58 Liters

bike deposit

Standing in the scooter rental place in Chiang Mai, my friend was adamant.

“No, we’re not letting you get a scooter.”

“But I’ve ridden one before”

“That’s not the same as driving one.”

“I used to own ATVs and snowmobiles, I’ll be fine.”

“That’s what my girlfriend said last month. Then I was holding her head, making sure her brains stayed inside, followed by weeks in the hospital and surgery. No.”

I left, angrily.

Round the corner, I found an analog bicycle next to a few other scooters. I asked the proprietor if I could rent one. She said no problem, and gave me this receipt as a deposit. I rode my silly bike through town for the next few weeks, basket and all.

A few weeks later, I met a girl outside a cafe who said she was going into the mountains that weekend to visit an old anarchist German friend of hers, who was building his own house. I asked if I could come too. Half way there, we switched, and I finally got some experience driving in the end. Nobody died.

A few months ago, I had dinner with my friend’s ex, miles away, on another continent.

“I’ve not been the same, since the accident. I forget things.”

I barely remember what my bicycle looked like, now, too. But I remember wind in my hair, coming down out of the mountains, and the long, wide Thai highway beneath me.

900 cubic centimeters of raw whining power No outstanding warrants for my arrest Hi diddle dee dee God damn The pirates life for me!

~ The Mountain Goats, Jenny, from All Hail West Texas