Warning! If you are too sensitive, this is the time to switch to the Walt Disney web site. Other wise, the following language may offend some of you.
A story about a lion and a pig:
Years ago, while on a safari in Zambia, Africa, a wussy lion jumped in my way and chased me for while until he was satisfied that he had made it clear that I was invading his territory and it was not appreciated. He chased me until I was far enough away that it was clearly his “town” again. He even made some ferocious sounds on the video camera just to emphasize his displeasure and to ensure that I would tell others, so that they too would heed his warning and stay out of his territory! Today, while in Wisconsin, U.S, a pig jumped in my way, chased me for a while, made a few “ferocious sounds but unlike the wussy lion, didn’t have the “sophistication” to stop even after I gave him his territory back. He was still not satisfied. And this is the story:
After an early wake up to do a radio interview, two Tylenols (you never know) and fast packing, I am on the road again. It is a beautiful day. Weather that was created for riding and you can see many bikers on the road. I am happy because I am ahead of schedule and I have time to ride quietly and don’t have to be in Chicago before the evening. In my head I am already thinking about my daily update and what can I write on this lovely ride. About an hour later, traffic is a bit busier and I am in the right lane taking my time. On the shoulder, I notice a blue civilian police car with the light flashing. About a minute later, I see another one, only this time it is red. I check my speedometer to be to be on the safe side and I confirm that I am riding 69.5 miles an hours (GPS and speedometer are consistent in their readings). I decide that I have nothing to worry about. After all, riding 4.5 miles an hour faster than the speed limit shouldn’t cause an issue. 3-4 minutes later, two trucks and one car pass me. I am slowing down because I am listening to Speedy Gonzales and the volume is too low because of the wind noise. Suddenly, I hear a siren behind me, which alerts me because a second ago, while checking the mirror it wasn’t there. I see the red car behind me. I try to move closer to the shoulder to let him pass but he is not passing. I am moving to the shoulder, he stops behind me. I am sure now that I am about to be scolded for driving too slowly on the highway which is why I am being stopped. I am taking off the helmet and from the car steps out a “son of something”. You can see that he’s had more that one too many donuts, and gives me his best “Charles Bronson” look (from Chuck's worst movie). Wow, I am so impressed. In Wisconsin, not like in Canada, only the wussy cops bother to be polite. On the other hand, the cops in Canada actually know how to read. So, he doesn’t wait too long before launching into...“you were flying.” I am in shock. A break: my better half, god bless her, likes and respects cops. On the other hand, she was with me in the car when I was caught speeding and I gave the license to the cop and before he could say anything, I smiled politely and said, “you got me”. She didn’t understand why I was taking it so easy. The way I see it, if I do wrong and get caught then I deserve it. I never argue with a policeman. Now, back to the story – I KNOW I wasn’t speeding this time. I that moment I was in such a state of dumbfounded shock that all I could do is stare at him. And, he clearly didn’t like it. It is also obvious that he isn’t used to it because you can see that, apart from his mother, no-one ever thought he deserved “a look.” He says to me,” you were driving 92.5 m/h. It’s a citation. Give me your driver license”. Even in some third world countries, they’ve already adopted the use of the word “please”. But, in Wisconsin, it is not part of the police protocol. Out of shock and confusion, I give him the insurance and registration. Now he thinks I’ve insulted him. I understand I’ve made a huge mistake. Can you believe it? I dared to give him the registration and insurance instead of the driving license. Now, this behemoth who has been spawned from a very shallow “gene pool”, tells me that I am going to jail! Me and Osama in the same cell. It becomes clear to me. After failing to apprehend both Osama and Sadam, Bush must have given the “forces” an order to “get him someone for heavens sake”. I was there. I understand why they’ve increased the security alert from Orange to Red. The notorious Rami is in town! I am not sure if I should laugh or cry. Maybe there is a candid camera somewhere? I am sure that any minute he is going to say “Smile….” Alas, he says nothing. I am on the road that leads to Al Capone’s city. History repeats itself. We got him! I start to think “Johnny Cochran? The dream team?” He checks, maybe I have weapon. Hey stupid, if you were smarter you would have felt that I had a tape recorder in my jacket pocket. It could have been a gun dummy! But I guess this one took a special course. Finally, I decide to ask him something. And here it comes, “I dared to ask how exactly he came to the conclusion that I was speeding.” Well folks, I will have to find out in court. It remains a mystery to me. You see, I do have a radar detector and a GPS that indicate I was NOT speeding. And as far as I know, isn’t he required to tell me how he arrived at the speed or show me what I clocked? But what do I know??? It seems I really pushed his patience with my “silly” questions. Well, to make a long story short, I was offered to option of bailing myself out of the situation for $262.40 paid to him, cash. Huh? You heard it, cash. I really wanted to ask if it included a round with his ugly wife but thought better of it. I don’t like the cash part and here comes my next big mistake, I asked him if I could get a receipt. I could have probably said something stupider or more unreasonable, but I can’t think what it could possibly be. Did you ever see an angry pig? So, I said I don’t have cash. Like it really matters (obviously he wasn’t the only stupid one there). Well, he informs me that he takes Visa and Master Card, how evolved! But not including the tip (I guess he pays low commissions to the credit card company). He goes back to his car and works really hard to make sense of all these funny little shapes we call ‘letters’. I try to sneak some pictures. Osama, sorry, I will see you some other time.
