Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bigger and better things

Picture from the Daytona trip - no, it's not Daytona
I know I've said I'm done before, but I really am now. If all the old sages are right, that means I'll fall in love now and live happily ever after. I don't want it though. Everything's just starting to get good. The plan is coming together, and the plan does not include a love life.

I left the corporate world almost exactly two years ago, within a day or two. I was planning on leaving the job a month or two later, but I wanted to ride to Daytona for the women's MDA ride, and I didn't have any vacation time left. The only logical thing to do was to quit my job. That trip will go down in history as "The Daytona Trip" although Daytona never made it into the picture. My write-up glosses over some truly Hellish relationship experiences. Why I ever chose to talk to that man or date anyone again after that trip is a mystery. Ever the optimist I guess.

It's been a sparse two years. The settlement I got last year after getting run over on my bike in '08 helped pay for the last two years of limited earnings. My left hand will bother me forever, but at least I got a sweet new paint job on the bike and haven't had to find full time employment. I am now managing a training site for ABATE of Colorado, which allows me to schedule myself for whatever classes I want to teach. It's one of the perks. I'm busy taking care of business, which includes promoting the site so I have classes to teach.

Last summer I put together a swap meet at a local biker bar, The Hideout. It was very successful. That's if you count success by the number of people who showed up and not by how much money I made. I have a whole series planned for this year - Third Sunday Swapmeets, and the owner of The Hideout has agreed to invest in promotion since I did manage to get a good crowd there. Some of the promotional materials have come in, and I'm getting ready to send out packages to vendors. They start in May and go through September, but the extra big one will be in July when the ABATE District 3 event will be held there.

Through my work as a District Representative for ABATE in northern Colorado, I met Linda McCartney. She is the owner/editor of Thunder Roads Colorado. Motorcycles, writing... I'm all over that. In fact, if you follow the link, you'll find one of my articles on the front page of the website. I'm writing and selling advertising for the Fort Collins area. In addition to that, Linda and I are collaborating on a non-profit with a very exciting project in the works. Once I get the website up and running, there'll be an announcement. Stay tuned!

The undercurrent running through all of this is the book I've been working on forever. I thought that being self-employed would give me more time to write, but I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make money. I took a week this fall and locked myself in a hotel room in Salida to do some writing. OK, I went horseback riding one day, wrote at the riverside park another day, headed up to the Coyote Cantina near Buena Vista and wrote another day, and made an afternoon trip to the top of Monarch Pass a couple of times. It wasn't quite as monastic as I made it sound. I did get a lot done, and I've recently found a place to post a portion of the book for comments and criticism. I've had some great reviews, so I'm very excited. Shovelhead Redemption is what I plan on calling the book. Of course if a publisher wants to buy it and call it something else... I guess I'll have to consider that.

Even now, I need to get working on the logo and website for the new project. I have a class to teach this weekend. I want to finish the book. Where does dating fit into this? Nowhere. And that's fine by me. Besides, when speaking with Linda about this blog yesterday, she mentioned that it was funny. It was funny, but around Joe10, I lost my sense of humor. I will keep up the blog, and if a date or two finds its way in here, then so be it.

The Internet is a great place to get numbers, but blind dating is unnatural, be it Internet or through friends. I know a lot of people have been successful, but I don't like the immediate unspoken assessment that's going on at first meeting. I think it was Joe6 who started telling me all the reasons why we shouldn't date as soon as we met in person. He had his checklist, and I wasn't passing. Had we met at an event in person, we might have become friends and valued each other, even if we never ended up dating. It ended badly, which was disappointing. I know I've been quick to judgment myself. It certainly hasn't brought out my best qualities.

I better get to work.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joe15 - I'm done

Horsetooth Reservoir - a much needed breath of fresh air
I'm really over Internet dating. I hate the interview process. I hate the false hopes. I hate how people can totally misrepresent themselves. If I'd met Joe15 in person, I probably would have thought he was a nice guy. No. Let me be perfectly honest. I never would have spoken to him.

I haven't gone back to look at his profile again, but I should. It would be helpful to know if I... I just did. No, I didn't read anything into it. He looks at least 10 years younger in his picture. It also clearly states that he loves to ride and goes to Sturgis all the time. Riding is one of three interests of his. Despite the fact that he said he's a good ex-husband and supports his ex-wife (because that's what he committed to), I gave it a shot. We decided to meet on Saturday morning for a cup of coffee. I picked 11:00, because I was hoping that the driveway would be cleared of snow and ice by then. He wasn't sure if his bike would start.

It turned out that he was walking over because his son borrowed his truck. That was fine. I thought I was going to have to drive, but about an hour before I needed to leave, I went out into the road and picked a path that would get me safely out to the main road. I was going to ride. Yay! I left early because I still hadn't washed the bike since getting caught in the snow. I rode over to JJs and gave it a quick rinse, then I pulled it over to dry it. I texted Joe15 to let him know I was early and took off for the restaurant.

I never would have picked this guy out as the guy in the picture. He was wearing expensive Harley jewelry. I don't want to eliminate someone altogether because of jewelry, but other than a wedding ring or a watch or maybe a cool bracelet (thinking of Dana's chrome chain bracelet or William's tire-looking bracelet), I'm not crazy about jewelry on guys. Not big gaudy stuff anyway. It looks like the guy is trying to show that he has money in an incredibly tasteless way.

The money. He told me about all his successful business ventures and properties he owns around town - and how his ex-wife owns half of everything. He talked about motorcycle trips. He seemed surprised that I'd only been to Sturgis once, like that was the mark of a real biker. He rarely looked me in the eye. He's looking for a long term relationship, but he doesn't want to get married. There's a big surprise.

