Friday, February 1, 2008

A Gearhead, I am not.

I don't know anything about cars. At all. Oh, I could change a headlight in any car, or wiper blades on any car, or check the oil or thetire pressure and all that back ten years ago when I worked at Island Park Esso. However, I could no longer do that with any car, what with the computer chips and the engine parts and the difficulties involved. I have to take my own car into the shop to get my headlights replaced. That is because KIA has constructed my car such that a portion of the engine must be removed in order to get to the headlights. Modern convenience, this is! Anyway, the point I am making is that knowing how to change a light bulb and knowing stuff about cars is totally different. In fact, I was fired from that job at Island Park Esso because I wasn't sure which car was a Mustang and which one was a Tempo. They looked pretty similar to me, and they both said Ford. I'm fired! And when it comes to motorcycles, I know even less than I do about cars. I know they have two wheels. Cars have four. Yep.

Which is why I found it odd that Doc and Woody would ever want to send ME to check out the new motorcycle that Gearhead is providing for Toys For Boys. First of all, I was certain that at 6:30, when they sent me off, the store was closed. I mean, it was 6:30 in the morning. Clearly no store is going to be open then, and since I knew they opened at 9:00, there would be no one in to let me poke around. The guys seemed to think that there would be some kind of preparations being made for the day. But that would involve people getting there at what - 8:30? 8:45? It's not like they have to go in and build the motorcycles before the store opens. So there I am, not wanting to leave the car idling for two hours, standing outside Gearhead at 7:00. And how do I describe the motorcycle even if I can see it? Again, I have absolutely no knowledge of these things. "Yep, it has an 8-ball logo. Mmm-hmm. Sure is black. Looks pretty cool, handlbars and engine and everything." That's about all you could have got out of me there.

So now I'm freezing. Standing outside in the cold, waiting for employees who may, (or, more likely, may NOT) show up before our show is finished. And I can't see in anyway. There are blinds. Of course, I heard on the radio some time later that Doc just thought it would be amusing to have me standing outside in the cold. Haven't I already done that? Doesn't this seem pretty old at the moment? Whatever. Finally, Doc tells me to try the door. In fact, as I recall, he suggested that I was an idiot NOT to have tried the door already. Why, because I think that a darkened store room in a clearly empty building will just leave their door unlocked? Because it's National Help Yourself to a Motorcycle day? So I try the door. Go figure, it's locked. Amazing! And then...the alarm goes off. A piercing siren that emanates from inside the building, but still so loud that I can barely here Doc on the phone. Although I could hear just enough to understand that he was calling me a bonehead. Me. A bonehead. For trying to force the door at his insistence. Having called me an idiot for NOT trying the door. If Dr. Phil ever wants to showcase a real psychologically abusive relationship, he needs look no further than the Doc and Woody show in Ottawa.

So now I'm stuck. I can't just take off. I mean, this was on the radio. It's not like anyone will not know it was me who set off the alarm. I thought about calling the security company, but I couldn't figure out the phone number from outside the building. So the only thing left for me was to wait until someone DID show up. I must say, the response time was pretty good. Security was there quickly, and they seemed fairly satisfied with my explanation. After all, I was still there, I wasn't inside the building yet, and the "keyholders" were on the way. The keyholders of course, were the owners of Gearhead, Dan and Mary. Who were very nice about the whole thing. They were a little grumpy, it was a little early for them, but they let me into the store and showed me the motorcycle. And gave me a pamphlet about it, so I would know more. And let me sit on it and rev it up so I could get a feel for the power of the machine.

It turns out that the bike is a Victory Vegas 8-Ball Motorcycle with blacked-out body paint, a blacked-out engine, black-out wheels, and blacked-out bars. The 2008 Vegas 8-Ball™ is ominous in every sense of the word. But along with all its primal appeal, it is packed with an equal amount of raw horsepower and road-ripping performance, in the form of Victory’s own 100-cubic-inch Freedom® V-Twin™. This is what I learned while I was at Gearhead. It is also what I cut-and-pasted from the Victory Motorcycles website. Which is available at one click from the CHEZ website. Which indicates to me that the entire excercise was, well, an excercise in futility. But it was not without a little more drama. While I was revving up this monster of a machine, I was amazed to see the power of the exhaust, as it pushed debris around the floor with the greatest of ease in a swirling maelstrom, and then blew an entire display board right off the wall. With a thundering crash, dozens of bike parts (which I was later told valued a combined...several thousand dollars...) came flying down onto the floor, and scattered about the shop. I quickly shut off the engine, and I was lost for words. How does one apologize for the destruction of the property of a man who I just got out of bed with an alarm?

In the end, Dan and Mary were very nice, and there was little real damage, so they let me get out of there quickly, once we had replaced the pipes on the walls and cleaned up the mess. They left me with a loot bag full of stuff - information on the motorcycle, motorcycle magazines I will likely never read, a keychain and a Gearhead shirt and hat that I am wearing right now. Just as I was getting tired of the Dewalt hat I started wearing at the last Toolfest I did, I now have a new hat I can wear until I get tired of this one. I felt kind of like a poser in the Dewalt hat, since I have very little personal knowledge of tools, or of Dewalt products. People would ask me if I was in construction, or if I was a Matt Kensith fan. Until recently, I had no idea who Matt Kensith was. The idea that I would wear a hat advertising a product simply because I was a fan of the Nascar driver who was sponsored by that product always made me smile. I have no concept of tools, any more than I have a concept of motorcycles, or cars, or by extension, NASCAR. So now I will wear my Gearhead hat proudly for a good long time, once again posing as a man who knows manly things about manly stuff.

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