Step into my office… ...actually it’s more like one of my breakrooms in and around the sprawling 700 acre campus. These days it’s not too crowded because the furniture is wet but that doesn’t matter if your ass is already soaked and you’re dressed properly.
Same time different day.
One of those crows is my friend. He enjoys everything bagels with no cream cheese and or apple fritters. He doesn't drink coffee, he drinks rainwater that pools up on the handrails. The other crow is in training and likes whatever the first one likes.
with all due respect to bull's head 1942 this is no-eyed deer 2019 (58" x 33"x 6"). the bike parts have been kicking around the garage for years and were displayed for a while in a dark corner with the horns sadly drooping down. The gold frame found at a yard sale has been on the wall for a couple years with nothing but dull blue paint within. But this weekend it all came together when the wall behind the frame got some fresh red paint and the no-eyed deer got a couple reflector brackets to secure its horns to the wall in their full and upright position. For the holidays I plan to ziptie on a little red blinky light to create the red nosed no eyed deer. Ask me about shopping days 'til Christmas.
Just last week a driver from the government job said to me “I saw you riding down Brooklyn, looked like you’re just out for a Sunday ride. You guys don’t even break a sweat on those things do you”
I thought shit I was coasting downhill toward an intersection, my bike was empty, my route was done, it’s fucking Friday afternoon what are you talking about? But what I said was “I’m not a Jimmy John, I’m not in a hurry” and I had to stop myself from trying to explain anything more. It all pays the same and it might look like I’m riding slow but I’m actually the most efficient person in the room right now.
To the untrained eye smooth efficient movement doesn’t register and nobody embodied smooth efficiency like Tim Mason did. Cutting graceful lines and arcs through the core making money or winning races. The epitome of smooth.
Just the other week I was riding on the Burke Gilman at 7:11am toward the mothership when some guy yelled “your bag’s open” and I thought was that some joker I know joking? Was that guy just being a dick? Or did that guy think he was actually being helpful pointing out something I was not aware of? In any case he was annoying. I’m a crusty commuter with an ortlieb backpack and I ride with it open all the time unless it’s really really raining. Is it raining? You’ve seen Jackie and Jason rolling with open ortliebs all over town.
In 1998-99 I had an ortlieb backpack I wore to work as an hourly legal messenger but I had to take it off and put it on hundreds of times per day digging for documents and binder clips and affidavits and exhibits so I soon went back to a one strap bag and I sold it to another messenger after I wiped all the Keith-Haring-like-painted-design off that I put on because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
In 2019 I roll an ortlieb because it was a free promotional item for all Bike Works employees in 2014 or something like that and it still works and I only have to take it off and put it on a few times a day.
Just a couple hours ago I cut the lower third off the legs of a pristine pair of bib tights that I got at Bike Works NWT for $125 less than retail because they were a donation from a semilocal bike shop that went out of business. I’ve never been a big fan of bibshorts bibknickers or bibtights but the price was right and now they’re knickers. As the weather is getting cooler and layers start to layer up bib tights remind me of a story this messenger from Copenhagen told me. (the guy on the left) One wicked cold winter day he was layered up in various spandex getups including bib tights and or knickers as well as multiple jerseys and jackets and he had to take a piss. He made it to the mens room but by the time he began to peel off all the necessary layers to get down to business, he pissed his pants.
We made it to the 4:00 show yesterday at Central Cinema. The kids and I but we did not ride there in or on a cargo bike. The film was pretty great. I like cargo bikes. I like bikes. The film brought me to tears a few times when it touched on parenthood themes. The changes that come along with hauling around a kid or two. The changes that come along when the single life on a bike changes, when the simple life ain't so simple…
The production time of the project was long enough to show her kids growing up from two toddlers smooshed in the cargo bike to two preteens riding off on their own bikes. And that was pretty great to see.
The film also made me smile and nod in agreement when it touched on the whole idea of sitting in cars and the insulation and isolation from the world and things around you.
we didn't hang out for the panel discussion following the film because my kids were really ready to get the hell out of there. we were the first ones in and the first ones out.
It was a helluva hella corndog that day before the other day. Matt put on a good show with only three days notice. I wanted to take one photo outside Wa Legal but I didn’t then I actually tried to take one sitting in Louisa Boren and my device was frozen inoperable touch screen no touchy touchy so no photo bro. If I did take that photo it would be here side by side with this Hella photo from 12.5 years ago featuring the same Louisa Boren overlook and the same Rob Fury my fellow quinquagenarian. You’ll have to visualize it.
I didn’t wake up the next morning with a corndog tattoo but I know a few people that did.
A highlight for me was having a couple beers with Mr. Corndog on memory lane and talking about the old days of the Seattle that used to be and how there is no job that comes next after being a messenger. There is no promotion because dispatching sucks and so does the office and the mailroom at Lane Powell is not an option. There is no job that years of messengering specifically prepares you for and there is no job that even compares or offers all the little things.
I’m not a messenger but I used to be. Now I’m the final fifty fucking feet guy on an electric assist bathtub so I still get to walk in to offices and deliver things and walk out. Just this afternoon I walked into an office and kind of had to hold my breath as to not inhale too deeply the perfumes, colognes, microwave popcorns, air fresheners, aerosolized feces and simple chronic halitosis that stews and festers and makes up the atmosphere of indoor air and when I got back outside I shook my head and took a deep breath and reminded myself why I’m glad I don’t fucking work in there.
Here's to you Steve. this bud's for you and this 1999 commercial sums it up you'll just have to change the names as you hum it to yourself and put in all the security guards, traffic cops, receptionists, elevator operators, paralegals, court clerks, US marshalls, bank tellers, baristas, bar tenders, dispatchers, office workers, mail room dudes and other messengers that give you the subtle nod of recognition and respect that you've earned over the last 20 years.
I don't do a lot of book reviews but this is worth it. This is the good shit. James Tate will sit well on the shelf next to Joy Williams who wrote a book that appeared here and was perhaps the last time I talked about a book worth owning. Pour me a beer someday and ask me about the line between poetry and flash fiction or the line between prose and journalism or the line between a bike lane and a sharrow.
Can't say I knew of James Tate before this year and if I did it was lizard brain level. But when I saw his work in Poetry, then Fence, then the New Yorker it seemed to be everywhere preceding the release of this book. So I bought the book and then I learned more about him and saw his 10 or 12 other books available at the library.