Today’s prompt, in abbreviated form is simply write, in your own voice, how you feel about an event you’ve attended and loved, only to find out it’s being cancelled forever.
So, here we go.
Some years ago I found out, quite by accident, that my favourite Chapter of the Harley Owners Group, close to home, was being closed and moved to a country town almost 150 miles away.
It wasn’t the distance that got under my skin. 150 miles on your favourite brand of motor cycle is just a pleasing jaunt.
No, what got under my skin was being told that the reason I didn’t know was that I was ‘Out of the Loop’.
Also, the prospect of losing touch with my riding mates from the old Chapter was of concern to me. Of course there was another Chapter to welcome us all, but, old habits die hard and I knew that many of the blokes, including myself, would resist joining up with the other mob. After all, we’d been their opponents for years at gymkhanas and what was known as the Chapter Challenge, an annual event where competition was fierce.
As our Chapter’s closing date became closer, the rot really began to set in. Our close knit group began to disintegrate. Some just joined the other Chapter without a parting word. One or two just sold their bikes in disgust and were never seen nor heard of again. Some even announced they would never in a million years join the opposition.
At a few informal meetings, we’d loosely agreed to have our own independent riding group without affiliation to any Chapter and attend State and National HOG rallies with our international HOG membership as accreditation. In my view, It seemed like a great idea.
Now I’ve been around a while and not much surprises me any more. What did surprise me though, and peeved me no end was the cavalier attitude the so called ‘mates’ were taking with each other over the supposed continuation of our riding together. It appeared to me that no one was going to take the lead and organise something.
I’d been left high and dry by the ‘mates’ after I tried to get them out on our first independent group ride and I wasn’t going to let it happen again. It was then I reluctantly concluded our loose riding agreement was just ‘pie in the sky’, just empty words.
What to do now? Email the lot of them and tell them what I thought, visit the ones I thought I knew and try to keep the ship afloat or simply do what every one else was doing and quietly fade away.
Thinking things over, I realised that the decision to close the Chapter was simply a matter of economics for the dealership under whose banner the Chapter operated.
Further I concluded that as a voice in the wilderness I had as much chance of keeping the ‘mates’ together as a riding group as I had of flying to the moon. No one would give a hoot if I made one hell of a fuss, or, like the others, just walked away. After all, if they didn’t miss each other, why would they miss me.
Then I decided to do a SWOT analysis of my situation. SWOT by the way stands for Strengths and Weaknesses; Opportunities and Threats.
Briefly, after using up a forest of paper, I worked out that being a loner, one of my strengths could also be a weakness. In this particular case, loner was a strength, not a weakness. I’m a bit of an egotist too so couldn’t find any weaknesses. Opportunities, plenty, particularly as I’d have more time to ride with long time friends. Note, friends, not ‘mates’. I scratched my head and couldn’t come up with any threats.
My conclusion, stick with the long time friends. Should any of the the old chapter ‘mates’ invite me to go for a ride, I was under no obligation to accept the invitation.
I felt good having taken my decision and it’s proved to be the right one. Not only then but many years later it still is.
Looking back on it all, I sometimes ask myself, how do you feel about those past events?
My answer, I’m completely ambivalent about the whole issue because, in the overall scheme of things it’s absolutely irrelevant.
Oh and by the way, I joined the ‘other chapter’ after a few years. This time I’ve stayed on the outside looking in. It suits me that way, no obligation yet all of the advantages of membership.
You see, I did learn something from my ‘mates’ in the old chapter.