The delivery guy saves the day again with a last minute rush directly to the conference room where another boring corporate meeting is in full swing. No need for a signature but he makes eye contact with a woman on the far side of room, smiles and walks back outside free from the climate controlled artificial lighting and endless horseshit that office work entails.
Last week I got a text from Steve at Bike Works that looked just like this. That’s Steve’s shadow in the corner of the classic warehouse overhead door drive side bike portrait. My first thought was it looks cool but I wasn’t sure about the size and I already have enough bikes. I was sitting on a beach in San Diego in a daze of sleep deprivation and sun exposure so I didn’t respond to the text right away.
About 23.5 hours later I responded.
Wednesday February 19, 2020 2:07pm
no thank you. But someone will love that thing.
A week later I roll home from work and junior-junior shows me a picture on my old lady’s phone featuring him sitting on that bike in the Bike Works Warehouse. He tried it on for size when they dropped junior off for her Earn-a-Bike class. When they picked her up after class they also got the bike from Tina and now that thing is in my garage. All it needs is a flat fix and junior-junior will start shredding on it and practicing some rudimentary utility cycling toting stuffed animals from point to point and delivering rocks the final fifty fucking feet.
It’s got a 16” rear wheel and two 12s up front.
When we get it rolling outside I’ll send you a better photo.
I’m not angry. I’m disappointed. I once rode the train behind a woman who was staring at her phone the entire ride. Which is pretty normal I guess. But when I caught glimpses of the device I realized she was staring at herself through the lens of her phone. Poking at her hair and pooching her lips and who knows what else. For the entire train ride.
For me this is the most annoying commuter behavior. Taking over the top spot from clipping-your-fingernails on the train.
Good morning. How are you? How was your weekend? How about this weather? Hey can I borrow those fingernail clippers when you’re done?
I held the door it’s true that doesn’t mean I wanted to have sex with you But I do I would I will We could take the elevator to the penthouse Personal service only A pickup and delivery enveloping the entire package Call when complete rush roundtrip notary signature obtain exemplified copy of the order get the complaint no exhibits
I read his essay Exchange Rate in The Gettysburg Review and started to look for more and then I found his book
at my local independent bookstore I got the one and only copy they had when I snagged it off the to-be-shelved cart before they could shelve it alphabetically in the literary essay section
your local library has ordered a copy but it's so new it hasn't even arrived yet
when I can read something at 6:15am while standing up with rain-soaked socks on a crowded train and it takes me to another place that's good. this Monson guy is good. when I say read I mean look at words printed on paper as in bound printed matter not on some electronic doo-dad device
you won't hear this song the same way after you read Exchange Rate
millions of people have never been to Spokane commemorative shot glass Expo 74 matching purple plastic back scratching ashtrays all around one big bag of motion sickness contents may have shifted during shipment 50% off full retail exhale variation on a theme strip stripe striation fake wood paneling squeegee channeling Ouija board spirit conduit follow the attention deficit expressway seven miles south merge left right on target focus unbelievably petty conversation pancake makeup thick foundation hairspray lip gloss lotion perfume empty promise idle threat talk talk shock & awe attractive distraction appetite suppressants prolonged boyhood adolescence natural progression billing cycle praying to the landlord racing the rent check in a ‘71 Monte Carlo drown it out or quiet the mind the crack of a roadmaster echoing off office plaza walls clear skies clear conscience clear the board full circle like a second hand brand new to me lunch break front brake stopping power Mathauser heaping helping self control moderation celebration inebriation light rail station jackhammer jack mormon jack and the beanstalk this little piggy went to market where inflation continues to 165psi change the subject aye aye bread & circus dancing bear wild hair smokestack flapjack unexpected heart attack sleeveless shirt short skirt amazing flirt the bailiff called angry voicemail her working copies smell like beer landscape architect mechanical engineer fear itself really nothing to fear theorize brown eyes oxidize rust battleship relationship building trust repeated repeatedly forever aftertaste precursor
It was a dark and stormy night, for 33 consecutive days… that picture is 5+ years old but it fits. Same bike different year. Different drivetrain, derailleurs, seat post, cranks, brakes, wheels and tires. But it’s the same bike.
Rusty chains as in neglected drive trains not Johnny Cash google searches or Soundgarden - Alice in Chains tributes. Ask me about the rust poking out on the chain on my commuter bike. The ultimate urban utility bike. The bike in the photo. The bike that only gets my attention when I ride it or put air in the tires and if and only if the drivetrain starts making noises it doesn’t usually make. Those noises that have something to do with 33 consecutive days of rain.
Seattle bike messengers have 33 distinct words for rain (this isn’t actually true, but what if it was?) To the untrained ear they all sound the same. However with very subtle intonation, annunciation and pronunciation there are differences that experienced messengers communicate. Linguistics experts point to body language and hand gestures which add to meaning as does the context of the specific conversation. These cryptic conversations carry layers of meaning most people are completely oblivious to. But they’re there with their camaraderie in the mix.
The truth is, in the midst of 33 consecutive days of rain the last thing I want to talk about is the rain. Especially with some pasty undercooked umbrella toting office worker on an elevator.
is it raining?
Why the hell are we talking about the weather? Because I don’t think you’re an umbrella toting office worker and I’m not looking for safe conversation topics just to fill the air with idle chit chat. What day is it? This all started with my rusty chain. One of those days before yesterday I put some chain lube on it and was about to call it good when I noticed how much shit was on the rear wheel. So I started to wipe some of it off and discovered a broken spoke. I have no idea how or when it happened on my brief commute to or from the light rail station. Maybe it happened when I gently stuffed my bike into an on-demand bike locker to sit for 11 hours while I was at work. But anyway I twisted the old spoke out of the nipple after I broke it free with a spoke wrench and some pliers. Then I found a close approximation sitting taped to 15 other spokes in a coffee can in the garage. No joke, a real live coffee can. I wrassled the new-old spoke into a 3-cross pattern and threaded it into the old nipple. All without even taking the wheel out of the dropouts. I felt like an Elliott Bay messenger on my coffee break on the sidewalk outside Elliott Bay bikes in the summer of 1997 wrassling a new spoke into the rear wheel of my bike, leaving the old nipple in situ and rolling back to work good-to-go in less than 12 minutes. No need for a truing stand or removal of the tire, tube, rim tape, nipple and the cassette just to thread the pristine new spoke into place. Ask me about uniform spoke tension.