30 November, 2005 Temperature: 16 degrees F
Well, now I’ve done it. I’ve let the Whole World in on our little secret.
Last night at quarter-to-five, I gave a radio interview to the honorable Joe Soucheray, Mayor of Garage Logic, sometimes known as the Flashlight King. If you have read previous entries in this blog, you will know that Joe is one of my all-time heroes. An “Ink-Stained Wretch” of the old school in newspaper reporting, he was somehow coerced into the sordid world of talk radio. But his show is different; like a breath of fresh air after the stench of Rush Limbaugh’s arrogant verbal flatulence.
Joe’s columns in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press have always amazed me with their unassailable common sense and elegant turn of phrase. He is one of the influences I followed in my own humble career as a moto-journalist. Reading his stuff, one is amazed by the simplicity of the language he uses to describe and dissect the critical issues of the day. Callers to his radio show bring seemingly complex problems to his attention, and he calmly and easily dispatches them with a simple, common sense remedy, every single time.
All hail the Flashlight King, for his brilliant illumination of the solutions to our dark dilemmas!
This is how it went down, as they say…
Garage Logic producer Kelly Lynn had emailed me and told me to expect their call. At 4:43, Kelly called me and said that Joe would be speaking to me shortly. My pulse was racing, but I tried to maintain an outward calm. It worked, to a point. Everyone I know who listened to the show told me that I sounded reasonably lucid, even semi-intelligent. This is interesting, since every organic process in my body at that time was going haywire. I think this is what Hunter Thompson used to call The Fear.
Ever the good Marine, I persevered, and I would like to think we provided quality entertainment to KSTP’s evening drive-time audience. I felt utterly spent after our brief talk, until I realized that I still had another four hours of night school to contend with before I could ride home.
Captain Cognizance to the rescue again?
We made it home over hazardous terrain by ten o’clock, but it took me over an hour to wind-down and go to sleep. Wife Amy and I watched something on television for that hour, but I couldn’t tell you what it was. At five in the morning, my alarm went off, and I smacked the clock until it stopped screeching at me. Time to brew the coffee….
At quarter-to-six, a delightful lady named Darcy Dunston called us from FM107, which is the FM affiliate to 1500 KSTP. This too was planned. She produces a weekday radio show with Ian and Margery Punnett called “Balanced Breakfast”. This is a show that Amy has listened to for as long as it has been broadcast, and I have enjoyed the brief snippets I have heard as well. The one thing that sticks in my head many mornings as I leave home is their “Happy Boy” jingle.
Oh man, talk about your mind-limpet! It goes like this:
“I was walkin’ down the street on a sunny day…
A feelin’ in my bones said I had my way.
I’m a Happy Boy!
Oh I’m a Happy Boy!
Ain’t it great when things are goin’ your way, hey hey?”
This goes on and on with a simple melody, and sticks on your brain like a leech. It echoes inside my helmet whenever I am feeling carefree and happy about my commute. This is probably a Bad Thing, but I can’t help myself. I mean, I need to concentrate out here! What the heck am I doing bopping along to this silly tune?
Anyway, they asked me the all-important question pertaining to this enterprise:
Or, more precisely…
Why are you doing this on a scooter?
Well, I told them: “Ian, I have ridden just about everything else, and I’ve written about riding everything else. Starting with Harleys, going to road-racing Ducatis, and dirt-bikes with my KLR… This is just the next logical step in a downward progression.”
Margery asked me: “ Yeah, but in winter?”
So I answered, “ Well, what challenge is it to ride a scooter through the summer?”
We talked and laughed a bit more after that. These are pleasant people; the kind of folks you would like to invite over for a barbeque or patio party. But they have a kind of horsepower that I never expected: They introduced me to Jessica Miles.
Jessica is a high-powered tele-journalist, (is that the proper term?) who does human-interest stories on the channel 5 morning news. She wants to film the Baron and I on our way to work and do an interview for the news. I’m all for that. But I think she wants to wait until we have heavy snowfall so I can be seen struggling against the elements. I appreciate that. Let’s do it!
An hour after I got to work, I received an email from Matt Chapman, the Executive Producer of WCCO channel 4 news. You know what? When I originally planned this project, I asked my friend Brad Kopp, who is a videographer for WCCO, if they would be interested in doing a story on this. He said yes, but he would have to talk to his “people”, higher up. So, now I have interest from KSTP, and their rival station WCCO. What can I do?
“Go with the flow.” –says my newfound zen mentality. “Whenever these folks want to do a story, I should be ready. I will adjust my life around their schedules.”
Sure. Why not? This isn’t the time for a Marlon Brando attitude play. This is time for me to represent riders everywhere, and try to present an intelligent rationale for what seems like a crazy endeavor. Look at all the responses to this blog. I’m not the only one riding on two wheels through the winter.
We love this stuff. We live for this stuff.
Why not tell the world?