Somebody asked me once: “Why in the hell are you wearing cat ears on your helmet?” My answer was quite simple: “Because I can.” I paused, then added: “…and the kids like it.” He didn’t get it. Why do I wear silly stuff like that when I’m out riding on my motorcycle? It started on the Harley. I actually did it because I could. I’m a dork. I do silly things all the time. I don’t take life too seriously, nor myself; most of the time I actually succeed. I ordered the cat ears (tested up to 175 mph) and stuck them on my lid, and rode around on my black Sportster wearing my all-black gear, my black carbon fiber full-face helmet and black and white cat ears with matching tail stuck to my menacing crown with the aid of suction cups.
I soon noticed that I seemed to have more fans in the younger demographic. Children started waving at me, smiling, and pointing excited little fingers in my general direction. Toddlers’ faces pressed up against the rear windows of minivans became a regular sight. I waved back and acknowledged the little ones; it really made me feel good. It made me giggle, too. Kids also reacted differently to me when I was slowly cruising through a shopping center lot on the lookout for a place to park. They didn’t seem as scared of “big black man” on the big black bike. The engine noise seemed to bother them less also. It is as if the addition of those two small things of fake fur and plastic made all the difference in the world. It opened up an opportunity of curious fascination, rather than induce fear and uncertainty.
That is how Miss Busa’s Cat Ear Tradition started. I am now on my third set. I have never had any negative experiences with them. They are a conversation starter, an icebreaker, and everybody just thinks they are the coolest things ever. Riders and non-riders alike react positively. Who would have thought that such a small gesture would bring about such a dramatic change in perception and hence attitudes?
In South Carolina I have the Clemson University fans chasing after me with their cell phone cameras, asking me if they could take a picture. I wore my tiger set there once and I couldn’t figure out what in the world had gotten into these people. I thought it quite strange and bordering on the verge of freakish. Husband then explained that I was in “Clemson Country”, that those people were Clemson Tiger fans; mostly Football and Basketball, but Clemson University’s athletic department offers a host of other sports for both men and women.
I’ve had a dude on a ‘Busa literally chase me down to finally catch me at a red light, flip his face shield up and yell over the combined sound of our Hayabusas’ engines that I must let him take a picture with his phone, his daughter doesn’t believe that girls ride motorcycles. I laughed and gave him the thumbs up, he whipped out his BlackBerry snapped the pic, the light changed he turned right and I went straight. I haven’t seen him since. Maybe his daughter now rides one of those electric minibikes. 😉
It is stuff like this that makes me love the ride even more.
Before I forget…
And for all you (online) haters of Miss Busa’s magic cat ears who think that this is just the gayest thing ever, let me state for the record: Yes, it is. It’s totally gay!!! Gay, GAy, gAy, gAY, gaY! In the traditional meaning of the word; but you people wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?