I find myself in an awkward situation. I need a bell, but if I buy my own bell, it is not as powerful. And if I ask for the bell, the one I receive will possess fewer protective properties. If I neither buy my own bell nor ask for the bell, it is unlikely that I will receive a bell and then I will have no protection at all.
Let me explain.
Perhaps you have noticed motorcyclists who have a small bell hanging near their front fender. What's this bell and why is it there? Legend - superstition - some clever bell manufacturer - has it that the bell protects bikers from road gremlins. This works because as the gremlins rise up from the road to attack us, they get stuck in the bell of the bell, bounce around, and then vibrate to death.
The little bell is powerful.
Further, the power of the bell is amplified if it is given from biker to biker. Buying your own bell is OK, but it is better if someone else gets the bell for you. This tradition seems more prevalent among cruiser riders. I see and hear fewer bells on crotch rockets (speed bikes).The small bell costs just a few bucks and often comes with a short write up about the legend. Most Harley stores have them.
I have a new motorcycle - a lovely purple Honda Sabre 1100. Her name is Hazel (short for Purple Haze). When I sold my BMW R1200C a few years ago, I gave up my bell, passing it along as it had served me well. That bell had been given to me by another biker. I'm not hanging around bikers these days and so no one knows or is likely thinking they ought to get a bell for Hazel and me.
What to do.....
I am assigning meaning, weight, importance to the bell, and by doing so, I am increasing its power over me. Is the fact that I am thinking about and writing about this bell going to impact my riding naked of the bell? What about the fact that I just wrote that sentence? Have I now surrendered to the gremlins by broadcasting that I have no shield?
It's a conundrum. I could ask for a bell and get some protection. But what if I need that extra bit that comes from unsolicited receipt? Have I now doomed myself by writing that sentence?
I am wondering if I ought not ride until I get a bell. The notion of wiping out around a gravel covered corner or being t-boned by an SUV driver too busy talking on his Motorola Razor to notice Hazel and me is highly unappealing. I wince at this thought as do men when someone mentions being kicked in the balls.
Have I doomed myself by writing that paragraph?
This feels like Poe's Tell Tale Heart. I can hear the ringing of the bell I don't have. It started softly but is now bellowing strong. As I put on my full face helmet, the ringing bounces around, killing non-bell thoughts. I am my own brand of gremlin.
"It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night."
Have I doomed myself by writing this essay?
I need a damn bell, and I am NOT asking for one.