We got through it, but nothing clicked. When we walked out, he came over to my bike. He said he had an '04 Springer Softail. He asked if mine was a Wide Glide. How does one mistake a Softail for a Dyna? How? I get not being able to nail the modifiers, as in "Heritage" or "Custom" or "Fat Boy", but how do you not see that there are no visible rear shocks and the frame tapers down to the rear axle.

He proceeded to say that he was thinking about trading his bike in, but he'd be lucky to get $12,000 for it after putting $25,000 into it. I commiserated, saying I'd be lucky to get $5,000 with all the miles I have on mine. I asked him how many miles were on his. 6,000. Yes, this biker has 6,000 miles on his '04 that he bought new. He mumbled something about trailering the bike to Sturgis with the RV while looking away. I got on my bike and left.

I know that some people don't ride as much as others. Jobs, family, health issues... stuff happens. But 6,000 miles in over 6 years? Again, that's OK if you aren't into riding as much as I am, but for goodness sake, do not try to pass yourself off as a biker on a dating site. I supposed there are women out there that would love to dress up in their biker best and drive up to Sturgis to play pretend badass for a week. It isn't me.

I'm done with Internet dating. I want to meet friends in places I normally go, doing things I normally do. I'm sick of the posing, the interviews, all of it.

Time to go to bed and get some rest for a Valentines ride tomorrow. Whoopee!

Back to it - Joe14: Ape Hanger Hater

This is exactly why I was doing this. Joe13 has a lot of great qualities. He's an amazing mechanic. I'm leery about some of the aspects of Joe13's lifestyle, even though I'm confident that if/when our country descends into anarchy and/or complete financial collapse, Joe13 will be just fine. The positives about Joe13 well outweigh the negatives, but I can't live with the negatives. (edited to add - while they are negative to me, they may not be to others. I want to stress that he's an awesome guy. Love him, just don't want to live with him) I thought it was my lack of trust -  no, my total fear of trust - that caused the doubts, and I didn't want to lose such a great guy. So I crossed the line from dating to long term relationship. Exactly what I didn't want to do. Or not that I didn't want to do it, but I knew I shouldn't. I don't know why it's so easy to see looming pitfalls in someone else's life but not in your own. If you figure it out, let me know.

So here I am again. I wasn't planning on dating so soon, or ever again really, but an e-mail came through on Plenty of Fish, and I clicked. I initiated contact with one guy, and I heard from a few others. Then I turned my profile back off. I managed to date a couple more Joes before getting totally disgusted with online dating once again. Here they are.

I'm not positive of the time line, but will run with what I've got. Joe14 and I IM'd for a bit one night and spoke for quite a while the next. While he was easy to talk to, there was a conversation about my handlebars that gave me great insight into the man. I can't remember how we got onto the subject, but I told him I had ape hangers. He was quite opinionated about them. I told him that I too once ridiculed ape hangers, but after a short conversation with Charley Barnes, I decided to give it a try. I don't write a lot of dialogue, so bear with me while I recreate the conversation...

When I took my bike over to Charley's, he was thinking about a photo on Facebook when he said, "I thought you had ape hangers."

"No. That picture was taken by a guy with ape hangers. I'm riding in front of him."

"That would be really badass."

"Yeah, it would."

So thanks to Willie at Righteous Ride in Greeley, I got a smoking deal on the bars and cables I'd need and gave the ape hangers a try. Not too long after, I took off on my 6,000 mile trip around the country. LOVE them. Love them, and I look badass.

Well number 14 couldn't handle that. He threw up several reasons why ape hangers were bad. I had an answer for all of it. I told him that I had felt the same way before I tried them, but at a reasonable height, they really were comfortable and completely safe. He could not give it up. He was trying to tell me that I was wrong about how I felt about my handlebars. Whatever.

We were going to meet at his business the next day, but I had other things to do. I made it over the day after. He has a successful business, and it's a cool one. In the hour or so that we talked, he repaired several items. He clearly knows what he's doing and is well respected in his field. He was easy to talk to. By the end of the conversation, we were speaking pretty openly about what we were looking for in our relationships.

My profile says I want to date. He said he doesn't need another friend. He also said he isn't interested in getting married again. This led me to the conclusion that when a guy in an online dating forum says he wants a long term relationship, that means he wants sex without commitment. Dating would be hanging out. Marriage is a commitment. Long term relationship means you've gotten past the intro and are now sleeping together. 

I like friends. I love my friends. I enjoy riding and playing games and eating out with my friends. I definitely want to be friends with a guy before going "long term." Wink, wink. But you know what? I don't want to cook meals, sacrifice my valuable time, be concerned with someone else's welfare, maybe even help out with kids or grand kids, and give a guy a piece of ass without a freaking commitment. Sure the idea of a live-in housekeeper who meets all of your needs is great. I'm not selling that feature. We can hang out and become friends and see where it goes from there, or you can kiss my ass - figuratively, of course.

Anyway, we had a lot to talk about, but I felt like he saw himself as the ultimate keeper of all information in the universe. He also has two sons who aren't even teens yet, one of whom was at the business that day because he was "home" sick. When Joe14 called me the next day on his way to work, his son was still with him. He said that the school wouldn't allow him to send his son back. Really? I know things have changed since I was a parent of a school-age child, but since when does the school determine if the child is well enough to go to school. This is on the heels of a couple of days off because it was too cold (0 for a high). I started to say that schools are really going overboard on protecting kids when the phone went dead.

I was busy. I know he was busy. I didn't bother calling back. Neither did he. I texted him a few hours later and said if he wanted to call later, that would be fine. I guess he didn't. That's OK. Actually, that's good.