I bought a motorbike a few weeks ago as an emergency replacement for my scooter which is getting old and beginning to show the seventy thousand miles I've inflicted upon it. I bought it because I'm self employed, and if I'm ever late or even (horrors) don't make it at all, then I'll lose the contract, lose the house; my wife will leave me and my daughter probably disown me.
It won't be quite as tragic as that but it's nice to have insurance.
So, picture the scene. Me riding a motorbike (if it can be called that) limited to 13 horsepower, giving it slightly less power than my daughter's hair drier, when I'm passed by a girl, I think, on her extraordinarily enormous hog on the motorway whilst coming home.
I don't know if it was the raised middle finger that bothered me more than her roaring past at 140 mph with an insolent toot of the horn, or the image of all my friends back home, who still ride real bikes. If they ever saw me I'd be laughed out of the riding club to which they still belong. In fact they wouldn't be able to laugh for crying in shame and embarrassment.
I'm trying to tell myself that it doesn't matter. These days I just want something to go to work on, saving me hours and a fortune by not using public transport - but it's not working.
If one of them calls and asks what I'm riding, I'll just lie and tell them its a Harley - and remember not to invite any of them around - every again.
That's not me by the way. That's far larger than the machine I bought. Maybe I should have actually looked at it before parting with the cash.