Born to be mild?

I make no secret of the fact that I’ve had a remarkably easy time raising the Sonbeam, mainly because I ignored him and outsourced his care as much as possible during those crucially formative years, and then spent the bulk of his adolescence guilt-tripping him about it (as opposed to doing things the other way around, as many parents do).  In fact, I can honestly say that my delinquent puss Ben has given me far more sleepless nights than his human “brother” ever did.  So far the Sonbeam and I have had exactly five serious arguments, and two of those were based upon his facial hair choices.  The other three were about his educational decisions, which I firmly opposed, but ended up grudgingly paying for anyway. 

Recently we had our sixth argument.  It was about him getting a motorcycle, which I am against for all sorts of personal and ecological reasons.   I just don’t see why he feels the urge to get a bike.   We live in a city with an extremely comprehensive public transport system, and in fact most of Japan is accessible by train or ferry.  Bikes are dangerous, they pollute the environment, and they get stopped all the time by police (who apparently have nothing else to do in Japan but attempt to apprehend bike thieves, which is nice I suppose).  Furthermore, the flimsy Japanese scooter bikes are virtual deathtraps when in comes to collisons – I’ve twice witnessed bike and car collisions, and in each case the bike rider ended up mashed all over the road, whilst the car got barely a ding. 

In other words, I just don’t want him riding around out there … unless I’m riding pillion, and we’re going shopping.

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8 comments on “Born to be mild?

  1. Karen says:

    Keep hammering at him. I have seen the bodies of motorcycle riders who were in wrecks, and it’s never good. And we once had to go tell a wife and her 11 year old daughter that their husband/dad was killed in a wreck. He was on a motorcycle, a car pulled out in front of him, and bam – dead. And don’t think wearing a helmet will save a rider or passenger. It didn’t in any of the cases I saw. And I don’t believe for a minute you would ever be crazy enough to get on the back of any scooter.

  2. Miko says:

    I hope you’ve retired from that job, Karen, I don’t want to imagine the emotional toll it took on you! I think he’s planning to get a moped (50cc, very popular here and used pretty much like regular bicycles except you need a license and helmet) and upgrade to scooter (250cc) later. Bike culture is firmly entrenched in Japan, especially in crowded urban areas where driving is not feasible (no space for car parking). It’s very common to see a mother, her two small children, and several bags of groceries on one rickety bicycle, NO helmets. The only people I see wearing helmets on bicycles are expat Americans.

    I’m deeply unhappy about Sonbeam’s getting a scooter, but here, forbidding him from doing so would look as strange as you refusing to allow your kids to drive cars.

    But I won’t say no to a quick ride on the back, just around the block or so. Recapturing my wild youth, and all that.

  3. Karen says:

    Oh, I retired in 2007 from victim services. I had already decided to, but when we got the diagnosis of Ken’s cancer, that cinched it. I am working at the PD again, though, as a volunteer, but I’m doing administrative stuff, redesigning the Blue Santa webpage, helping the quartermaster keep his books updated. Nothing emotional, and no going out on crazy calls at 2 a.m.

  4. Miko says:

    Well, that’s all good. I don’t know what you saw in that job in the first place, you could’ve had a much easier life flogging Avon or working as an educational advisor. That’s what I would’ve done. I’m not big on responsibility, and I’m *really* not big on dealing with the messy side of life.

  5. Karen says:

    It was very interesting work. And, while this may sound strange, there were some very funny moments mixed in with the tragic stuff.

  6. Miko says:

    I believe you! In NZ we call it “gallows humour.” Unfortunately most people don’t get it.

  7. karen1945 says:

    Yes, it’s a very grim sort of humor, shared by us, cops, firemen, and EMS. It’s a coping mechanism.

  8. Miko says:

    Don’t forget to include public school teachers in the above category!

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