The Saga of the Night Train
This saga actually began in late August 2004. At that time Trina and I were preparing to send our second daughter to college. There had been some discussion that perhaps it was time for us to get another car. We had one teenage driver and would soon have a second one. Trina was driving a relatively new Chevrolet Suburban and I was driving a 1996 Camaro Z-28. Looking over insurance quotes there was absolutely no way we could afford to let the kids drive the Camaro even if both daughters had a good student discount. Besides, I was a teenager once (Trina argues that I still act like a teenager and that’s not a good thing) and I know what kind of trouble you can get into when you have a car that has a speedometer than goes to 140 miles per hour. I think they put that number on there just to tempt you.
That meant that the kids would drive the Suburban. This was not a situation that either Trina or the girls found particularly appealing. Trina didn’t like the idea of the girls driving around in her leather encrusted, chromed out, cool ride. The girls on the other hand didn’t want to be caught dead driving around in a SMAV*. They therefore determined that the best course of action was to get another car. One that was at the same time safe yet cool enough to be seen in by your friends.
Trina and kids went to Idaho on a college road trip for Mallorie to look over a few college campuses and also for Trina to visit her family. That left me home alone doing the bachelor thing for a couple of weeks. I’d love to have gone on vacation with them but hey it was baseball season and the Arizona Diamondbacks had a home stand and it’s a proven fact that if the Diamondbacks are in town so am I.
Each night I would talk to Trina or Mallorie to see how things were going (there is a valid reason why Trina’s license plate reads “IBLOST”). One evening I was put on speaker phone where Trina, Mallorie and Tiffany proceeded to tell me that they had determined that we really needed another car. Well, not really a car but rather they wanted a small pick-up; a Chevrolet Colorado pickup to be exact. That was what Trina and Tiffany said. Mallorie was hoping for a Toyota Tacoma but had been shot down by the Estrogen majority. The reason they were telling me this was that it was to be my job to find this vehicle.
On television they had all seen an advertisement stating what great deals were available as it was the model end-of-year. According to the commercial this was the absolute best time to buy a car. They then proceeded to give me all the necessary details I would need. I made careful notes that I would take to the dealership to see what I could do.
The next day armed with my illegible notes I headed to the dealership. Stepping foot onto a car dealership lot is equivalent to going deer hunting wearing a deer fur coat. I may as well have had a target attached to my chest. It was like throwing a steer into a tank of piranha. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that analogy now that I think about it.
Suffice it to say that I was not ignored. The salesman inquired whether he could help me. I retrieved my notes and explained that I had been sent on a mission to find a Chevy Colorado pick-up. Based upon the salesman’s reaction you would have thought that I had just suggested that I was interested in purchasing a gold and diamond encrusted hybrid Hummer. He let me know in no uncertain terms that these pick-ups were in very short supply and would be impossible to find anything approaching the configuration I was looking for. In the same breath he stated, “but I can make you a killer deal on a Corvette”.
You know, I have always wanted a Corvette. I immediately began dreaming of being behind the wheel of a Corvette cruising along the boulevard with the stereo blasting and the rumbling of a V-8 echoing through the air. The thoughts of my wife and kids requirements went completely out the window. In fact I am not sure I even remembered that I had a wife and kids. I listened to the salesman as we went through all the features of a Corvette. Yeah this is definitely a good idea I thought to myself.
With this new and better alternative in my mind I rushed home to call Trina and the girls. Ok maybe not rushed but I was pretty excited and I knew they would be too. When I got them on the phone I explained that I had been to the dealership and that there was no way we were going to get a Colorado pick-up they just didn’t exist. I could hear the disappointment in their voices so I sprung the big news on them. “The salesman did say he could make me a killer deal on a Corvette.” The phone went completely silent. I wasn’t exactly expecting to hear a 76-piece brass band but I figured there would be some kind of festive response. I mean how often do you get to break the news to your family that you found a connection that could save you a ton of money on a Corvette? But to get no response at all, that was just inconceivable.