Now I know some of you are saying “sure, he really didn’t drive fast…always blaming someone else. Why does a cop want to give a ticket for no reason? So, for those of you who don’t believe me– kiss my very sore behind.
Well, this is the end of Wisconsin. There are some cops in Edmonton I don’t like. But no one outdoes this guy.
Pay attention to the picture of the ticket and the bail release. Did you notice the ‘race’ part? I am white. God forbid if I was black. THE CHAIR!!!
This page is dedicated to G Y REIDEL. I hope whenever your sister’s friends try to look for you on the internet, they will find this page. If you don’t like it? SUE ME!
I know what deer are doing at night – they play tag with raccoons on the highway.
Raccoons – 2. Deer - 3.
Wisconsin is actually quite nice. Officer Reidel made it somewhat unpleasant but not altogether ruined. An hour passed and I began to celebrate freedom. After all, we criminals know how to appreciate freedom. As Willie says, “I’m on the road again” and it is sunny and once again all around me I see those “busy cows”. Remember the lazy bovines from day one? Well no doubt those ones are already literally under the microscope at some Canadian “forensics” lab to determine if there was ever a chance they may have passed along “spongy brain disease” (I still can’t say it) to unsuspecting humans. On the other hand, Wisconsin is well known for its cheese! Remember the story about Reidel and the mystery of his amazing ability to know I was speeding in the absence of having any technology? I just realized who the snitches are….it’s the cows!!! A pox on you cows… I will see you all in Safeway packaged as Porterhouse.
Chicago is getting closer (sticky) and the traffic is getting heavier. Next, the toll roads appear. If there is one thing that can drive motorcyclists crazy (apart from Reidel?) it’s the toll roads. Especially, on a long weekend in the U.S when everyone is going somewhere. It is Memorial Day and what better way to memorialize than at a lake with a BBQ? I drive along innocently, within the speed limit and having never lived here, I am totally unprepared as the traffic moves steadily along and then …BAM … a sign…….Toll Road!!!! Aaagggghh. Throughout my entire 40+ years on this earth, I’ve never carried more than 30 cents in my pocket. But hey, for the toll road? Sure! As a matter of fact, just before leaving home, my wife and I went over the “check-list.” “Underwear?” “Check!” “Shirts?” “Check!” “First aid kit?” “Check!” “30 cents for Chicago’s toll road (IN AMERICAN COINS)?” nothing “30 CENTS FOR CHICAGO’S TOLL ROAD IN AMERICAN COINS!!!?????” F**##$$$!!!@, I knew I forgot something. I quickly cut across lanes and reach the right shoulder of the road. I put the bike on the stand. I dig in my pockets and believe it or not god is with me – I have 30 cents! Now, this is tricky. I have on riding gloves and my hands are on the handle bars. The handle bar is on the bike which, is on the road (legal speed of course…). So where are the coins? I get to the toll booth with the coins between my lips! What a mistake. No, I did not swallow them although I thought about it. Instead, I get to the booth and lift my helmet cover to put the coins in my hand. On both hands of the toll booth operator are surgical gloves (I shudder to think what her second job could be). She reaches out her hand to take the coins and….. freezes. On her face is a look that would wither an oak tree! Reidel – I just met your third grade teacher and I am so sorry. I understand everything now. She closes the gate and lifts a switch saying the gate is closed!! Behind me several dozen drivers are quickly running the odds of when they would be eligible for parole for running over a bike bearing a Canadian flag. I don’t like my odds. The operator is digging around for something. She finds a special pink envelope that looks like a simple one to me. But, this is not the case. This is a special pink envelope for coins that have touched someone’s lips! I have to put the coins in the envelope without touching anything by mistake. I can’t do this fast enough. I don’t know why but I do not feel very welcome here. I want my mommmmmmy! But, most stories have good ending. I am trying to ride as fast as possible to avoid blatant looks of fury and hatred spewing from the faces of the drivers. Did I say ‘most stories’? Unfortunately, this means not all stories have a good ending. 10 minutes later, you guessed it…a sign…. “Toll Road!!!!!!!! 30 cents!!!!!.”
