee Wee’s Schwinn, it was very cool with all the bells and whistles…I will have to dig that movie out today and watch it with the kids again.

      Your husband sounds like he’s tough. A rebel even. Crotch rockets going 200 mph are nothing to sneeze at. But I’m glad he gave it up for your sake.

      1. Hey! Glad I could accommodate. My husband? A rebel? Hardly. Trust me, though, you’re hubby will also fight that masculine need for speed, which is hard-wired in the testosterone that is the building blocks of the huevos attached to the bike seat. Hopefully he won’t look down at his speedo unaware that he’s doing 100 in a 65. Thousands of years of evolution is hard to fight.

        My Schwinn is a lot like Pee-Wee’s, except it’s sky blue, doesn’t have the cool tiger ornament, mirrors, or basket, and no one is plotting to steal it. Too much of the lame factor. But you know what? Lame is how I roll. I take the job of embarrassing my kids very seriously. Maybe I should go for that pink scooter instead…

      2. Hopefully he won’t look down at his speedo unaware that he’s doing 100 in a 65.
        Please tell me you meant speedometer. Otherwise I will have to nix this motorcycle thing in the bud if the official outfit requires wearing leather speedos. Might get kinda uncomfortable.

        And yes, too bad I didn’t have Fran-CIS plotting to steal my bike. I would be such a rebel then. I know you are, but what am I?

  13. Love the title – knew it was going to be a rip roaring funny ride – didn’t know it was going to be on a chopper! LOL. The only dreams I have of myself on a two-wheel road vehicle is a vespa but only if in Europe in an enchanting village full of old castles and narrow alleys. Ahh…vroom!

  14. I cracked up at this trip down memory lane. As an accident prone child of the 70s, it is very comforting to know that somewhere out there was someone spazzier than me! Plus – pop rocks and Pinkie Tuscadero were total faves of mine too. Loved it, Mainiac!

  15. Haha! Reminds me of the death defying adventures I had with a friend in the 70s due to him owning a wicked Evel Knievel trike coupled with the fact that he lived at the top of very steep hill. Who ever had said that Evel Knievel was a bad role model surely had never ridden that bad boy.

    1. Oh, yeah! Needless to say, all of my brothers were obsessed with Evel. I think he managed to break every single bone in his body, right? All at once, most likely? I’ve come pretty close. I broke my pinky toe twice. Once, while playing a game of hide-n-seek while babysitting two kids (I was 21 at the time..ahem…) and the other time when I was rushing around, packing my bags for a trip to the hospital for my son’s emergency surgery (I was 32) So, you see, I am Evel Knievel. I can break bones just walking around.

  16. loved the trip down your lane of accidents, sorry but it was quite fun. As one who was a bit prone to tumbles I felt your pain.

    I love Bikes, the big ones that go PutPutPut, Harleys make my heart beat in time. I come from a family of Bike riders. Love them, want one! I unfortunately made the mistake many years ago of telling my conservative beloved husband I was going to buy one for my 50th birthday, when he got that look on his face….you know that look of horror..I read it wrong. I casually tossed off “that’s ok honey You can Ride *itch”.

    Needless to say I still don’t have my dream bike.

    Thanks for the giggles.

    1. Well, as long as you can relate, you are forgiven for laughing at my clumsiness. 😉

      I love your line, “harleys make my heart beat in time”! I think my heart would burst if I was on a Harley. I would say, once you hit 50, you can damn well do whatever you damn well please, dammit. Get that bike!

  17. I think what you need is a pony. Sure, they bite and crush your toes with their sharp little hooves, but at least they will keep you both off the highways and from sliding under tractor-trailors. A choppy ride, but it will shake up your inner organs, and that’s supposed to be good for your blood flow or something. And you can still wear the leather coats.

    Just Imagine it: You and the Mister. Saturday Night. Pinky’s Soda Shop is hopping with eye-rolling tweenagers. You both trot up on your matching 35 inch-tall Shetlands, snorting and stomping in the parking lot. You dismount, dressed in pink leather chaps and color-coordinated jackets with your new Gang name airbrushed across the backs. You are the envy of every gum-chewing 12 year old spending their babysitting money on strawberry milkshakes…the texts and Twitters fly out, and within half an hour, it’s a Flash Mob scene. You make the evening news. Your kids never speak to you again. The polics revoke your Pony Riding Licenses. Mid-Life Crisis- over.

