Article By: Xavier Muriel
Originally Published In The April 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
When I started to write this month’s column I set out with the with an idea in mind, to talk about all the upcoming events and what to expect, etc., etc., then I stopped and thought “Nah!” I’m gonna break out of the box a lil and write about something that’s been on my mind lately. I spent a good amount time conversing with my writing mentor about a Softail project that I bought and what my grand ideas were for it and how I was gonna do this and that, blah blah blah.
One day I was sitting and staring at the donor like I do as if waiting for some sort of instruction from her. I began to tear her down and of course, started to find all the things that were wrong with it. I began making comments to myself like “Man, what a mess!” and “hmmff, I would never use those bolts” and so on. I stopped and thought to myself “You judgmental prick, you!” I have no idea who owned this bike before me or anything about its history. Maybe the former owner was doing the best he could with what he had. For years, I’ve always used the term “Making Do,” it comes from times back in the day when I had to tape broken sticks together to make it through a show because I didn’t have the cash for new ones. Even today, when I don’t have a certain tool in the shop I make something I do have work or just “Make Do” with what I have. Somehow, I overlooked that way of thinking when tearing apart someones else’s former love…
I immediately put down my tools, sat back down and started to wonder who this person was that had, at one point in time looked at this mess that was on my lift with their vision. My judgment became my compassion after I readjusted my perception. You see, at one point in this bikes life it was looked at and cared for as a prize jewel by its owner. Somehow, along the way, like all things, with time its beauty became less and less and was not as prized anymore. Maybe it was replaced with a newer model, more bells and whistles, maybe he sold it to care for his family, who knows what the reason was. It was a moment where I wish she could speak, to tell me her real story because based on the negligence I saw, I’m sure there’s a tale to be told.
There’s a book my old singer gave me years ago entitled, “Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance” which if you don’t have it I highly recommend it! As I sat there wishing I could chat with the old girl, my mind suddenly switched from a state of almost sadness for the bike in its current state to what can I do to make her someone’s pride and joy once again. There’s an excitement that takes over when thinking about the possibilities that this machine could achieve with a lot of time, love and effort. Yes, I use the word love, and I’m sure some readers know exactly what I speak of. It’s the love of the process that takes over at that point for me, not thinking about who will or won’t like it at its completion. Just that I put forth the ultimate effort to give the machine the life it deserves.
My producer always used to tell me “Trust in the Process,” and so it rings true to this day just focused on a different creation. That’s all this really is, a creation achieved by me and the machine doing our dance together. I wish I could talk to the former owner or owners because id like to thank them for teaching me a different way to look at and approach things. The importance of coming at it from a creative point of view, instead of a judgemental one. And to my writing mentor thanks for adjusting my perspective. And to all of you, be kind to one another and safe riding. God Bless. X.