The Barter Economy

Last month my friend Ed rode to Bike Week in Daytona, Florida. He goes every year, and since it’s a long ride there and back, things can and do happen. This year’s thing was a medical emergency: a detached retina. Ed started seeing floaters in one eye after arriving at Daytona. The floaters gradually congealed into a circular blind spot, forcing him to stop and find a doctor. He was in the Panhandle at that point, 300 miles into the first day of the ride home. His riding companion was another Paul, a mutual friend and Goldwing owner (also my barber). Paul rented a U-Haul and drove Ed and the two Goldwings straight through to Tucson, a 36-hour trip, and Ed had surgery the next day.

Ed & Sue picking up our trailer

Ed’s recovering now, but he’s grounded for a month or two, unable to ride or drive. Before the Daytona trip he’d started looking for a newer Goldwing to replace his old one, and yesterday he found one. It’s in Portland, Oregon, a 2010 model with less than 4,000 miles, essentially brand new.

Problem: the seller’s skittish about bank transfers and Ed has to go there in person to hand the man cash. And Ed can’t drive. Solution: I have a motorcycle trailer Ed can use, and he has a nephew who’s willing to go with him and do the driving. This morning Ed and his wife Sue came over for the trailer; he and his nephew leave tomorrow. I almost wish I could take the nephew’s place.

I plan to use the trailer myself later in May. I’m going to haul my Goldwing to Las Vegas, then head out on a five-day ride through Nevada and California with our son Greg, who’s renting a new Goldwing for the trip. Some day, maybe in a year or two, I might use the trailer the same way Ed’s using it now, driving hundreds or thousands of miles to pick up a newer Goldwing for myself. Mine’s a 2001, and the ride in May will put it over 100,000 miles. Not much for a Goldwing, but it would be nice to upgrade a newer one.

Since my son’s renting a Goldwing for our ride in May, he asked if I still had the highway pegs that used to be on mine (rental bikes never come with accessories like that). I’d given those pegs to Ed in trade for a different kind a couple of years ago, but Ed still had them and brought them by this morning. I’ll take them with me to Vegas so Greg can bolt them on for the trip, then bring them back to Ed afterward.

There’s a lot of borrowing and trading going on here, but it’s all between friends and family. Speaking of which, Netflix’s rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer expired and they pulled the series, leaving me high and dry. I’m new to the show, only a few episodes in, and slapping myself for not watching it 20 years ago when it was new. I mentioned how upset I was on Facebook, and two different friends offered to lend me their complete Buffy DVD sets. Seriously, whatever they want to borrow from me, it’s theirs.

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