“How to Wash a Motorcycle: a Husband’s Guide,” by Jennifer D. Munro

Oct 1st, 2014 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

Wait for the one sunny day per year in Seattle. The lawn also needs mowing, but the bike is more time-sensitive, because you must dry it thoroughly before it gets wet again.

Park the bike behind your wife’s car, preventing her from exiting the driveway. It’s not like she’s going to give birth or another pressing matter that requires a swift exit. She can admire you and your bike while she waits around to go nowhere special at no particular time, which you are sure is how her life works.

Park on the sidewalk so that pedestrians must veer around you. Pause often to inspect your bike. Stand back for perspective, like Gauguin. Passersby will then be certain to ogle you. Or perhaps they are admiring your bike: you, your bike—same thing.

Filch the dishwashing liquid from under the kitchen sink. Do not return it to its proper place when you are finished. You will find the liquid soap only when you next need it to wash home-brewing equipment. This is a kindness to your wife: she should not be hand-washing dishes, anyway.

Soil the dishwashing sponge. Never buy new sponges to replace it (see kindness to wife, above).

Also take the last scouring pad but leave the empty box on the shelf. You bought the scouring pads, so no need to feel guilty. The empty box will serve as an occasional reminder to buy more scouring pads…until you forget that the box is empty and you therefore assume, as does your wife, that you don’t need to purchase more scouring pads.

Locate your wife’s lingerie-soaking bucket. She tries to hide it from you, but it’s difficult for even an enterprising wife to conceal a purple bucket, which she has color-coded so you know it’s hers. When finished, remember to return the off-limits bucket to its secret place; remind yourself to clean it thoroughly later.

Drag the hose out to the driveway and leave the yard gate open so the dog can taste freedom (you are the supreme liberator! Ride Free or Die!).

Now: Wash your bike. Grunt in effort as you squat down to sterilize every nook and cranny of that beautiful machine. Track water and mud inside the house when you need Q-tips in order to reach that elusive spot behind the disc brakes, which will nag at you if you don’t polish it. Leave soiled Q-tips on the lawn; they are organic and will eventually decompose in the long grass.

You could eat off that machine now. You could use the mufflers as mirrors. You could perform emergency surgery on the gas tank, with no fear of infection. You could thaw a frozen chicken on the fender with no risk of contamination. You must never ride the bike, which would reduce all your effort to naught.

Tuck a tarp around the bike. You cannot twist ties back on bags of bread, but you can arrange a complicated network of bungee cords to secure the tarp. A tarp is preferable to storing the bike in the garage, because a tantalizing peek of handlebars poking out lets passersby know you own a bike, and they will wonder if it’s a Harley. (It’s not.) Besides, it won’t fit in the garage.

Leave the hose stretched out and the faucet on. The hose-nozzle will eventually build up pressure and let loose a blast of water past midnight, but your wife keeps you supplied in earplugs, so you sleep through it. She can’t wear earplugs, because she says she can then hear all of the noises inside her head. You can’t relate because all is quiet and peaceful between your ears, especially now that your bike is clean. Good thing she hears the water kick on and deals with it (tripping on the hose). Imagine your water bill otherwise.

Final touch: artful smears of grease on your nose and earlobe, placed just so—like a Hollywood makeup artist applied them to a chiseled, leading man after he saved the planet without breaking out of a monotone. Lean in to kiss your wife, who sighs and says, “Done already?” Naturally you haven’t noticed the grease, because you’ve been too busy admiring your bike and pumping up your biceps in your ribbed tank top, but your wife sure does, and she tells you how sexy you look. Maybe she says cute, but you prefer to interpret the compliment as sexy.

Casually mention that you’re headed in for a nap now that you’ve exhausted yourself with a cleaning project. If you’ve played your cards right, she’ll suggest that she join you—with that unmistakable look intimating that you’re both about to get lucky. She’ll join you in a sec, she says, soon as she rinses and hangs something-or-other she’d left soaking in her bucket.
Defenestration-Jennifer D. MunroJennifer D Munro was a Top Ten Finalist in the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Competition. She is a freelance editor whose writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Salon and The Bigger the Better the Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty and Body Image. Her humorous stories about sex and the sexes are collected in The Erotica Writer’s Husband. She blogs about unconventional motherhood and a quarter-decade marriage to an unconventional man at www.StraightNoChaserMom.com. Website: www.JenniferDMunro.com.

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