Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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What Say You?

Serge effectively put the kibosh on the whole motorcycle thing. He says he isn't interested in explaining to a 15-year old Violet why her mother was scraped off the road when she was a baby. I buy his argument. Kind of. Except Serge is the kind of guy who frets about the very worst thing that could possibly happen in every situation. This, in my humble opinion, is no way to live.

For example! Say spouse 1 wants to sleep with the back door open because it's nice outside. The backyard is fenced in and you can't open the fence from the outside. Spouse 2 generally doesn't like the door open because what if someone comes in and kills us all while we sleep?

Example B! Say spouse 1 leaves the car unlocked in the driveway. Spouse 2 will lecture for hours about how this is an invitation to a robbery. Also, what if someone comes in and kills us all while we sleep? I grew up in Orem, Utah. Not only the Mormon capital of the universe, but the place where nobody ever robbed anyone else. We never locked the doors of cars, our house, hell we didn't lock anything, even bikes. Nobody ever stole anything. Except prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, but that's just the housewife population and they only kill their own husbands when they sleep, not strangers.

The point I'm laboring to make; I subscribe to the theory that you can't live your life all freaked out about what could happen. Yeah, don't be a jackass, don't roar down the freeway without a helmet (Mom) don't necessarily leave your car unlocked everywhere you go (Mom) and don't text and drive. Ahem. Mom, I'm thinking this is directed at you as much as Serge. Anyway, don't be an uptight douchebag but let your hair down a little too!

My question to y'all is this; is it irresponsible of me to safely ride a motorcycle? Or do you support my quest to get the blood pumping? I am obligated to impart the fact that there is some very strong incentive not to purchase the alleged death machine. Serge said I could post the home video of him fuh-REAKING out on the amusement park sky tram if I give up the whole motorcycle thing.

Please tell me, what is your thing? What is it that gets you through the day? And why? Serge likes to fish. My hobbies all lead me back to the computer and I want to get away from the little fucker. I love photography yet I end up editing photos and videos for hours. I like to write but I end up back here looking into the soulless window of this here Toshiba laptop. And don't tell me jogging! I've tried to make friends with jogging, have even courted jogging like a lovesick school boy and I still want nothing to do with it. Fuck off, jogging. We're breaking up FOREVER! Or until I'm so fat I can't ride a motorcycle.

Also, as far as the great hair color debate of 2009 goes; I meant to go back blonde as per your comments but it costs so goddamn much I couldn't bring myself to make an appointment. the situation in Darfur is troubling me so much I refuse to indulge in such a luxury until we fix the problem. I still mean to eventually get back to blonde I just don't know when. I need a haircut too, am starting to look like a bonafide wife of Warren Jeffs.

P.S. Fuck you Prop 8 supporters and Supreme Court Justices that aren't doing justice to anyone. Marriage is for everyone who wants it. Also, tossing gays the "civil union" bone sounds suspiciously like the "separate but equal" mantra espoused by racists of generations past.

Reader Comments (22)

There are "safer" ways to ride a motorcycle, but not ways to ride "safely". Motorcycle riding is inherently dangerous, thus the thrill.

I don't believe you should live your life freaked out about what could happen, but you should be aware of possible risks and find a balance.

For myself, I would never choose to ride a motorcycle because the possible consequences would totally overshadow the joy of riding. (But, I would leave my back door open at night and I never lock my car at home.)

As far as "my thing" -- it changes. Because life has been chaotic in the last few years, my thing right now is reading as it is calming and I can escape.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

I agree with you wholeheartedly on the "gotta live life" front. But before my 21st birthday, I had to attend three funerals of good friends who died on motorcycles. Only one of them was at fault, the other two were victims of other drivers. Anyway, I don't understand the thrill of motorcycles.

What about geocaching? I know it's not exactly thrilling like riding a steel hog, but it does get one outdoors and away from computers and there's a little adventure involved.

There's also cliff diving, hang gliding, sky diving (I have friends who swear by this as the greatest activity outside of sex that one can engage in), urban obstacle courses, paintball, parachuting, and zorbing.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

We could all spit out facts till we are blue in the face about accidents and mortorcycles. I know people that have died of liver failure too but that doesn't mean vodka and I are any less friendly! Monica do what makes you happy, safely. He will come around. After all there is nothing hotter than a non butch chick on a bike. Vroom vroom girl.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

You grew up in Orem and never got robbed...
then you moved to a REAL big city. You should, uh, know that shit happens.
Plus, I'm purdy sure you've noticed, since you work for the news and have eyes and ears and such...The homeless population of salt lake has gotten freakin huge and so has the thuggin'. (lol) How many shootings has there been? Robbery? random murder? The drug war over there is bigger than yall like to admit. It's a little scary to walk through trolley or even temple sometimes these days. I have no idea where you live in proximity to the city part of the city, but I really wouldn't leave your doors unlocked. And Ubangee drivers suck, no offense. i wouldn't ride a bike with yall if you paid me. Hell, the only thing I would wish to drive in utah is a freaking tank.