They could have just told me that they don’t want me here or put up a sign..Rami go home. But instead, the sadistic bastards had to torture me. So, to all those traveling to Chicago and who are unaware of the dangers, please take heed! As you close in on the entrance to Chicago, you must have 30 U.S cents for the toll roads every 15 miles (price subject to change without notice). As you can see – I am optimistic.
I am neither referring to those at hockey games nor those in the ocean. This is the language of motorcyclists: When approaching a rider moving in the opposite direction, remove your left hand from the clutch handle and bless your opponent with your hand while nodding ‘hi’. You think it is simple? Ha, not at all ladies and gentlemen not at all. Serious riders invest years perfecting their own unique wave style. It is a unique identifier like a word-mark, trademark, logo, and brand. Many times, while riding, I think of writing a book one day about “waving” or ‘the wisdom of reading the rider’s wave’ or, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle waving”. In Canada, there is no problem. Almost everybody waves. After all in Canada everybody is nice. But as you ride south of the border, usually around northern California, occasionally, you find yourself receiving the obligatory look of “who the f* are you? You think we’re friends or something?” Immediately, in what seems to be in slow motion so as not to look obvious and preserve some dignity, you move your hand in a backward manner that suggests that you are just brushing your hair (shit, I just forgot that I have a helmet on!). You try to give a look that says “I am not one of those sissy riders who wave hello”. On the other hand, in the west, they keep the tradition. It is truly amazing the number of waves and the rider’s creativity. There are those who wave in a wide friendly way as though they are signally from across the prairies. Those are usually the more experience people sporting some gray hair and sun spots. The next type is the conservative or moderate ones. These ones keep their elbows in place and only pivot the forearm upward (sort of looks like a wonky salute). Next are the tough guys. These are the road kings. While keeping the hands on the throttle, they stretch two fingers toward the heavens, leave them like this for a second or two and then in a sharp motion, turn those fingers toward you. There are those who point to the road on their left in an, “oh, so cool” way that suggests perpetual boredom. Then there are the Fonzies and their friends. I can’t describe them all because I won’t have anything left to write in my guide later. Me? I’ve decide to be original. In recent days, (after long negotiations with the original owner), I have adopted the wave of our dearest Queen Elizabeth II. The one to which I swear loyalty and pledge allegiance. May she enjoy a long life. I’m sure you can picture this; my elbow is about 20 cm away from where I was connected to my mother, the hand extends upward, the palm of my hand is turned slightly inward, two fingers (pointer and index) and the thumb are extended upward while the ring finger and pinky are slightly relaxed. Pivot the hand slightly and gently in a slow aristocratic motion 30 degrees right and left. For those of you who still do not posses a strong opinion of me, how can I say it gently? You don’t really want me riding beside you.
Is this it?
I arrived. I am in Chicago. My GPS is leading me safely down one street after another and straight to the target – Shoshana’s place. Shoshana is the Director of the ICRF in Chicago. I am moving forward and suddenly – I am at Golda Meier Blvd. Is it possible that I am in a Jewish area? 30 seconds later and I notice an orthodox Jew wailing on the street. I find Shoshana’s place and, God help me! I am in the heart of my historical roots! It feels like 70 years ago in the middle of Europe in a Jewish village. The year is probably 1925. Jewish families dressed in their best clothes, walking slowly down the streets, blessing each other with Shabbat Shalom, Git Shabes and other sayings. I am shivering and I break out in a cold sweat on my forehead. Is it possible? Me with my ancestors who helped build Kibbutz’s that produce BACON in Israel, now find myself in the heart of the Jewish village? What is worse is that it is Saturday today, the Jewish Shabbat and people are coming and going to synagogues carrying the traditional Talit (prayer shawl) and I am on a motorcycle in-front of her house! Hesitating, I carefully push the door bell and no response. So, I call her on the phone, no answer. I leave a message and think – hey, if I move fast I can run away now. Alas, she is home, with her son, grandson and her son’s friend.
We sit around a table and start talking. The truth is that at the beginning, I’m not sure what I can possibly talk to her about, this traditional Jewish woman. I am not orthodox to say the least. I was invited to stay in her home and Jewish orthodoxy’s ‘regulations’ are foreign to me. I make mistakes and don’t realize it until afterward (using electricity on Shabbat is just one such example). But Shoshanna does not force her beliefs on me.
I will not go into all of it as some of you are not familiar with the culture and may get the wrong impression. What I will say, is that to the non-religious Jews, the orthodox world is often unknown and dark. I am ashamed that it has taken me so many years to meet this world and see it without the darkness. I’ve met fine people who I already miss and I am ashamed of my ignorance. I spent 3 great days here. I had good time. The rest I will write tomorrow.