Motorcycle "boot camp" rocked, although it came at a cost. Over three days, I and four other inmates spent 11 hours in a classroom jointly reading and discussing the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's rider manual, and another 11 hours sitting on banged-up, overheating Honda Nighthawks in the blazing sun while our very competent instructors went meticulously through 17 riding exercises with us. And at Sunday noon, having passed the knowledge and skills tests, with motorcycle rider license in hand (or at least with the requisite paperwork to take to Large Marge at the MVD), I lugged my sweaty hump back to Casa Crazyhorse and collapsed in a moist heap.
A few hours later, I was in pain. I am not referring to the pain brought on by fatigue from using a variety of muscles to remain upright on the motorbike. This was pain of the gastro sort. When the discomfort began, I wrote it off to the fast-food delights I had quickly taken in during our short break between the morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday. It had been ages since I'd eaten a burger and fries at Carl's Jr, and I figured my system wasn't used to it. But then the gastro pain increased, as did the borborygmi loud enough to hear in Benson. (Grossed out now? Well, that's what you get for reading the blog of a medical lexicographer.)
By midnight, I wanted to vomit. But I couldn't. I seldom can.
Now, after spending the whole day in bed nursing a bloated abdomen, I am fairly certain I know what it is: I have ingested some kind of bacterium or fungus, and it has turned my lower GI tract into a toxic waste facility.
How do I know this? Because the memory of the black-mold-covered spigot on the giant Gatorade urn they had for us at the motorcycle range came to me at some point in the night. During the two days on the range, blinded by thirst, and with the heat, sunglasses and helmet distorting my vision, I gulped down cup after cup of the stuff before I noticed the mold on Sunday morning. (See, Mark. I'm really not a card-carrying mysophobe. If I were, I would have seen it immediately. I probably wouldn't even have touched the urn.)
When I called this to the attention of my classmates, they chuckled in horror. And they kept drinking it. I wonder if any of them is in the same shape today. Wait, what's that distant rumble?
I know I got the motorcycle license just to ride our scooter to rehearsals, but now I want a bike. Especially this one. I think dropping a lot of cash on the course, subjecting myself to the its grueling nature, and sitting through this stomach bug for however long it takes for my immune system to blow it away, are justification for saving up for one. And yes, Mom, I'll be careful.