Second skin

Posted on 28 June 2020

George is a field engineer, came up like many do. Working his way up, paying for his studies…is a known troubleshooter working in the Permian basin. He´s a reserved guy, likes his technical stuff, and is managing to do a good part of his work remotely. Although he spends a good time travelling around.  Has wife, two kids, just entering adolescence and he wants to be there in this rocky path.  His wife is a steady and loyal woman. Never complaining.

George father was a character. More a Steppenwolf and acutely conscious of what life really meant.  George inherited form him not letting him be driven by trends and second hand opinions. He believes in himself, his values and takes care of his family.

And he inherited a passion for motorcycling.

Georges father was basically a loner, maybe too much, that used to take long rides on that old Bonneville, maybe fantasizing about an early Brando or doing the Ton in the back streets of his town.

From his father he learned the healing power of long, solo motorcycle rides, seeing his father disappear for days, in a quest to quench his anxieties and depressions, which he did.

George grew understanding and believing in motorcycling…

George has two bikes, the fancy project, a small two stroke RD 350  Yamaha turned into café racer with loads of exotic stuff.  Fun but utterly impractical.

He has an old CB350, that stone reliable Honda with lousy forks and shocks which he changed, never paid any respect to the original condition, went for quality ride, reliability and has an ongoing relation with that bike.

Two things needs George to regain his center when things get rough: His CB 350 and his leather jacket. Both have been witness and companions on good and bad. Bringing him from confusion to certainty. Some use meditation, pills or professional advice to regain control. George learnt from his father that a leather jacket and a motorcycle, and some days, or miles on your own can do a pretty good job.

Helen, Georges wife, knew that. She felt assured seeing George jacket hanging by the door. Being it a silent companion to Helen when George was away. She loved the way that jacket smelled. A mix of leather, gasoline and Georges’ after shave.  She accepted George as is. Motorcycle addiction included. She even knew well George getting grumpy, she sends him to the jacket, smell gasoline and go out and at least do a round on the favorite back road. After that the sun shines again for all.

Permian basin is not doing well. Oil companies shutting operations. George is facing difficult times ahead although his expertise is badly needed for deciding to keep on going or shutting down. And everybody is very emotional about it.  He´s being challenged every day and he needs to stand on his feet.

Today he has a though meeting. Very difficult as he knows he will not have too much support.

Helen reads George expression, as any woman her intuition knows exactly what’s going on and the best she can do is be steady.

Georges is leaving for work, picks his car keys and kisses Helen goodbye. She takes the car keys from him and says “Ride there” “Take the CB”. And helps him put the jacket that has grown to be George second skin.  Helen is wise.

George expression changed immediately as he pulled up the zipper. Now he knew….

Back home, 6 pm. Shy as always. Reserved as always, but satisfied. He wore his jacket into the meetings. He was confident. He helped his colleagues get answers, options, see things differently. Was a practical, down to earth, feasible hope exercise. What was supposed to be a traumatic meeting ended up all the other way around.

George’s colleagues and bosses also knew when George came in with his jacket. He is taking this seriously, he brought his second skin….the leather smell, gasoline and after shave stayed in the offices after he left…somehow it was also they associated with steadiness…

The two kids jumped into Georges arms.  That night was pizza night around the table. Sharing everyone’s experiences….Helen hanged the Wanderer jacket back. These two are partners…



When will you teach us to ride?

The CB?


What about this weekend?

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