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Neil Peart - so close and I had no clue - a story about threads


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Before we begin, the assumption is you know enough of Neil and his personality/desire for anonymity to see the irony here.  Additionally, I most decidedly AM a Neil fanboy, who has idolized him since my early teens.  Of my idols, he was the only one I did any daydreaming about, and while it wasn’t in THAT way, it was very ‘teenager’ in its depth (typically ending in me playing the drums on one song during a sound check).  Now, on to the story…

 

Avjet was an aircraft management company (meaning you paid them to take care of your aircraft in every way) based at the Burbank California airport.  Avjet catered to the Hollywood elite, or at least those who had money enough to use their services.  I am an employee of an aircraft manufacturer that produces business jets for folks such as these.

I am also an ‘extreme’ motorcyclist in so far as I have ridden very long distances and most certainly have the same ‘defect’ in my wiring some others such as Neil have that is only rectified by time in the saddle.

 

Walking through the Avjet parking lot one day with a coworker I see an Harley Sportster that looks like it had been abandoned there (bad shape).  I made a comment about it (what is this doing here os some such thing) and my coworker said he thought it belonged to a gentleman who was the Director of Maintenance for a big Hollywood movie producer type on one of the aircraft models manufactured by my company.  We are introduced, his name is Scott.

 

Scott has this motorcycle disease quite bad, even more so than I, or Neil, or for that matter, anyone I have ever met.  To give you a frame of reference, ultimately he will sell this Sportster with 421,000 miles on it (not joking) for $1000 to the owner of a dealership, and purchase another (which now has over 80K).  As far as the first one, aside from oil, filters, tires, final drive belt and front brake pads (the rear had long since failed), he had done NOTHING to this motorcycle, and it looked like it.  And no, the clutch was NEVER replaced (impressive).

 

As Scott and I develop a working relationship, I of course find a kindred motorcycle spirit in him.  One day I purchase ‘Ghost Rider’ and present it to him stating I think it accurately captures the therapy that is riding a bike.  He thanks me and nothing more is said.

 

What I DON’T know, and neither does Scott really, is someone else has been walking through Avjet’s parking lot (makes total sense) and sees Scott’s Sportster and asks a similar question, what is this?  That person is none other than you know who…Neil.

 

Neil is introduced to Scott, and they proceed to develop a relationship whereby Neil asks him if it’s okay as he is transiting Avjet and sees Scott’s bike in the lot to stop by his office and say Hi?  Sure Scott tells him, any time.  Over the years they meet about 15 - 20 times, basically talk about nothing but motorcycles, and Scott is never aware nor does he inquire as to who Neil is or what he does for work.  Scott simply doesn’t care.  As we are all well aware, these were the relationships Neil valued the most, just two guys (in this case motorcycle guys) talking.

 

So, the last time he sees Scott (by design, I am sure), he presents him a book (Far & Wide).  He asks him if he would like him to sign it.  Scott replies, No, that’s okay!  Neil must have been DELIGHTED!

 

Now, even with a book from me, which he has read, AND the book given to him by Neil, he STILL hasn’t connected the dots!  He takes the book home and leaves it on a table.  His wife discovers it and inquires what it is doing there and Scott tells her the story.  What comes out of her mouth shocks him, Do you have any idea what kind of special idiot you are?  This guy is the drummer for Rush, probably the best rock drummer that ever lived (and credit to Scott for marrying a woman who knows THAT!)… Scott still doesn’t really care, he is just a motorcycle buddy.

 

Of course Scott never saw Neil again, and was saddened greatly by his passing, simply as a friend…

 

Long story short, my all time man crush was moving around the same area interfacing with the same person as I for 10+ years and no-one was the wiser.  6.5 billion people in this world, and while I am far from the only Neil fanboy (and Scott was I am certain not his only anonymous friend), I find that very, very, odd.

 

If I am 100% honest I can state 97% of my emotions around this are positive.  If Neil had still been alive, I am sure envy and jealousy would have been much stronger, and I would have tried some hair brained teenage scheme to meet him, which of course would have went sideways, etc.

 

No, this was for the best, and I feel grateful I can tell this story.  R.I.P. Neil.  Although I never met you, this was close enough for me.

 

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It seems like both you and Scott could feel satisfied in the fact that you brought Neil relaxation and happiness, anyway.  You, by not being tempted to attempt more of a friendship with Neil (since you weren't aware of him)  and Scott by not knowing who Neil was. I'm sure Neil loved having just another motorcycle guy around to talk with.  :smile:  That's pretty funny that it went on for so many years, though, when his wife knew who he was.

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Thank you for sharing this story.

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