a clean well lighted place again
When I finally quit this messenger shit, once and for all, I’m going to open a bike shop. A big bright historic space with huge storefront windows and high ceilings and wood floors. With passive solar heating in the winter, and well placed shade in the summer. I’m going to work there all the time, six or seven days a week. The shop will be beautiful, stocked with every bike tool ever invented. French, Italian, Japanese, you name it, I will have it, hung neatly on the shop walls. Everything in its place. A place for everything. I will have two Campagnolo corkscrews with cherry handles. I will have seven different kinds of bike tool bottle openers. I will have four brands of headset presses. The 3000 square foot work space will have work stands and tools for 5 full-time mechanics, so I can work on 5 of my bikes all at once. Two air compressors enclosed in sound proof cases. Truing stands bolted down to work benches 42.5 inches off the ground. I will have two Phil Wood spoke cutters/threaders. There will be cement floors and drains built in so I can hose it all down when the kegs overflow or the chainlube explodes or the cat pukes or the shit hits the fan. I will have shop dogs and shop cats. The bike book library will be monumental. The furniture will be well designed, attractive, comfortable and functional. There will be no non-dairy creamer. The coffee will be good. The beer will be cold. There will be wholesale accounts with everyone for everyone. Paul, Phil, Chris, Grant, Brooks, Mavic, Moots, Sachs, Sidi, Swobo. For me and my friends of course.
I will be at work all the time. I’ll show up at 5:30am, or 3:00pm, or not at all. I’ll spend the night. I’ll stay for two weeks straight. Or take a week off if I feel like it. However, the shop will not be open to the public. The sign on the door will say “closed”, and if you flip it over it‘ll say “closed”. I’ll also have a large neon CLOSED sign, and it’ll be on all the time, like a beacon of freedom constantly sending its message, at all hours of the day and night. I’ll be in there working hard on my own bikes. Or on poetry, freelance writing, silk-screening, carpentry, cooking breakfast, pondering or drinking beer and pondering. The shop hours will not be posted. The phone will not be connected, so people cannot call and ask about the shop hours. And there will not be any employees because I won’t need any. This will eliminate any potential human relations issues, staff meetings, communication failures, personality problems, scheduling conflicts, and all the junior-high shit that goes along with trying to run a business with employees. Fuck that.
I will be in the shop but I won‘t be selling anything. Retail bullshit will not enter my sphere of existence. The windows will have incredible displays of bicycle art and elegant simple functional bikes because I like window displays. And I’ll spend hours creating them for my own enjoyment, not to attract customers. I‘ll be in the shop, reading the NY Times, listening to Miles Davis, or the White Stripes, or the Minute Men, or Bob Mould, or Guided by Voices, or Modest Mouse, or Guns n Roses or NPR and drinking coffee and beer and beer and coffee. Customers with stupid questions or flat tires or sheepskin seat covers or cracked carbon fiber forks can knock on the door all day long and I might even notice them between Hüsker Dü songs playing on the Bose Wave Radio, but probably not, and if I do, I’ll give them a half smile then get back to my work. My work as a sole proprietor and my work drinking beer and pondering.
The back door will be unlocked and open whenever I am in the shop and friends can stop by and bring their dogs and work on their bikes and add or subtract to the cold beer in the double wide Sub-Zero fridge or hit the bottomless pot of black coffee. The shop will include a beautiful stainless steel commercial sized kitchen. And a sleeping loft and an amazing bathroom with more magazines than a news stand, and I will not have to worry about customers fucking it up, because there will not be any customers.
---I wrote this little ditty 16 or 17 years ago. It still speaks to me sometimes bubbling to the surface like on Monday when this line repeated in my head and actually came out of my mouth:
“... all the junior-high shit that goes along with trying to run a business with employees.”