SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 318: “There Is A Wise Harley Rider Out There”

The only word that comes to my mind is “Chill” in describing Steven, veteran, cycle builder and now friend.

“I’ve got all that I need,” Steven tells me in describing his lifestyle. “I share a house with a friend and my stuff will fit in the back of a pick-up truck. I don’t stress that much about things. I don’t worry about money, I can pay my bills and it always works out.”

Relaxed, non-judgmental and wise are the attributes that best describe Steven. He speaks no guile, even at one time catching himself to not label a comparison in the way he refers to the people of the world. “I ride my bike, and too many people are not aware of me as I ride. It gets sketchy sometimes. People are…” he catches himself, “I’m not going to say anything about people. They just need to be careful as they drive and to not road rage. That does not do any of us good.”

Steven has witnessed a lot in his life and calls himself a realist. “I went to war and have seen a lot of poverty, hatred and strife. After being there I realized that we are blessed to have what we have.”

In every word that Steven says, his eyes are filled with compassion, friendship and patience.

“I’ve learned to not get angry. Like when I build my bikes. Sometimes I get burned in the bikes I buy and do not make a profit on them. Other times I do alright. That’s part of the challenge in what I do. It’s all OK.”

That is what initially drew me to talk with Steven, the very cool bike he was riding. I did not know, at first introduction, that it was a creation of his mind.

“I like working on, and rebuilding classic bikes… ” Steven mentions, “…I’m a traditionalist and try to fabricate from vintage parts, and I always try to reuse as many of them as I can,” he points to the oil tank that he built from a removed portion of exhaust pipe.

A bike builder per world standards Steven is, but in my mind he is much more… I call him an artist. The detail work in his ride is intricate. From the cut out engine parts to the hand build fender this bike is as trick as it gets. Custom to the core it screams of the love of its maker and is truly one of a kind. And never once did Steven boast of his creation.

Most of my works come to me through word of mouth, I’m not that organized in my marketing.

I understand why, Steven is in no fight for the successes of stature. “I’m happy with my life,” he says… And in making the claim I cannot ignore his conviction… he means it.

What about the future I ask, “We will probably have a another world war, they come in cycles. People get too greedy,” Steven predicts. But as he does, once again, there is no guile, just a realistic and compassionate outlook.

If there is any take away we need to pull from our time with Steven, it is to appreciate his calmness, his ability to look at people without judgment and his obvious acceptance to the conditions of the world we live in.

In all, what Steven suggests is that we look at the planet with realistic eyes, and as we do, be participants in planting constructive seeds in pondering our surroundings. To reconstruct our mental capacity in realizing that we are more fortunate than we know.

“Sometimes I get burned in the bikes I buy and do not make a profit on them. Other times I do alright. That’s part of the challenge in what I do. It’s all OK,” Steven exposes.

In it is a parable to navigating life. “We need to keep our minds grounded in the journey.” To not fear what is to come, or to harbor resentment for what has passed. That in whatever way… we can learn to be in the present. A presence that through a realistic outlook can be found reason for all we see; a tool of sorts for monitoring our decisions and interactions within our societies and our circles of influence.

So whether at peace or at war (hopefully not war), we can still look upon our fellow humans with compassion and an ear leaned towards understanding and away from the animal instinct to destroy. And if we can, resolve might well be the reward.

Perchance, and I wonder, what the world would be like if we all worked to find a little more positive Chill time. Using it, as does Steven, to think realistically in having the courage to think of others before ourselves. A thought that is impressed upon me from one gesture of self-control demonstrated this evening via our new friend Steven. For in his choice to not react negatively in labeling the people he shares the streets with, he exemplifies his bike-building parable of mind balance.

We win some… we lose some… That is reality… Thus, the challenge is laid before us. Leaving us two black and white options to controlling our instinctual desires to battle. Do we opt to prioritize the need to fight, or do we consider the strength of connecting?

At the end of the day we are ultimately responsible for our reactions. Through our actions we are influential catalysts to those we associate with. There is a measurable cause and effect resulting from the way we treat and view our fellow-man.  Our stewardship is palpable and can be profoundly transferred to the humanity around us.

The options are ours to grasp. Do we quest to build? Or, do we thirst for more?

What we do about it is up to each of us.

And Steven, thank you for shaking us to thought!

Auto drivers make way; there is a wise Harley rider out there.