Hopefully my Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter won't burst into flames from the blasphemy of riding it while wearing a Harley-Davidson t-shirt.
But I liked the message of the most philosophical piece of wearing apparel I came across in the Indianapolis International Airport shopping area yesterday, and had to buy it.
I love my Japanese scooter. Wouldn't trade it for a Harley.
However, the Harley-Davidson philosophy of life -- encapsulated on the t-shirt -- fits with my churchless leanings.
Here's the answer someone new to Harley motorcycles got when he asked on a forum what being a member of the Florida Crew meant. It's a great response, with an earthy lack of spelling exactitude.
It means you are loyal (whatever that means), honest (as can be), trustworthy (most of the time). You like to ride (dont make rules or follow rules that someone else makes). Ya have to be at least slightly off in the head. A little perverted ( or Celebate). Church goer (if your into that). Hang out at strip clubs (if your into that). Support Republicans or Democrats ( or whickans if you want, nobody really gives a crap). You can be a flasher (male or female, we encourage this either way, especially after a few beers when the riding is done). You must have a good personality (or multiple personalities, SP Redman). You must be a hillbilly from Central Florida where the highest hill is the town dump (or a city boy from the Hills of N.C.). You have to ride a Harley (or ride a Yellow Ski Doo with 3 wheels, a 650 dirt bike, a mini crotch rocket, or a superduper turbo charged gas guzzling Road King). You have to be Black ( White, Red, Yellow, Brown, or whatever, nobody gives a crap). You have to have a lot of money ( or be a poor dude right off the boat riding a rat bike with duct tape holding it together). Ya gotta be an animal lover (or an animal eater). Ya have to have a slightly graying pony tail ( or be bald as a cue ball hehe). Ya gotta live in Fla ( or we will make you an honorary memeber once we ride with ya)
That said, it really means
NO RULES JUST RIDE
Pretty good advice, whether you're riding on two wheels down a road or on two legs down the course of life.
Like the guy says, if you're into church-going, great. If you're not, also great.
Problem is, "no rules" doesn't appeal to most true believers. They generally consider that there's one right way to live one's life, and this happens to be the moral/ethical code of conduct enjoined by their religion.
Now, there are no rules points back at itself. Meaning, there are no rules. Unless you want to follow a rule. Feel free. There's no rule that says "never follow a rule."
We all do this: follow rules. Life would be unlivable without them.
How could I turn on my TV if I didn't press the right button on the remote control? The important thing is to remember that rules are made to be broken when they need to be.
Just because a holy book or holy person says, "do such and such," doesn't mean you should follow that advice. This also holds for a holy GPS device, such as my dearly beloved Garmin Nuvi.
I took it to Indiana, the site of my wife's family reunion last weekend. Figured it would come in handy for finding our way around as we navigated unfamiliar roads in our rental car.
Leaving the airport late at night in a thunderstorm, though, I acceded to Laurel's belief that since all we really needed to do was get on I-70 W, the simple instructions we got from the National car rental lady would be sufficient.
I blamed Laurel for not pointing me to the correct lane that led to the I-70 W on ramp. (I could have blamed myself also for not paying closer attention to some signs, but that wouldn't have been as satisfying.)
While driving several miles in the wrong direction, looking for a suitable off-ramp to get us headed back the right way, my irritation led me to say, "If I'd been using the GPS device like I wanted to, this wouldn't have happened."
I made a mental note to self: use the Nuvi when you want to be sure you'll make the right turns in an unfamiliar place.
After all, like any GPS navigation device the Nuvi is almost god-like.
It possesses quasi-omniscience, somehow cramming in street level data for the entire United States in its small handheld case. It possesses quasi-omnipresence, since no matter where I am, it knows my location. And to true believers in technology like me, it possesses quasi-omnipotence, given that when I'm clueless about how to get somewhere, my blessed Nuvi will show me the way.
Well, almost always.
Heading back to the Indianapolis airport Sunday afternoon from a rural area about 60 miles away, I made a show to Laurel of getting the Nuvi out, putting it on my lap, and pressing "Go" after the device had found the airport in its database.
At first, it worked great.
I knew how to get back to I-70 since we'd already been that way once. But it was helpful to have the Great God Nuvi tell me when we were less than ten miles from the airport, since I could fill up the rental car knowing that the gauge would still register "full" when I returned it to National.
All was going fine. Back on I-70 E after stopping at a gas station I glanced down at all-knowing Nuvi and saw the airport was still 4.5 miles away.
Which, however, didn't mesh with the "Indianapolis International Airport next exit" sign that I'd just passed. My mind raced.
One of Laurel's relatives had told us that we were fortunate the airport was now easier to get to when approaching from the west. But I'd updated the Nuvi with the 2008 road database. Shouldn't that show any new streets leading to the airport?
While pondering all this, I zipped past the exit. "You just went by the airport," Laurel said, stating the obvious in an irritatingly truthful manner.
"Nuvi shows it's four miles away," I replied, defensively. "OK, but the big signs over the freeway clearly said Indianapolis International Airport." I bowed to reality, reluctantly.
So three days earlier I figured that I'd missed going the right way leaving the airport because I wasn't using a GPS device. Now, I'd just missed going the right way returning to the airport because I was using a GPS device.
There are no rules. Common sense, though, is usually a darn good rule.
When it comes to religious rules. Or, driving rules. When it's obvious what the right way is, go there, even if some supposedly higher power tells you to do something different.
Recollecting my state of mind as I looked at a freeway sign that said "Indianapolis International Airport next exit" after having just glanced at a GPS device that had an alternative view of reality, it's amazing that I was uncertain about which to believe.
The evidence of my own eyes. Or what a piece of machinery was telling me.
And yet...this is common. People often rely on something that contradicts their direct experience when deciding where to head in life. They may feel that it is fine to have sex outside of marriage, eat a hamburger, or have an abortion.
But if a religious authority says that's a no-no, this mechanical outside perspective, which gives the same advice no matter the individual circumstance, is considered to be more valid than what the person knows to be true for himself or herself.
Rules. You've got to know when to follow them, and when to ignore them.
After driving four miles in the wrong direction, and then four miles back to the airport, the rental car's gas gauge had a decided non-full look to it. National apparently let me get away with this.
However, I figured that a refueling charge was a reasonable price to pay for learning a life lesson: challenge authority (looks like I need another new t-shirt).