Over this past Winter, my good friend Dallas told me a mutual acquaintance of ours was getting his own reality show. I nearly pissed my pants laughing. If you haven't seen or heard about Philly Throttle yet, watch it. It is fairly tame and cool if you're a local Philadelphian who likes to see Philly on your TV.
Adam is the star of this newest reality series. I met Adam about 21 years ago; my then roommate Kris, Dallas' ex, set met up on a blind date with him. Did I mention Philly is a super small town? Adam and I didn't exactly hit it off and I ended up mooning over the bassist who was playing in the band we saw that night at The Underground. The Underground used to be (not sure how she is these days) a really awful bar. It was literally underground, had less than 10 chairs, was extremely narrow, and was low ceilinged. Anywho. West Philly in the 90s was a good time to be young and free.
Adam, Dallas, Kris, and Will (aforementioned bassist) and a motley crew hung out, (people with names like Slo and Wrong Way John) worked at, and stored bikes in a sort of collective garage in West Philly. It is where my love of motorcycles began. Will was determined to get me riding and I bought my first bike, a little Suzuki 125, for $100 out of a beauty salon window. That bike took me places; metaphorical and physical alike. I loved that bike. There is a certain freedom from going to be the girl on the back of the bike to being the rider. Slightly heady and powerful, there is nothing like a motorcycle ride to clear your head. You have no choice but to be in the present. Any daydreaming can lead to big issues. Motorcycles and the guys who introduced me to them were and are, live in the moment kind of people.
I moved onto bigger bikes and different choices in my life. "The Lost Boys" of the garage, as Kris named them, remained in stasis. They were all about 10 years older than I was but chronological age doesn't count for much in their world. Since the late 90s I have had several different careers, got married to a stable, mostly mature man, gave birth to four daughters, lost a mother, and in general, pretty much "grew up."
About 2 months ago, my past and my present came close together. Will and I had stayed in touch strictly via email and Facebook. He knew I was looking to ride again (I had been a pretty bad accident in 1995 and sold the wrecked Honda CM400 to Adam) and he told me about a bike he had seen for sale. It was a 1982 Kawasaki 440 KZ. It was $300. It was perfect and I was ready to be back on the road. Over those weeks of buying it and having Will get it road ready, he and I got to hang out. He has not changed since 1995. Frozen in time, going nowhere. Should I be describing someone who helped me out in a more positive light? Am I an ungrateful bitch? Yes and no. In the end of the deal, he tried to pull a fast one and I balked. I ended up with the bike and a legit, local mechanic. Having to deal with Will for those 6 weeks I saw what my future could have been and I didn't like it.
Seeing Adam on TV last night was like having an out of body experience. I guess it is always a little weird when you see someone you know on TV but the unsettling part was how much Adam hasn't changed. Like Will, he seems to be still living hand to mouth in a fantasy world of Neverneverland. These people, who I thought were in my past, popping up in my very different present has provoked some good memories and some not so good memories. Another friend of mine from the Wild West Philly Days, who is married and blogs and has some children like mine wrote about the experience that is Adam as well. You can read her story HERE. (fyi, Chris is another guy I went out with, but he was a class act.) Jo seems firmly in her present, even while still tending bar at "The Glinch", as she did in her past.
I feel a lot more removed from those days. Time? Moving away from the City? Different priorities? I don't have a good answer. The reality of it all is, I had a good time, I did some truly dangerous (and fun) things, I got out alive and mostly unscathed, I don't regret a second of it, but I am glad where my reality is now. I don't see my bike as a mid-life crisis cry-for-help. It is the way I am able to still connect with "fun Jenn" and still be "grown up Jenn". Seeing people from my past, in real life and on cable TV, lately, has put quite a bit in perspective. I had been pining for those days: I was young, cute, thin, responsibility free. Seeing what the end result of had I continued down the past's future path makes my present all that more a gift.