My 14 year old daughter and I like to catch lunch at Rudy’s BBQ on Sundays after her volleyball practice. I love everything about Rudy’s, especially having one two minutes from the house.
Yesterday was a typical Sunday at Rudy’s on 360. Great cross section of Austinites, young and old and of all stripes, including a table of bikers. More on that in a minute.
One of the cool features of Rudy’s is the really nifty hand washing machine. Think of it as a hand jacuzzi. You stand before this contraption which has two cylinders into which you put your hands. Upon doing so, a swirling cascade of warm water starts spraying on your hands, for about 30 seconds, then stops automatically. You then remove your reinvigorated wet paws, shake them dry (or use a paper towel if you have manners) and then place one of the provided “I Have Clean Hands” stickers on your shirt. Sort of like the “I Voted” stickers you get after voting, but for some reason the “Clean Hands” sticker provides a greater sense of accomplishment.
So it was this Sunday, that my daughter and I treated our sticky BBQ stained hands to the epidermal delight. I went first, then she, and as we stood there, a biker in full dress stepped up behind us. What happened next ought to be illegal in a Texas BBQ Joint.
The biker was a newbie at this particular form of hand washing. He asked us hesitantly. “you just stick yer hands in there?” “Yep”, I responded.
Upon doing so, the biker seemed startled. “Whoa! That’s hot water…really hot…Ahh!…Woooo …Yikes … Oh, Jeez that’s hot … Oh man…Whoa Mamma …” No exageration, I’m not kdding. At this point I said, “Oh come on Dude, you’re a tough Texas Biker. You can handle a little hot water can’t you?!”
He smiled and said, “Oh yeah …thanks for reminding me”.
He was probably an Orthodontist or a middle manager at Dell. Every Sunday is Halloween in Central Texas as weekend warriors trade in their Dockers and Polo Shirts for their Biker Get’up. They get on their Harley’s and take a 3 or 4 hour spin through the Texas Hill Country, stopping somewhere for the requisite BBQ lunch, then return home and park the trusty steed in the coveted indoor garage bay while the Accord bakes in the hot driveway sun.
I have to admit, I wanna be one of those guys, but it’s hard to tell who’s a real Biker in Austin anymore. These aren’t your 1980’s Austin bikers, but they try to look like them. All in fun I suppose, and nobody thinks twice. These are not scary people. They are to real bikers what Pergo is to solid Oak flooring.
I’m almost 50, gone grey mostly. I need a Harley real bad. Or a red convertible. Or something. I see these guys, accompanied by their saggy ‘ol ladies in complementary attire, out living the real pretend biker life, and it looks like fun. But also a joke. I’m conflicted.
Middle aged men of Texas, if a 14 year old girl can handle the hot water in the hand washer at Rudy’s, and you can’t, take the Harley home and park it, take off the leather, shave the scruffy face you’ve been saving since Thursday to look the part, and go get a manicure. But don’t dishonor the mystique of the true Texas Biker by squealing like a stuck pig at the hand washer in Rudy’s.