|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
Have you ever had virtual strangers just start talking to you about subjects as if you should know all about them? I'm not talking about books or music or movies or the price of gasoline or even the weather, I'm talking about very specific subjects in which they obviously have a personal interest and specialized knowledge; things that they could have no idea that you know anything about. This strange phenomenon happens to me all the time and frankly, it puzzles me.
There are many people who work at the same place I do with whom I have only the slightest contact, sort of a, "Hi, how are you?", in passing relationship. We don't work in the same departments and we rarely see each other. Despite our only cursory knowledge of each other, whenever I find myself in a situation where we are thrown together for more than .02 milliseconds, they start talking about stuff I know very little about as if we have shared a hobby or interest for years.
Case in point, there is a guy who works in maintenance who I only know by sight; in fact, I don't have the slightest idea what his name is, with whom I found myself in an elevator the other day. It turned out to be one of the most bizarre experiences of my entire life. We entered the elevator together and the minute the doors closed he began the following conversation.
"How you doing?" he asked me.
"Good", I replied, "how about you?"
"Well", he answered, "I'll be a lot better when I get that Harley back on the road."
"Oh", I commented, just to be polite, "Is your motorcycle broken?"
"Not for long," he said triumphantly, "I finally got the S&S 4" Bore 113 Evo I ordered weeks ago. I really wanted the S&S ignition Shovelhead but I had to go with the 113 because I needed the compatibility with my 1990."
Now, what I know about motorcycles you could probably engrave on the head of a pin and still have room for the entire menu at your local diner. I don't particularly like them; I find them dirty, noisy, and incredibly dangerous. I've had too many friends either critically injured or killed on them and I wouldn't own one if you gave it to me as a gift. For some odd reason, this guy, who's name I didn't even know, seemed to think that I knew all about them because he kept talking about engines and things as if I belonged to some biker club. I am, if nothing else, a polite person, so I attempted to act like I gave a flying fongule about his 113 Evo or his 1990 whatever.
"Sometimes you just have to go with what works!" I said cheerfully.
"Or you just have to go with what you can afford." He responded miserably. "I would give anything for that Shovelhead."
"Because of the power?" I asked, hoping that power was an issue. It's a pretty safe bet when you are talking with men about cars, so I assumed that the same went for motorcycles.
"That and the bulletproof crankcase." He said.
Bulletproof crankcase? Who was this guy, James Bond? Why did he need a bulletproof crankcase? It's a motorcycle, for goodness sake, if someone is taking shots at you, your crankcase is got to be the least of your problems. I refused to pursue this particular subject...I didn't want to know. He didn't seem to notice, however, because he was off on another tangent.
"Wait until you hear this," he continued, as if I actually cared if I did, "My friend Dan, who builds totally custom bikes has a warehouse, and you'll never guess what's in it."
That was a good bet. I chose not to take the challenge.
"He has a Norton Commando is absolutely primo showroom condition," he proclaimed with wonder, as if this were something that should cause me awe and amazement.
"Wow" I said in response. It seemed sufficient, given that I wouldn't know a Norton Commando from a unicycle.
"There it is," he continued rhapsodically, "sitting there in his warehouse, loaded with everything, and he can't ride it or sell it."
"Jeese, that's too bad." I commiserated. Maybe it didn't have a bulletproof crankcase or something.
"You know how it is," he said sadly, as if I actually did, "he's searched everywhere; every junkyard, every shop, but he keeps coming up empty. He just can't find that gas tank."
Much to my relief, the elevator doors were opening on my floor and I could escape.
"Tell him to try ebay." I said cheerfully as I darted happily off the elevator. "I hear that you can find anything there."
Since this incident, I now dart into corridors and check elevators carefully before going in. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I just can't take another prolonged conversation about motorcycle engines or missing gas tanks. I can't imagine why he thought that I knew anything about motorcycles, but this sort of thing happens to me all the time. It's just weird.
Much to my regret, I occasionally find myself pondering the whole bulletproof crankcase question. It was the only thing about the conversation I found even remotely intriguing. I may have to Google that one.