Thursday, October 06, 2011

Unsettling Experience

I had two motorcycles but sold one recently. I serviced it, checked everything, washed and waxed it, replaced the battery and replaced the front tire. The tire had plenty of tread but it's age made me suspect its reliability. I wanted to sell it with confidence that the buyer had a safe, reliable motorcycle.

I listed it on Craigslist with my phone number and received a few bogus emails. Then a young man phoned and asked to see the motorcycle. I agreed to load it on trailer designed to haul a motorcycle and meet him at a convenient location rather than give him directions to my house. This saved time and avoided the dust of the dirt road leading to the house.

When I met him he had a girlfriend with him. As I unloaded the motorcycle he sat in the car for a minute talking with her. His first question concerned me. "It's a five speed right? First gear is down and the others are up?" I answer in the affirmative and then asked him a question, "Do you have a license to operate a motorcycle?" He didn't and I knew I wasn't going to let him take it for a test ride.

We talked for a few minutes and I told him the good and the bad about the motorcycle. After a little discussion he said he had cash with him and would buy it. I agreed with a promise that he would get some safety training.

My next question was "how are you going to get it home?" His girlfriend quickly replied "We'll give you $20 to deliver it." I wasn't interested in the $20 but agreed to follow them to their apartment. As I loaded the motorcycle I heard his girlfriend say "When you ride it down to the DMV to get it licensed don't tell them you rode it there. Tell them a friend did it for you."

When we arrived at their apartment I unloaded the motorcycle, took the license off and put the keys in my pocket. I suggested a time to meet the following day and committed to having the title with my signature and the required notary stamp. I told him I would give him the keys at that time when we exchanged title and cash.

As I drove home I felt unsettled. He appeared to be in his early thirties, an adult, educated, healthy, but I felt somewhat responsible for him. It was an understandable parental reaction but I didn't enjoy it.

The next day we met and he brought up the subject of safety training and reaffirmed his promise to go for training.

In a way it's ironic that I'm concerned for his safety. When I was 19 I bought my first motorcycle. Prior to that time I can remember riding one maybe twice for a very short distance. For some forgotten reason I decided to buy a motorcycle, had a friend take me about 40 miles to another town bought one, got on and rode home. I don't remember being afraid or concerned but I do remember a feeling of exhilaration. My only other memory is my father's anger when he learned what I had done. I wasn't afraid but he was afraid for me.

I survived and, hopefully, learned to ride safely. I hope the young man who bought the motorcycle learns and becomes a safe rider.


Blogger Regenia said...

Being unsettled about a young stranger is not comfortable, but it is considerate and compassionate. Difficult to remember we were that young; without fear and/or caution!

10/06/2011 01:23:00 PM  

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