This is the last Murray Cycle Diary for the summer, I promise:
You depart on a motorcycle trip knowing that your soft, sensitive face is going to collide with about two dozen bugs per thousand miles. (I've counted, and averaged.)
Especially in the midwest, these are less insects than flying peach pits, which feel angrily hurled at your cheek or nose or upper lip. (The upper lip hurts the most.)
After making a truly foolish face—and one does not appreciate being made to look foolish on one's motorcycle, even for an instant—you check with your fingers, sure you'll see blood on your glove and disappointed when you don't.
The next two minutes are spent in the heavy, full-speed meditation required to transport yourself from the honest and spontaneous rage you feel at what you actually refer to in your mind as the "stupid fucking bug" to the objective truth that the oblivious creature was not, in fact, on a senseless kamikaze mission directed at the top lip of a specific motorcyclist.
No, this little fellow—far too rational and industrious to be risking its life unnecessarily, as you are doing on your motorcycle—was simply humming along, probably sideways across your path or even in the same direction, rather than directly and spitefully at me as you always initially imagine. It was looking for something to polinate, eat or fuck when you came hurtling through space on the back of a rocket ship and obliterated it from existence. And then began bellowing because of how wronged you had been.
Having talked yourself out of spitting hatred at the creature you have recklessly murdered and at the god who created it, you roar on, with an empty feeling inside, wondering about the meaning of it all, and knowing full well that within the next 40 or 50 miles, the same cycle—the exact same thought cycle, neither made unnecessary nor even speeded up by any accumulated wisdom on your part—will repeat itself.
And another bug will be dead.
And nothing will change.
You won't even switch to a helmet with a face shield.
You'll just come back and tell your friends what a great ride you had, and start selling your wife on next summer's ride.
It's the motor cycle, and I'm afraid I'm on it for good.