Maybe they didn’t hear me so I thought it best that I repeat myself. When I finished explaining this awesome turn of event I could at least hear breathing on the other end of the phone. Finally Trina spoke, “A Corvette is not very practical.” What kind of response is that? Of course it is practical. I had done some research and the Chevrolet engineers had specifically designed the Corvette so that the trunk could contain two full sets of golf clubs. How could she say it wasn’t practical? She further explained, “It only has two seats. How are we supposed to take the kids places if that car only has two seats?” I didn’t remember even inviting the kids to go but I wasn’t about to say that. And I briefly considered restating that the trunk of the Corvette would hold two full sets of golf clubs and that the kids were roughly the same size as a set of golf clubs but I was pretty sure Trina wasn’t going to buy that argument.
My head and shoulders began to slump as I could not think of a way out of this argument that would get me anywhere near my goal of owning a Corvette. At this moment I was beaten and I knew it. But in my darkest moment I was struck by a bolt of lightning. In her argument Trina uttered these words (and this is the important part so please pay attention), “It would make more sense getting a motorcycle than a Corvette.”
Now let me explain the difference between men and women. A woman would take that sentence to mean that a Corvette is just as stupid as a motorcycle since neither would be a good form of family transportation. A man on the other hand would take that statement to mean, “I won’t let you get a Corvette but I’m ok if you get a motorcycle.” Well alright, that’s what I am talking about! I would never have suggested that I get a motorcycle but Trina just gave me her approval! This was awesome! The conversation ended with Trina explaining that they were on their way home and would be back in the next couple of days.
I really can’t tell you many of the details. My mind was racing. The Corvette fantasies had been replaced with thoughts of leather jackets and roaring engines. The wind blowing as you held onto the handlebars. I had a lot to do.
I immediately went down to Chandler Harley-Davidson and began scoping out bikes. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 12 but all of the bikes I had previously owned were dirt or racing bikes. My mother sold my last bike just before I got married. Her argument was that I would kill myself and she would never get grandchildren if she allowed me to continue riding. I think she might have been exaggerating. The cliff I went off was only 20 feet and that tree broke my fall; besides ribs and shoulders heal and chicks dig scars.
The Harley salesman and I went through every one of the various 2005 models as he explained the benefits of each bike. When we got to the Softails my mind was made up. I fell in love with the 2005 Black Pearl Night Train Softail. It was sinister and was exactly what I thought a bike should be. So the night that Trina arrived home in Arizona was the same night that I bought my first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. After all, I did have her approval right?
As I was signing the papers to make the bike mine I stopped. I began to think of Trina and what she was going to say. I set the pen down and looked across the desk at the salesman. “I can’t do this, my wife would kill me.” I said. The salesman looked at me confused. “If I don’t wear a helmet she would never let me hear the end of it.” The salesman looked somewhat relieved and offered to throw in a helmet with the purchase. Well then I really didn’t see any reason why we shouldn’t complete this deal. I signed the papers and then realized that I had driven a car to the Harley dealership. How was I going to get the bike and the car home? It was decided that I would come back the next day to get the bike but that I would take the helmet home with me. That seemed logical.
As I drove home all I could think about was the bike. As I pulled into the garage and entered the house I could sense Trina was not in a good mood. She wasn’t too happy at the condition I had the house and the kids had gotten on her nerves during the 12 hour drive home. I made a decision that this was probably not the best time for me to tell Trina about the motorcycle. She needed to find her happy place and that place probably didn’t include a motorcycle; at least not yet. Instead I just left the helmet in the car and decided we could talk about it later.
We got busy unpacking Trina’s car and shortly thereafter decided that we needed to get some groceries since I had neglected to do that. We took my car and went to the store. Trina was recounting her trip and I was quietly listening. As we arrived at the grocery store we parked the car and proceeded to get out. Trina happened to look into the back seat and saw a black Harley-Davidson helmet sitting in the back seat. She whirled around to face me and asked, “What is that?” Without missing a beat I nonchalantly said, “You know a funny thing happened. I went down to the Harley-Davidson store. I bought this helmet and the guy threw in a free motorcycle.”
* – Soccer Mom Assault Vehicle