Get a dirt bike or some other fast recreational vehicle. Make Serge go with you out into the desert and take him for a ride and make sure to tell him all the saftey shit... Then, you're going fast and don't have to worry about getting smooshed by someone's hummer. lol.

And to answer the original question, no, it's not irresponsible to ride one. You could be like dr house and ride to work on your bike and make everyone swoon at you :D
But if you can't afford to go blonde, how can you afford a bike?........

I love your writing and photography. you amaze me. hehe

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHarley

I live in SLC too so a couple of points. Point A, I really hate motorcyclists in SLC. Elsewhere, they seem to recognize that driving through residential neighborhoods at 3 am with an unregulated muffler is bad form. Here, they seem to get a kick out of it. In short, motorcyclists in SLC are by in large assholes and I would appreciate if you didn't join their ranks and learn their shitty habits.

Point two--have you see the drivers in Utah? This state has some of the most dangerous, ignorant, wandering, red light running, inability to merge, unpredictable idiot drivers I've ever seen. Who could, at any moment, run a bicyclist, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or fellow driver off the road. Not to mention the fact that you have a husband and a baby, a new person who is utterly dependent on you. The time to get a motorcycle would have been pre-Violet...unless, of course, it terrified Serge. Which it does. So out of respect for the partner you chose, no, you really shouldn't go off and intentionally do a life-threatening activity. Because that's just mean.

And point three, sorry, but sleeping with the back door open is a bad idea, as is leaving the car unlocked. This isn't Orem (although honestly I wouldn't recommend it there, either), and this isn't twenty years ago. Times have changed. Utah breeds sex offenders and serial killers and I doubt you're interested in inviting either group into your life.

As far as activities go? In Utah you have to be creative. Really really creative. You like photography? Start going for long, long walks and take pictures of weird places in this city. Go to the "ghetto" or the "scary west side where the po' folk live" and see what kind of trouble you can get into. Take mini train trips (Amtrak) or drive to some of the state parks in southern Utah. Rent a car for the day and cross the state line. Go hiking (not jogging). Take some community classes or attend an SLC meetup. Buy a bunch of wine and throw a party. There isn't much to do here in the first place, so you really have to be willing to make your own adventures.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I agree with the dirtbike idea, at least their are all sorts of pads and shit you should wear when you ride one and it is hella (a word my big Mormon cousin living in SLC taught me) fun!
I mean it isn't like you are gonna go out and buy a crotch rocket. It isn't like you are going to strap your daughter to your bike and go ride, at least not until she is MUCH older.
I say go for it.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Go red. It's only about ten bucks to get L'oreal or Feria at Tarzhay...It doesn't turn out so bad.

Also? I want a motorcycle, Hubby says no. I'm thinking a good compromise might be that we get a scooter. Like a Vespa.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Domestic Goddess

Karate/Boxing. Supervised. All aggression allowed and nobody dies.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDJ

I'm Spouse 2 in my marriage, so I feel Serge's pain. But, as a girlfriend, I sing a different tune. Do what makes you happy. You're smart; you'll be safe.

On the hair, I just sucked it up and went from my store bought red to salon red, and it was worth it. It is damn expensive but I feel happier.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEDW

personally, motorcycles freak me out but for the sake of living courageously, if it's what you want, then get on your bike & ride!

also, if it makes you feel better, i've spent the last 9 years in NYC and never lock my doors. i never hide my wallet or zip my giant hand bags and i've gladly let helpful strangers carry my expensive purchases (flat screen tv) multiple blocks and up flights of stair w/o question. perhaps i am what some might call an eeeediot but i like to think life gives you exactly what you expect of it. so far, i've chosen fantastic adventures & incredibly wonderful kind generous people & those are exactly the things that have come my way.

i wish you all luck however you choose!

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommentertheotherJC

Hair dye from the store is cheap and pretty easy. Why in the world would you wanna learn to ride a motorcycle now? Why didn't you learn years ago? The take-away is... Spouse 1 isn't getting enough attention from Spouse 2. Its normal to feel a teeny weeny bit jealous when a baby (a girl baby) steals your spotlight. Let a trusted relative take Violet for the evening and go out for a romantic dinner.

