Cold Bones

The high yesterday afternoon was 74 degrees. Right now at 6 a.m. it’s 38, but the weatherman says it feels closer to 30.

“It’s going to be cold on the motorcycle this morning,” I say. “Sure you don’t want to ride the bus to school?”

I’m not sure he answered me with anything but a look. The Fonz does not ride the bus to school.

I can’t remember exactly when or why — that happens a lot these days — but I rode a motorcycle to school during the winter of either my junior or senior year. Maybe it was because I had wrecked a car, or maybe it was because my insurance had gone up after getting a handful of tickets. Whatever the reason, I was on two wheels instead of four that winter. I’m sure I could have ridden the bus too, and I’m sure I didn’t.

And although I can’t remember why, I do remember what freezing air blowing into my helmet felt like as I zipped down NW 10th street on my way to school. I remember sitting in first hour, unable to focus on anything but how cold my thighs were. Under my desk, I would rub them until the feeling came back. My shins were so cold they burned. Even with gloves, my fingers were too cold to hold a pencil.

I remember the morning my friend Louis wrecked his motorcycle on the way to school. Louis was the only other person I knew in tenth grade with a motorcycle, and the two of us rode our motorcycles to school together, side by side, every morning. One cold winter morning, Louis had pulled in front of me when we rode over the 10th street bridge. By the time I topped the bridge, Louis was already down, sliding on his hands and knees toward oncoming traffic while his bike slid the other direction into the ditch. At the bottom of the bridge, Louis had hid a small patch of ice. Louis wrecked and I didn’t only because he was on the left side of the lane and I was on the right. He and his bike were okay and there was no time to go home and change clothes because we cut it close every morning, so off we went to school, him and his bloody palms and me with my frozen thighs.

So that’s our only rule with Mason’s motorcycle — he can’t ride if there’s a possibility of ice on the ground. The Fonz asks what’s the worst that could happen and I remember Louis sliding across the double yellow line on his hands and knees into oncoming traffic.

But there is no ice today. Mason puts a coat on over his hoodie to stay warm while I go out and start my truck a few minutes early to let the heater warm up.

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3 comments to Cold Bones

  • Paul in AZ

    Can’t remember Fonzie ever riding in snow. Just didn’t happen. But anyway. If he survives the winter, it’ll make for a good story someday.

  • Kevin Moon

    Be sure to caution the Fonz to not jump the shark.

  • Zeno

    I used to ride my little 50cc 2 stroke to school in 8th grade. That winter was am exceptionally cold one but I’ll be darned if that little Suzuki of mine didn’t fire up every day.

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