Friday, October 30, 2009

A Second Mid-Life Crisis?

A month ago my co-worker Max rode his new (used) MV Agusta Brutale motorcycle to work. Max used to own a motorcycle dealership and this is the second MV in his stable (the other is a F4).
I went out to the parking lot and gazed upon the gorgeous example of Italian engineering art as it stirred a memory from a few years ago.

I took a picture of Max next to his MV and sent it my friends and family:

Max and his latest MV Agusta Brutale

The Brutale Sans Max
Max’s MV Agusta F4
My sister and brother-in-law in California are avid riders and I was quite surprised when I told them about the MV and they told me they are selling their bikes. They then said it breaks their hearts but they are even selling their Canary Yellow 1997 Ducati 748 that has only 1,400 miles on it. They said that they bought the bike just before they started having children and didn’t have time to ride it anymore.
Now I couldn’t believe my ears and told them I would buy the Duc. My sister and brother-in-law were relieved that their prize Ducati would stay in the family and I set about searching for a transport company that would bring the Duc to Connecticut. This is not the type of motorcycle suited for a cross country journey by any stretch of the imagination.

Side view of my new Ducati (in California)

Front view of the Ducati

Rear view of the Ducati

The carbon-fiber tank protector
Monday morning I asked Max how he would transport a motorcycle cross country and he asked “what did you do?...” He laughed and said “you’re such a guinea” which is alright especially since Max is of Italian descent as well. Word spread quickly around the company about my Ducati and one person scoffed that I was having mid-life crisis.
Now I’m not sure about all that. I’ve been riding racing bicycles and driving a two-seat sports car (weather permitting) for years. Sure it’s been a while since I’ve had a motorcycle like this one but is it mid-life crisis?

You see, I’ve always said I had mid-life crisis when I was 33 years old.
When I was 33 I had left engineering and was in sales and doing quite well. I lived alone renting the upstairs of a large two family house very close to the beach in lower Fairfield County Connecticut. I had water-views of Long Island Sound from three rooms and would fall asleep to the sound of the buoy bells.
Then I saw a television commercial for a new type of sports car that was radically different than anything on the road. It was love at first sight and I immediately went to the dealership and ordered a bright red, two seat one, with all the options I wanted. The dealer was slightly surprised when I said I wanted to pay for the car in full on delivery with a cashier’s check.
The day came and I took my little red sports car home. My friends then said:
“What are you doing?! You paid CASH for that car?! Are you crazy?!”
They said that at my age I should be getting married and buying a house with the money.
Now at that time one of the great frustrations in my life was that I hadn’t met the “right girl” yet. I felt I had a lot to offer.
I took care of myself by running daily, going to the gym, racing bicycles, and playing on a couple of highly competitive league softball teams. My job paid me extremely well, I maintained excellent hygiene, volunteered in my community, and was growing intellectually and spiritually and I was personable with a positive attitude. Still I did not meet anyone “special”.
So in response to my friends’ surprise at the blatant example of financial irresponsibility sitting in my driveway I simply explained:
“Look. I could take that money and settle for someone that is not right for me, get married, and get a nice house with a white picket fence. We could have 2.3 kids, stop having sex, and finally get divorced. “

“She’d get the house and I’d move into a two-bedroom apartment by the water, buy a sports car, and date emotionally unavailable women, or… I can do it now while I am young enough to enjoy it!”

To this my friends asked:

“But if you have mid-life crisis now what will you have to look forward to when you’re in your fifties?”

I replied:
“Senility! That’s when I won’t remember anything and will be happy all the time.”OK so now I am in my early fifties and haven’t reached senility and have accepted that I may never achieve that goal. When my life-long friends ask about that, I tell them that my new goal is to become a curmudgeon. I could even see myself as the main character in Disney Pixar’s movie “Up”. I mean really, somebody has to take Andy Rooney’s place on 60-Minutes someday, right?
I do understand that becoming a curmudgeon will not be easy for a person like me and I will have to work very hard at it for many years to be ready when I am in my 80s.
Until then I’ll just bide my time and ride a bright yellow Italian “crotch-rocket” really fast.
I love going fast and still fit into my Vendramini racing boots and black Ducati leathers. I am going to get a new black AGV helmet with a tinted shield and should look like Darth Vader getting on and off that bike.
Am I having another mid-life crisis? I don’t think so.
Well at least I am not trying to date emotionally unavailable women that are too young for me!

Picture of the little red sports car (still have it)