When you’re close to someone, you learn all sorts of things about subjects you might not normally be interested in.
My gentleman friend is hugely knowledgeable about yoga because of me.
Thanks to me, he knows how to make really good hummus. Shares my strong opinions on permission marketing. Knows his way around east Berlin.
Thanks to him, I know way more than I ever imagined possible about the history of the west coast, motorcycles and the San Francisco Giants.
I also now know about birds, ukuleles, the Trade Winds, typefaces, why things break and eighteenth century sailing.
It’s all interesting. Mainly because someone I care about finds it interesting. But one thing I really love hearing about is the Rally.
I need to tell you about the Rally.
My gentleman friend is a long-time scooter guy.
(Though right now he mostly rides his motorcycle — a gorgeous 1976 BMW that’s the newest bike he’s ever owned, in case you were wondering).
So even though I don’t ride, I’ve learned all sorts of things about scooter culture.
And my favorite bit is the Scooter Rally. It is a marvelous thing. A thing I need to tell you about.
What happens at a Rally.
A rally is a ride. A group ride.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s a big, complicated, crazy event. Attended by scooter enthusiasts. And full of madness and hilarity and wonderfulness.
And because I cannot do it justice, I made my gentleman friend answer a bunch of questions.
An Interview with my Gentleman Friend about the thing that is the Rally.
A Rally reinforces the culture.
Me: So the way I understand it, one thing people like about scooter rallies is how they’re an excuse to get together and hang out.
MGF: Right. It’s important that everyone have this thing — riding — in common, but riding isn’t the thing. Or: it ends up not being the most important thing.
I mean, it’s vital that there be a riding component, but there’s way more time talking about riding, thinking about riding, socializing, making contacts, playing goofy games…
Me: And what you get from a ride is …?
MGF: They reinforce the culture.
Once the rally is over, you’ve been immersed in this bath of people who are totally nuts in pretty much the same way that you’re totally nuts.
So when you go back to the world of people who aren’t nuts the way that you are, it’s still with you. You carry with you that glow of approval and camaraderie.
And a patch! Really, I can’t stress enough how important the patches are.
There is much accumulation of swag.
Me: A patch. Got it. And a t-shirt?
MGF: Exactly. Vital.
Also a pint glass. Because drinking reigns supreme. That is actually the most important part of the scooter rally. The drinking.
Which doesn’t seem like it would go with, you know, piloting a vehicle. That’s why the riding is in the morning.
You find your people.
Me: So how long is a rally generally?
MGF: Usually it’s a long weekend. Or just a weekend. Or a day, depending on the club.
Me: And do you know people before you go?
MGF: There’s generally a rally at the same time in the same city every year. It has a name.
So maybe the first time you go you don’t know anyone, so you feel kind of … hesitant, But you’ve probably been reading about it, or connecting online, so you’ll recognize names and faces.
And bikes. If it’s in your town you’ll recognize people’s bikes. It’s a great excuse to talk to people. And once you’ve gone to one, you’ll know a ton of people the next time.
And something happens. Various crazy, wonderful things.
Me: So you go for the ride but really you go for the bigger experience.
MGF: Yeah. I’m really the wrong person to be talking to about this part though, being admittedly an anti-social weirdo.
Me: No, that’s good.
MGF: Well, it’s just that I don’t have as much of a social experience as other people do.
But I just love the rides. It’s such an unlikely, exhilarating experience to be in a crowd of a hundred vintage scooters, just riding. It’s your people. Doing crazy, wonderful shit.
Me: What kinds of crazy, wonderful shit?
MGF: Oh, it’s almost a rule that there be crazy, wonderful shit.
For example, there’s usually some kind of competition, like a rodeo or an obstacle course or some weird, ridiculous, impossible game that you play on scooters but is actually not something anyone could do.
Involving, say, teeter-totters and refrigerator boxes.
And there are lots of awards: farthest traveled, most beautifully restored vintage, crap scooter, and so on.
What makes rallies so Rally-like.
Me: What’s the coolest award?
MGF: Oh, I’d have to say Best in Show.
[Here he pulls out a bunch of back issues of Scoot! Quarterly — he used to be their design person — to show me the Rally Review sections, and starts waxing nostalgic.]
Me: So back to why rallies are so Rally-like. The good stuff.
MGF: They have names. And costumes.
Like the Portland Dirty Clown Run. Mile-High Mayhem. Or the Poke-and-Dragger, a cross-dressing poker run (a traditional motorcycle-ey event that’s sort of like a motorized card game).
Me: What else?
MGF: All kinds of ludicrous games, winning stuff in the ludicrous games, drinking, mayhem, companionship, goofing off, much letting-down-of-hair.
Making new friends, seeing old ones.
Me: It’s fun.
MGF: Uh, yes. That is the whole point, really.
Me: I love it. I want a Rally! I want a Rally!
This is the concept that I have been searching for.
I’ve been aching to do an event that is completely different from the types of events I usually run.
Usually I teach stuff. And we go through wacky, transformative processes together. And there is time for integrating all that good stuff.
It’s an experience. A big, powerful, everything-is-different-now experience. And it’s awesome and I love it.
But I also want a new thing: something that’s not about learning or processing or experiencing. Something that’s about doing. Your own thing. But in community.
Not a retreat. And not a seminar.
A space to show up and get a bunch of stuff done on a project that you’re already working on. Movement!
With panache. And fabulousness. And costumes. And being extremely silly.
So I’m going to arrange a Projectizing Rally.
It doesn’t have a name yet.
But everyone will show up with a project they’re working on, and there will be playing.
And drag names. And costumes. And badges. And pie, of course.
Comment zen for today….
This is a new-ish idea, which means that it’s still a tiny, sweet thing. Which means we need to tread gently with it.
So I’m not ready for all the ways this could go wrong or not work or whatever.
What I would love is excitement! And drag names! And things that we could take from a Rally and apply to other things! RALLY!
EDIT! Also: go ahead and invent drag names for yourself and leave them in the comments. I need some help with the brainstormings. Selma is going as Duckface a l’Orange. Probably.