Bent Words

Bent Words

February 20, 2010

The bar could have only been made better if the weather was a bit more balmy. Such as it was, I did not mind for we were prepared with sweatshirts and conviviality. The entrance of the bar, just off the sidewalk, featured eight to ten sofa chairs and two or three small tables. There patrons sat in repose, satifactorily reclining with cigars or leaning slightly forward with cigarettes as though waiting to lunge upon the next something to say. Strings of holiday lights loosely hanging about their heads.

The bar itself was inside, wooden and rustic, and accomodated perhaps six or seven people at full capacity. Just beyond the bar and down an extremely narrow hallway were the bathrooms bearing rounded curtains on hooks rather than square stalls around the toilets. Little signs emphasized with green and yellow highlighters warned against opening the doors too quickly for fear of hitting passing patrons on the way out (and not for naught).

Across the bar was a wide window where a waitress/bartendress stood at the ready to serve the several customers seated outside. Picnic tables were setup in the sand and regular round dining tables were setup on the uneven cement. From inside the bar I could see my mother, waiting patiently for my father and I as I pointed out several of the hookahs sitting in the corner waiting to be used. Just as my father lit up a Roma de Cuba, the sound of motorcycle engines could be heard outside, downshifting appropriately to settle themselves against the curb outside. Sport bikes, cruisers, Harleys and customs all pulled up, one after the other, and I tried to reconcile when it had last been that the sweet sounds of two wheels tripped over my attention. My nose rose to the air as though I could relish the scent of a bike from a block away.

We secured our spot outside, armed with Corona, Amstel and wine, but I could hardly relax my senses for want of spying upon those machines just beyond the holiday lights and hookahs. I excused myself with a smile and most understandably so.

I strolled up and down the sidewalk and noted the variety. Hayabusa 1300, Yamaha Royale Star, Harley, Magna, Harley, Harley and a custom something-or-other. A group of guys nearby were wearing leathers or at least an extra layer of clothing and standing in a circle with that tell tale adrenaline soaking through their words.

"Excuse me," I said.

"Yeah?" said The Lead Man somewhat preturbed.

"What this?" nodding to the Something-or-Other.

Custom exhaust, tank and seat. Straight bars, glitter and a bottle opener on the right side cover.


"Honda what?"

"Honda 650."

"Right on," I answered. "650 Nighthawk, right?"

Suddenly The Lead Man's expression softened with surprise.

"That's right, young lady. And how do you know so much about bikes?" he asked, leaning in close.

Knowing that much certainly doesn't qualify me for knowing "so much" about bikes but, in ten years in industry, I do own a fair share of experience.

We talked for an hour about this and that and the people we both knew on differnt race teams. He, Michael, owns a shop here in West Palm Beach. He raced, or says he raced, AMA Supermoto and Flat Track. We discussed the economy and the hardships of owning a shop, what you could do with a motard bike if you didn't have a street legal version here in FL, how the ice racing currently going on up north mimicks the flat track racing currently going on down here... Everything.

I walked away to rejoin the 'rents but Michael found me a bit later on my way to the curtained stalls of the restroom.

"Might I grab your number, Miss Wisconsin?"

"I don't give out my number -- but I'll take yours," I said.

The 'rents and I enjoyed a most satisfying Latin cuisine -- empanadas, seviche, tomales and a quesadilla. But the best part of my visit thus far has been the bikes. Chatting it up with strangers with whom you've likely crossed paths before and perhaps would have even recalled if it weren't for a blink here and there. I just love that.

It's nice to run into people you probably know.

Written at 9:32 p.m.