    1. Hahahaha! You paint quite a tempting picture there, Spectra. Everyone loves a pony. (I didn’t know they bite??) The only issue I would have is the endless amounts of horse poop I’d have to clean up. But the pink leather chaps–woowee! That is high fashion right thar! Yeehaw!

  18. Those are great stories, Darla. 🙂 This line was perfect, “A slow-as-death scooter with a basket for my medications.” Ha! Thank you for the smiles. And I noticed a lot of your “incidents” revolved around sweets. Peanut butter, Pop Rocks, Big League Chew — you know, sugar does strange things to your body, maybe you’re not a klutz after all!

    1. Oh, man. You are right, Melissa. If what you’re saying is sweets are the key to my downfalls in life, well, then, I have lost the will to live. I can’t handle an existence without sugar. I’d rather just continue being the klutz I was born to be.

      1. Now that’s the spirit! 🙂 I’m glad to know you have your priorities in the right order.

        And besides, every now and then these studies appear touting the benefits of chocolate. I’m sure if someone were to take the time, there could be similar findings on all sorts of sweets. Gummy bears? Good for your heart. Taffy? The spine. I bet these findings are out there somewhere.

  19. 1981 WAS a seriously crap year for you, wasn’t it? I was wincing just reading those (and laughing with you)!

    Would your husband settle for a leather jacket and a wind machine? (I reckon with your photog skills, you could get a picture similar to the one of House, and that would be sure to spice things up! Mission accomplished!)

    1. 1981 was very bad. What was worse? 1982. Oh, and 1983. And every year after. I didn’t even mention the time my then-fiance and I zoomed down a huge hill on our rollerblades in 1998 and crash landed on top of each other at the bottom, my rollerblades ruined.

      Y’know..I am in love with your idea. A wind machine! I wonder if I can find an exact replica of House’s jacket on eBay… I’d pay big bucks.

    1. Coming from you, that is a compliment. It was actually your header that inspired me. I was clicking on your blog and thought, damn she looks so cute up there and her blog is always so inviting, so I tried to do the same. of course I had to partially hide my face with my giant plaid coffee mug (I took notes from B-man’s half-a-head mystery gravatar….)

  20. Ha, ha, Darla! Well, you know I’ve got a clumsy side, too, as my earlier post about tripping over my own feet during frisbee gold would admit. Anywho, I actually learned to ride a motorcycle, took the class and everything (barely passed) and got my license. I owned a 1978 Honda 600 for a period of time just before I got pregnant. I was a terrible rider, but I loved being a passenger. I have to say, though, when I’d pull up to work on my bike, I felt so darned cool I could barely stand myself (literally….stand…the…bike…up), LOL! I gave it up to be a stayin’ alive mom; however, some day, I actually envision myself giving it a try once again-perhaps when I’m a little closer to the other side. 😉 Great and hilarious post! Oh, and I loved Big League Chew-yah! XOXO-SWM

    1. Yes, I figured you could relate to this what with your frisbee golf adventure. But if you took a class and got your license, maybe that means even I can someday? (doubtful) And your point about barely standing up your bike…see, that would be me. I’d pull up on my bike, looking all cool. Then I get off the bike and it would tip and end up crushing me into a humiliating heap on the ground. Then I’d have to yell for someone to help me get it off me. Not very cool.

      1. Ha, ha! Yes, I have a couple of “not so cool” stories from my brief riding days…But, I learned a lot about going with my instincts, too, about the type of bike and size, verses letting “guys” tell me what to get and do-let’s just say I was talked into something a bit too heavy and tall for my frame. Duh. Why do we listen to those bumheads? 😉 Darla-there’s always hope!

  21. This was awesome! Big League Chew? Pee-wee? This post had it all and a bag of Pop Rocks, yo.

    I concur — the skinned knee was well worth it if you got three packages of Pop Rocks out of the deal. Maybe you could’ve poured them onto your knee — ooh, ouch, sizzle, snap! Instant Bactine!

    Okay, let’s go back to 1981. Just wondering here. Was it Gimme A Break, the theme song from the show Gimme A Break, OR was it Gimme A Break from the commercial for Kit-Kat bars? Very important detail that I need to know in order to understand why you fell off that bike.

    (Sweet! You are pulling ahead in the jacket contest! No more voting for myself (desperate). I’m throwing all my votes over to you, baby! I’m putting my money on Maine!)

