I have often said that I cannot tell all of my story because it is not just mine. This is still true. It occurs to me, though, that if I don't tell my story someone else will.
When Shorty and I first started dating, I was a dispatcher for the Sheriff's Office and he was a Master Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. We lived in a small town in the California desert where motorcycles were prevalent. Shorty and a lot of his friends rode Harleys. I did not. The only things that I knew about bikes and bikers were what I knew from my job. This information did not give me a very favorable view of motorcycle clubs and/or gangs.
This was not a problem with Shorty. He maintained that the reason to ride a bike was for the freedom; the freedom of the road, the freedom from restriction, the freedom to be who you really were. He maintained that the minute you joined a club, any club, whether it was an outlaw gang or a sanctioned club, you immediately gave up your freedom. You belonged to someone else. Someone else told you when to ride, where to ride, and who to ride with...or not.
He had a bunch of friends who rode together but only when it worked out that way. There were no meetings, no dues, no rules, no regs. Just a bunch of bros riding together, enjoying the ride and the company.
This was how it was for 25 plus years. Shorty was, and always will be, a biker.
In March of this year, I moved into my own house and we separated. The reasons had nothing to do with his motorcycle or my job.
I always knew that Shorty did not like to be alone. How much he disliked being alone soon became evident. He joined the VFW. He joined the Elks. He found new friends to ride with and party with (although the partying when you're 68 and diabetic is a great deal different from when you're 41 and Jack is your best friend). It turns out that Shorty was a groupie...and for 27 years, I was his group. I left and he looked elsewhere.
He and his friends decided to start their own club. He showed up one day with a patch on his vest, a logo on his hat, and an abbreviation (SYLB) also on his hat. I asked what it stood for and he told me. It references an outlaw motorcycle club that I will not publicize in my blog. I asked him what the hell he was doing and he said that he wasn't really part of them, he just needed their approval to wear his own patch because he lives in their territory.
I went sideways.
I told him that I was pretty sure that the Blue Knights didn't get permission from these miscreants to wear their patch. I told him that I was pretty sure that the Vietnam Vets motorcycle club didn't get permission from these jerks to wear their patch. I told him that I was pretty sure that the Christian Motorcycle Club didn't get permission from this outlaw club to wear their patch. He kept telling me that it was no big thing, that he wasn't part of them, that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. I kept telling him that we didn't live in their g.d. territory, we lived in the state of Texas in the United States of America and that I could not understand him giving up the freedom for which he fought so that some cop-hating assholes could give him "permission" to wear a patch. I asked why he didn't join one of the sanctioned clubs previously mentioned instead of joining an outlaw club. He had no answer except that I didn't understand.
I asked how he could show so little respect for what I do for a living, what his daughter does for a living. I asked how he could have so little respect for the laws of the country for which he gave 25 years of his life. I asked him how he could put me in such a compromising position. He said it didn't matter and I was overreacting.
I told him that I thought that he was a coward and that I was ashamed to be his wife.
I told him that I did not want his vest or his patch or his hat in my house or on his body when we were together. We have not been together since.