Light filters through leaden skies before shattering unto my lap as I prepared to get up and go for a ride. The air was hot and the breeze felt cool on sunburnt skin. I walked over to the rental place in downtown Wikiki and rented the cheapest motorcycle they had and that was after I low balled him with promises of magazine exposure. The bike was candy red, with a bald front tire and the chrome was pockmarked with rust; but for the next 9 hours she was all mine.
Then I set out to cruise the island but when I stopped to shoot some photos I met a young man, say 18ish and begin our conversation with a statement. "Your bike is less than 200 miles old," I say to his amusement. "Yeah, how'd you know?" he retorts. "The white grease on the chain. Only the factory uses that grease and your chain is still lathered with it."
Complimenting his lack of an endorsement is his lack of a helmet but he is wearing flip flops. As an ex-safety instructor I prod him about about taking better safety measures. "Iz no worries man," he responds. How do you argue with that. I'd hate to see something bad happen to that kid and remind him to keep the rubber side down as he speeds off south towards 13 corners.
A few days later, after my plane arrives back in Portland, I find someone has stolen the motorcycle helmet off my bike. They cut it right off and I think back to Hawaii, the sweet smell still lodged in my nose and the sand still between my toes.
When I call my friend to see if he happens to have a motorcycle helmet in his car, he responds no. "Iz no worries man," I say. "I got the luck of the island."