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Depth of perception. 3/3/2007

Last night, I had to attend a business dinner.  The venue was a ritzy hotel in the middle of the city, in the Japanese restaurant.  Dinner was supposed to be at 8, and by the time I shut down at work after a full day of meetings and negotiations, rushed home, had a shit, shower and shave, it was already 7:30.  This meant that driving the truck into the city was out the question, since the traffic was still horrendous after the afternoon’s rain.  I got on the bike, and rolled quickly into the city.

I drew up into the driveway of this hotel, and pulled to a stop in front of the main entrance.  I flipped up the visor, and looked for the doorman, or someone, to ask where I could park the bike.  I sighted a doorman standing just inside the glass doors of the entrance, and I motioned him over.  He looked at me, and very reluctantly came over.  I asked him where I could park my bike, and he had a look on his face that suggested that I was the equivalent of something unpleasant that he might have found stuck to the underside of his shoe.

I repeated my question, and he finally deigned to answer me.  He hold out a hand, and said that I could park my bike in the motorcycle parking around the back of the hotel.  I gave him a stare, recording his face for future reference.  He was quite obviously thinking that anyone who rode a motorcycle couldn’t afford to be a guest in that hotel.  Or that guests in that particular hotel were not the kind to descend to being anything as low class as bikers.

I rode round the back, and located the bike park.  I muttered a heartfelt “fuck you very much” for the place where the so-called motorcycle park was located.  By the side of the hotel’s building access road, like an afterthought.  It was a long, long row of motorcycles parked by the side of the road, perpendicular to the road direction.  I looked at all these little scooters and step-throughs, and realised my bike wasn’t going to fit in any of the spaces.  It was definitely going to stick out into the road.  I shrugged my shoulders, and parked the bike anyway, hoping that some drunken idiot wouldn’t come too fast down the access road and side swipe the rear of the bike.

After dinner (which was rather quite enjoyable, and much laughter and merriment was had, because contracts were on the verge of being signed), I went down to the lobby of the hotel.  I was wearing all my riding gear, and was holding the Skull helmet in my hand.  I walked past the doorman.  Who didn’t hold open the door for me, although he did so for 2 of my colleagues who were walking a little ahead of me.  This doorman was beginning to piss me off.  First was that he had formed an impression of me that wasn’t flattering, based on the vehicle I pulled into the driveway on.  The second was not holding the door open for me because I was a local, and my colleagues were expatriates.

I walked out of the hotel, and went off about my business for the rest of the night.  I thought no more about it.  Until the next morning.  I had made plans to meet up with the business guests who were visiting us in the morning, so that we could procure some local food items for one of their wives, and make a visit to a facility located outside the city.  And I suddenly realised, as I was going down in the lift at home, what was different about today.  I wasn’t riding in, neither was I driving the truck.

This next morning, I rolled into the driveway of the same hotel, sitting in the back of a long, sleek, black Mercedes with blacked out windows.  As the driver pulled the car round the driveway, I smiled as I saw the same doorman from last night come rushing out of the doors, and grabbing the handle of the car’s door.  He pulled the door open, stood up straight, and uttered a “Good Morning Sir!”, with a smile on his face.

I got out of the car, glanced at his name tag, looked him straight in the eyes, and replied, “Good morning, Doorman.  Do you remember me?”  He frowned for a second, trying to recollect who I might be of the many people he might meet in a day, and I savoured the look of shock on his face as he recognised me as the biker he had treated rather shabbily the night before.