I turned 40 last year, and in an effort to do something noteworthy, I contemplated getting a Harley and a tattoo to mark my birthday. Sadly, I am rather fickle, and despite months of research into tattoo designs, I failed to find anything that I would want to look at for the next 30+ years, especially when you take sagging into account.
However, this week, what formerly had seemed wild and reckless finally morphed into a practical solution for the chaos that is my life.
Picture the scene. It was 7.30 am, and I was sitting in an aging Volvo with two kids and three dogs in nose to tail traffic. The Volvo has seen this sort of use for the last 5 years, and is starting to develop it’s own particular bouquet. It was also noisy – the kids were bickering, the dogs were whining with excitement about the impending walk, and the worn shock absorbers emitted a high-pitched squeal every time anyone so much as blinked.
It’s the sort of daily ordeal that keeps the manufacturers of migraine medication very, very rich.
As I sat there contemplating whether I had the strength left to wrestle with the child proof cap on the Migraleve, a glorious apparition sailed by in the opposite direction, untouched by human cares. It was a Harley Fat Boy, and despite the hour, the traffic and the high density of teenage drivers, the rider had a huge grin on his face.
It was a message from above for every harassed mother, and it’s my duty to share it. We all need a Harley and a tattoo. Just imagine…
The Simplicity. Cluttering up a Harley is impossible. There’s nowhere to stuff, drop or hang anything, and anything carelessly left behind is swiftly tackled by a twist of the throttle and the wind speed factor. No tennis balls, sweet wrappers, biscuit crumbs and PTA letters bulging from every orifice. If you really need to carry it, it’d better be bolted on. So you definitely can’t take the dogs..
The Quiet. It’s all about the helmet. They’re fully lined with inch thick foam, which drowns out everything but the sound of the engine and the blood rushing to your head. No squabbling, no “I forgot my homework”, no ” I need a cow costume by tomorrow”. Just glorious peace. I’ve already bought one for general day-to-day use.
The Privacy. There are five of them in total, and if they’re not squabbling, they’re watching or listening. Put on mascara and they want to know where I’m going; leave Nordstrom bags in the car and they’re rummaging through my purchases, and if my phone chirps out a reminder, they demand to know where I’m going for lunch. It’s a nightmare. The Harley, however, has one comfortable seat, and one very high perch for the passenger, meaning that their entire attention is focused on maintaining a death grip and staying on board. So they are unable to to squabble (only one space), change the radio station or even open their eyes long enough to critique your driving.
The tattoo is more a form of expat survival. I have now had so many different numbers applied to my identity that I am incapable of retaining so much as the four digit PIN number for my debit cards, and people are beginning to refer to me as ‘Your Majesty’ for my constant failure to carry cash. It’s getting a little awkward, but my interfering Other Half has refused to let me continue the practice of writing the PIN number on my card in Sharpie.
Mother’s Day is coming up, and I think I might treat myself. I’m going to get it tattooed on my person.
The only dilemma that remains is the location of the tattoo. Banking guidelines are boringly insistent on the need to keep your pin number hidden from general view, which rules out most potential sites. The only other option involves peering strangely down the front of my trousers, which is all very well, but they have video cameras in ATMs these days.
Perhaps I should keep my new helmet on, just in case..