Soapbox climb

Rick Ryckeley's picture

The fourth weekend in June is upon us, and it’s long overdue. Because I’ve been recovering from shoulder surgery, I haven’t been able to climb up on my soapbox this entire year. Five months and 30 trips to physical therapy later, I’ve been rebuilt. Better than ever. Now, perched atop my soapbox once again, my arms are flailing and my back is arched.

There’s a future organ donor racing around the streets of our fair county. I aim to put a stop to him.

My friends in the blue and brown uniforms, please take note. This guy is a menace. Some out people there think traffic laws are more of an inconvenience than actually law. Until the day I die, I will go the posted speed limit. I figure it’s the fastest speed one can travel on any chosen road safely. Besides it’s the law.

If I’m not going fast enough for you, don’t ride my bumper, honk your horn, or pound your steering wheel. I’m not going faster than 45 mph on Ga. Highway 74, 55 through Atlanta, and 35 on Rockaway Road. Deal with it.

Told you I was on my soap box. Now back to the story. My first encounter with this brain-dead individual was two weeks ago on Hwy. 74, just outside Peachtree City. Snaking in and out of lanes, cutting off cars with mere inches to spare, the motorcycle whizzed passed me in a gray and black blur. Its driver was outfitted with a gray helmet, muscle tank top, short pants, and flip-flops.

Yes, I kid you not. The future organ donor was wearing flip-flops. Flip-flops are dangerous – everyone knows that. I don’t even wear them when I walk, much less when I drive. One blowout or a rock scooped up under a heel, you’re on the ground. And that’s just walking. What kind of foot protection does the motorcyclist think he’d get from a flip-flop vs. an eighteen-wheeler?

I guess surviving a crash hasn’t entered the young man’s mind. Everyone knows anyone under 25 is indestructible. If you don’t believe me, just ask one of them. Besides, as fast as he’s driving in and out of traffic, if he crashes, it’ll be a week before anyone can locate where he’s landed.

Now mind you, I’m not against anyone owning one of those two-wheeled coffins. In my younger days, I actually had one myself. While attending Auburn, I thought it would be cool to drive a motorcycle down to Panama City Beach. I wore a helmet, tank top and – you guessed it – flip-flops. The difference between me and the future organ donor speeding around town was that I obeyed all traffic laws.

Just outside Panama City, it started to rain. A little storm called Hugo was coming. I slowed down to 5 mph and pulled off the road. I hit the crushed seashells shoulder and crashed. The low-speed crash did $800 damage to the motorcycle and $300 damage to me. After the repairs, I careful drove back to Auburn and sold the bike. I haven’t been on one since.

I actually have great respect for anyone who rides motorcycles and obeys the traffic laws. When it rains, it feels like your body is being pelted with 1,000 needles. Bugs either go down your throat or get lodged between your teeth. It’s freezing cold during the winter and unbelievably hot in the summer if you stop.

Maybe that’s why the same guy passed me doing a wheelie up Ga. Highway 279 last week. He wasn’t driving recklessly and he wasn’t speeding. It was 95 degrees out, and the poor guy was just trying to cool off. Or the guy is a menace.

Either way, the way he’s driving, it won’t be long before he crashes. I just hope he doesn’t take someone else out when he goes flying through the air.

Now that I’m through with my rant, can someone help me get down from my soapbox? With all of this arm-flailing and back-arching, I think I pulled something.

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