    1. I am shocked, SHOCKED you liked this post, Angie.

      Sure, I thought of you while I wrote it. And yes, I mentioned you by name and linked to your blog. And yes, I purposefully mentioned Gimme a Break and Pop Rocks because I knew you’d ask about it.

      1981–I had a tiny black and white TV up in my bedroom, next to my pink canopy bed. And I believe, it was on Saturday nights when my brothers and I would crowd around it and watch the amazing Nell Carter vacuum up her fish tank in the opening theme. So there I was skidding around the corner on my bike belting: “Gimme a Break I sure deserve it….blah blah blah blah blah blah blah… Gimme a Break I’m lookin’ for it! blahblahblahblahblah For Heaven’s sake! Gimme a piece of cake! sumthin’ sumthin’….GIMME A BREAK!” Then all hell broke loose.

  22. Love the new blog look, willingness to branch out (in multiple areas), run-down of accidents, and Fonz shout-out. You covered everything in this one and have earned either the cocktail of your choice, a week off, or both. =)

    1. I think The Fonz shout-out was my favorite part of this entire post, too. You can’t get any cooler than a 50 year old man who lives above a garage, keeps his office in the men’s bathroom and can turn on the jukebox with a look.

      I think I do deserve a cocktail and the week off. You are so right.

      Speaking of heavy drinking…What did you think of Mad Men? Good lord! That French song is still stuck in my head today. Please, help me!

      1. I am one of the unfortunate few who has had not yet seen the Mad Men season five premiere. Out of town for the first two so my DVR better not decide to have a spontaneous moment of suckiness. Your question, however, makes me insanely curious without spoiling anything, which is awesome!

  23. Pinky Tuscadero!! Pop Rocks!! The Fonz?? Banana seat bikes??

    This post has it all 🙂

    I have no illusions of being ever able to ride a motorcycle but I do ponder on having one of these .. disregard the fact that my house is at the top of a long hill and I’ve never been able to successfully roller blade down it without crashing .. doesn’t this look like fun? – MJ

    1. That does look like fun for you , MJ. For me? I don’t know. I think that contraption has the potential for so many things to go wrong, probably all at once. For one thing, I get motion sickness just riding in the backseat of a car. Wobbling from side to side like that, I’d have to pop a Dramamine. Also–it looks like way too much work. Put a motor on the back and maybe I’d try it…

  24. Training wheels on a motorcycle sounds like an untapped market! It’s the best of both worlds– have your mid-life crisis and stay alive for your post-mid-life-crisis crisis, too! 🙂

  25. I’ve never felt a need for speed. I don’t have a long list of injuries to report because I avoid speed at all costs. I don’t like motorbikes, speedboats, fast elevators, or those walking escalators at airports.

  26. I pulled out my old helmet from my teenage years of motorcycling and it looked if someone had beaten it repeatedly with a hammer. I don’t remember having that many wrecks but the evidence suggests otherwise. Loved the Born to Be Wild reference by the way. It has got to be the song when it comes to letting loose.

    Tim

    1. Good lord, well, for your sake, I sincerely hope your memory is fading because you’re getting older, not from any mild concussions. See, this is another reason why I will tell my husband to just get some rollerblades or a skateboard instead of a bike (although, he’d still need to wear a helmet for sure) Born to Be Wild is definitely The Song for saying, aw, screw it! Live a little!
      Thanks for visiting my blog, Tim, I’m just checking out yours…

  27. When my husband talks about getting a motorcycle in our empty nest years, he envisions one of those 3 wheeled “trikes.” However, that third wheel doesn’t translate well in my mind. I’ve told him I’d be happy with a small convertible as the answer to my mini-van rebellion.

  28. Chef

    Buy the guy a bike. There is nothing in life better than the feeling of riding through the air. My wife loves being a biker mama…

    There are worse things during a midlife crisis than buying a fun hobby, or in my case, a new lifestyle. Just saying…

    Chef

      1. Chef

        His pride will be shattered, and his reputation destroyed forever. For God’s sake, woman, at least get him a Honda Rebel 250. He can recover from the embarrassment of that small bike…He’s rode on a bicycle at some point in his life, right?

        -Chef

      2. Honda Rebel 250? Ok, I’ll consider it. A scooter is a bit too old-lady-ish, I suppose. But what good is a midlife crisis if you’re dead or maimed? (I wasn’t kidding about him being a klutz)

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