Back in the early-‘80s, I had a Harley-Davidson Super Glide. Though the engine was the same 74 cu. in. as a police bike, lacking the racks and packs, the appearance was quite dissimilar. With shoulder-length hair and clad in worn jeans and a WWII era fatigue coat, the same could have been said of me.
One day I was riding the Harley south of the Square on Kennedy Boulevard, a few blocks before Montgomery. Waiting at a light in the left lane, I spotted Al, a regular at the Tunnel Bar who lived over by Christ Hospital, behind the wheel of a car to the right. As the light changed, with a black leather mittenned right hand, I gave him a wave. He glanced over at me and then drove up around fifteen feet and pulled over to the side. I was concerned that that Al might have intended to hand me numbers (illegal lottery) slips. Since running those across town on an attention-grabbing vehicle was not a formula for success, my first thought was to ignore him and just get going. It then popped into my head that he might need help and so I should at least stop and check. As I guided the motorcycle alongside the driver’s window, I looked down and saw that Al had his wallet open to a license. He was leafing through papers in the glove compartment, apparently in search of the registration and insurance documents. I rapped on the window. Al looked up very sheepishly.
“Listen and listen good, you fuckin’ drunk. I’m givin’ ya a break this time. Go home and sleep it off.”
“Thank you, officer.”