I am the fortunate person who enjoys his work. As a result, I don’t skip out on work much. I don’t take sick days. I rarely take my day off. I have a difficult time leaving early, especially if the shop is busy.
Today, however, I decided that I’d like to take a mid-day ride. Wednesdays I work at the Romence shop, so I plotted a crude approximation of a route, took a bike to work and made sure everyone knew that I was going to take off for a couple of hours. And 100% against tradition, I actually did it.
I headed west, straight into the wind. West on Romence. North on Angling. West on Milham. Then, right before the traffic circle at Texas/Milham/12th, a silver Porsche 911 SC passed me and immediately executed a perfect 3-2 downshift in anticipation of the traffic circle. I try not to be profane on this public, professional website, but the words that exited my mouth were these: Fuck. Yes.
Fire up the time machine to May of 1992.
I’d just come back to the United State from a job in Helsinki, Finland. My pockets were moderately full and I was quite young, so I purchased two things: an engagement ring and a 1978 Porsche 911 SC, black on black with almost no options. I spent an enormous amount of time and money turning this nearly perfect car into a slightly different nearly perfect car. It was a little bit dumb, but pretty fun.
Short years later, my wife and I had moved to Kalamazoo. We were staying at a cottage in South Haven with my parents, who’d come up to visit. I had taken off work, but my wife was unable, so she commuted each day to Kalamazoo. On the evening in question, my dad had a nine iron in the yard of the cottage, hitting practice golf balls to my dog, who could not have been more happy to pluck the plastic treats out of the air.
Then my wife came home from work in my 911. You could hear the engine whine from a few blocks away, a fantastic sound in and of itself, and then she executed a perfect three-two downshift that nearly stopped my heart. I remember it like it was yesterday.
And this is what triggered my profane utterance when the silver car passed me today: memories of my dad, of my excellent dog Sherman, of a warm summer day on Lake Michigan, of my young wife who knew how to drive a difficult car, of the fantastic smell of burned oil and cigarettes, of fate, of youth and the future.
I traded the 911 for a racing motorcycle and an industrial strength TIG welder, both of which are long gone. I regret everything and nothing at the same time.