My motorcycle won’t start.

My dad was out to visit recently, and he and I took a look at it. By this, I mean that he looked at it, and I watched him and pretended to understand what he was talking about. He gave me a list of four things I can check in order to potentially fix the issue–none of which I have tried, and only half of which I can remember.

This has, in effect, turned a simple mechanical failure into a personal one. Now, instead of the problem being the bike, the problem is my inability to muster the courage to work on my bike myself.

It sounds strange to say, but yes, courage. A motorcycle is an inherently dangerous piece of machinery. Even when it’s functioning perfectly, there’s only two thin strips of rubber and some safety gear separating me from the road and other cars. It’s drilled into you in motorcycle training–everything on the road can kill you. “Here’s how you can die in a corner.” “Here’s how you can die in intersections.” “Here’s how a simple painted section of street can put you under the wheels of a semi.”

The idea of disassembling components of a system that I don’t begin to understand, and then must rely on to keep me alive, is terrifying. If I make a mistake and don’t know it, I could die.

I have the manual, I have the tools, and I even have the advice of a seasoned pro on the likely source of the problem–but I just can’t bring myself to make the attempt. So now, despite the fact that my fears are completely rational, I’m not the owner of a simple broken motorcycle. I’m an incompetent coward incapable of basic maintenance tasks. You have to love how the male ego works…