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBizkit

Well I ride a Vespa and have done for the last 5 years. It's small and zippy and I love it even though I've had a few accidents and near misses with car drivers. My family aren't crazy about it either but I think at a certain point you've got to do what you want to do.
Having said that, I have no children, and my boyfriend also rides a (much bigger, more powerful) bike so I'm not facing the same kind of opposition you are. I can see Serge's point of view too and have seen enough RTAs to know the bike riders always come off worse.

To help you decide you could give dirt biking, or quad biking a try and see how you like it. My hobbies generally revolve around the beach/internet/tv these days but I've just taken up horse riding again which I love, and I'm going to give canyoning and ziplining a try this summer.

Good luck whatever you decide and don't let the haters get you down!

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

In a word....DON'T. You have a responsibility now that transcends the desire to ride a motorcycle. You're a grown-up and have to make grown-up decisions that involve your family. And for what it's worth, I spent my childhood & many adult years watching an uncle I dearly loved walk with difficulty on a prosthesis, the victim of a motorcycle accident that necessitated the amputation of his leg (at the hip) when he was 19.

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterC.

I think you should go "Holly Madison blonde" and have some fun this summer. Maybe cut a couple inches off.

You can't stifle that rebellious side of yourself after you have a kid because then you feel trapped and like your youth is gone....and life is passing you by.

Keep the edge. Get a tattoo, a Vespa, black nailpolish? (I'm way to obesses with Adam Lambert right now!)

:) Bottom line, keep life fun and excting.

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCMarie

My thing is running. Or writing. But lately I've really been wanting to go quite on the Internet for a while. I think you should do whatever you feel you can to get the rush. I don't believe in quashing a spouse/partner's dreams/aspirations/hobbies because, well I've seen with others what happens when you do. As long as you aren't harming anyone, go for it. I think motorcycle drivers have to be more defensive of drivers but as long as someone is well trained? practiced? then it isn't that much more dangerous than just getting in a car. I think everyone fears it because unfortunately accidents tend to have worse results when they involve a motorcycle.

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Why not get some chunky blonde highlights for now? You look like your natural color is light brown, so less maintenance, same general effect and 'pop' against your skin without risking making you look tired as some bleach jobs can. (Forgive me if such a suggestion is deeply unfashionable; it probably is, since it came from me.) I like brunette, and have been both myself, then as my hair and skin got darker (than yours) I embraced the brunette and love it, but then that's what works with my skin. But it seems like you prefer the blonde deep down. Also, red is a suggestion worth trying - you have blue eyes so it would be fine. (Some [white] women with brown eyes, like myself, are too olive-skinned to pull off red.) I also like the caramel-ish color you have in some of your pictures. Some highlights with that kind of base color would be nice.

May 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterL

Hey -- take up cycling, with a road bike. Gotta be some great rides in Salt Lake. And, worse case, you break a hand or a rib (and not die). More fun than jogging but good work out and v. cool -- think Breaking Away or Tour D France.

May 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterM

"The rapist"? Not funny. Lots of rape survivors reading your blog, I'm sure. They don't need to be 'thrown' unexpectedly, no matter how small a way it might be, when they come to read your blog. Please consider changing it. Also, therapy is not "mental rape".

(Full disclosure: I'm in training to be a therapist, hopefully to serve that population, and have been a crisis counselor for rape victims for years. I really don't think anyone I work with or serve would appreciate this.)

May 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterL

As someone who almost accidentally merged into a motorcyle with a passenger onboard yesterday at 50 mph, I hope you won't get one (scared the bejesus out of me!) You can be a safe rider, but that does not protect you from other drivers. I fail to see how a Vespa or scooter would be safer. They have an even lower profile than motorcyles. I know someone who was rear-ended while riding her scooter and then gave it up. I'm a food junkie, not an adrenalin junkie, so my latest thing is experimenting with yeast doughs, attempting to make bread and pizza.

May 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

I know it's under the wrong entry...but i love the awkward family website! thanks for the link! the only site i've found that ALMOST compares with that greatness is it out, hilarious!

on a separate note, love your writing! i've been reading for awhile and its been rad that you let so many people in on a glimpse into your life

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Get a tattoo. I'd send you a pic of mine but I don't have your email. I'm rather conservative so the tattoo makes me feel like a rebel. Ha.

July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCMarie

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