One late spring afternoon, back in my last year of high school, Howie Hirons and I were riding our bikes eastbound on ‘the 401′, playing hookie and enjoying a glorious day to be astride a motorcycle. Suddenly, Howie motioned for me to take an upcoming off-ramp in a part of town I didn’t think we had any particular business. I thought maybe he was experiencing mechanical trouble.
When we got to a stop sign, Howie pointed to a large driver examination centre as our destination; said he’d been meaning to make an appointment to take his his motorcycle licence test for some time. I laughed; we’d both been riding ‘illegal’ for some time.
I followed Howie into the building, at first thinking I’d just wait for him, but eventually fell into the line beside the one Howie was waiting in. The lines crept up with Howie getting to the counter first. He was given an appointment in about three weeks. A minute or so later, I was getting an appointment about the same time down the road. Then, with a rustle of paper, the clerk looked up and announced he’d just had a cancellation. Would I like to do my motorcycle licence test right now?
Well, the test went uneventfully. Not more than an hour later, Howard and I were heading westbound on the ‘401’, back towards our stomping grounds in the West End. He kept looking over at me from time to time, shaking his head; we’d headed out as a couple of minor scofflaws on two wheels, and one of us was returning legally authorized to be operating a motorcycle on a public road. Both of us told that story and laughed about it more than once in the days that followed.