Answer the call of the open road - if you can find any

May 2, 2021

We understand that many visitors are stressed out by the time they finally arrive. It’s all the planning, driving and hoping for the right weather. The thought of being in a motel with six kids when the weather forecast is for rain all week, well, it‘s enough for you to go out and do something impulsive, like let someone into your traffic lane. And if you live here, you’ve been stressed out with cabin fever from the virus restrictions.

Scientists tell us, if you are from New Jersey, you are stressed over anything starting with the word taxes. If you are from Washington, D.C., you are stressed over spelling the word transparency. And if you are from Pennsylvania, well, you’re just stressed out. Nerves are stretched so taut, even the blink of an eyelid can sound like Velcro ripping open the front of a coat.

No more was this need to decompress more evident than a while ago when I pulled up to a red traffic light. They were to the left of me. They were to the right of me. With the roar of their engines reaching the decibel level of a fishmonger calling out an order for calamari, they waited patiently for the light to change. They never make eye contact. They don’t have to, for these drivers have what is called instant respect. OK, maybe it’s fear.

Yes, you’ve probably seen them too. Motorcycles! Last week, on a beautiful sun-kissed day, you couldn’t help but notice the groupings and think that this is the ultimate stress-buster.

There is something about motorcycles that makes you envious as your bank-owned vehicle idles pathetically beside them. The best your car can do when the light changes is cough and go forward hopping like a bunny rabbit. No, motorcycles conjure up images of being free, just you and that open road, the wind whipping through your hair and no worries. No hybrids or motor scooters that hit a top speed of 20 miles per hour for these guys.

In this age of technology, it’s nice to know you can be out there without answering a piece of equipment beginning with the letter “i.” These guys don’t worry about messages telling them if they would like to make a call, hang up and dial again. Their reputation is such that telemarketers don’t even call for fear they will be beaten up over the phone.

Who can forget Marlon Brando and his gang in the movie “The Wild One,” taking over the most dangerous place in town, the soda shop. They did this just with an insane amount of hair gel.

Revving the engine next to you is the big hulking driver with his black leather jacket, alien-looking helmet and leather boots. There is always some babe perched behind, with a bandana and sequined top. Look again – Mom?!?

That’s right. The call of the wild today isn’t limited to young motorcycle gangs anymore. Former riders have grown up or at least conquered their midlife crises. Seniors are in; gray hair and arthritis are revered. You can image that CPA when one day he throws down his pen, looks at the row of figures in red ink and says to himself, Hell’s Angels, here I come! And that lawyer who looks across the table at the two bickering clients in divorce court and says to himself, Lord, give me the strength to fit in a pair of black leather pants!

Forget staying home to babysit those grandchildren. Been there, done that. And who needs sitting around a yard sale, hoping you’ll rake in three bucks for a used set of shrimp forks. It’s the asphalt the older generation is looking toward to give enough thrills before their bladder springs a permanent leak.

You might need a stepladder to climb on because of all your replacement parts, but it also might be time for you to answer that call of the wild.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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