Notes from the Road, 7 of 10

Thursday 8/8/96 4:00 PM PDST
Brea, CA


Brea, CA in the Los Angles area was my destination today and I was in no hurry. I didn't get on the road until 9 AM and when I finally did, I headed west to see if I could find U.S. 1, the Pacific Coast Highway.

The road that goes west out of Santa Maria toward Guadalupe passes through billiard table flat farm land filled with vegetables and migrant workers. They were in the fields harvesting some kind of crop. They were bent down, working fast, and throwing the harvest into some kind of hopper. Oh baby, it looked like hard, hot work. According to some people, those Hispanic workers are putting "real Americans" out of work. Yea sure, we're all just lining up for that kind of back breaking work. Then I thought&emdash;woe&emdash;I can't share that with the list. A sarcastic crack like that is bound to piss someone off. I might get accused of being off topic or too political or whatever.

It seems to me that the reason why we sometimes stray "off topic" is because we don't just bring our love for motorcycling to the table. We are not cardboard cutout motorcyclists. We have depth, texture, personality, opinions, and convictions. When we post to the list, we come as enthusiasts who have been shaped by our culture, families, politics, education, and religion (to list just a few). We simply cannot help being ourselves when we write to the list and I think that's a good thing&emdash;which leads me to another thought.

Just as motorcyclists are not just about motorcycles, so motorcycling is not just about the two wheeled machine. If all we had to talk about was the machine, its performance and function, it might entertain us for a while, but it wouldn't last too long. Fortunately, we do not only talk about the machine itself, but about the people and the places of motorcycling. Now I realize that some threads tend to take on a life of their own which seem to be entirely independent of motorcycling in general and BMW motorcycling in particular and probably should be avoided. However, some of those things are simply motorcyclists sharing a pattern out of the unique fabric of their lives. I've always thought that some threads are transformed into "off topic" not because they have nothing to do with us as BMW motorcyclists but because they create too much heat. That's ok&emdash;I've got no beef about that&emdash;I suppose there needs to be some kind of boundary. After all, there's no reason to afflict the entire list with something that interests only a few. But, when somebody complains about a comment or a paragraph being "off topic," maybe it is not that far off. Maybe it just struck a nerve or on the other hand, struck nothing at all. Perhaps it is just motorcyclists getting caught in the act of being themselves and that's cool.

Terry Turnbeaugh
Aurora, Colorado USA

"The ideas and concepts which best repay critical examination
are those which for the longest period have remained unquestioned."

-adapted from Alfred North Whitehead


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