Late night at the bike shop
keep moving or die
He spent all day in front of a screen, on a phone, in a cubical. Tippy tappy went his keyboard. Tippy tappy went the keyboards all around him. It went on all day long. At quitting time, he exploded out into the sunshine.
“It’s driving me nuts bud - this job - it’s killing me. Sitting there on one place? I’m trapped. They measure EVERYTHING I do. How long are the calls? Timed. How long does it take me to have lunch? Timed. How long does it take for me to have a piss? Timed. I tell ya, they’d shave an inch off my dick if they thought it would make my work day more ‘efficient…”
“If they shaved an inch off, you wouldn’t have anything left".
“That hurts almost as much as me having to work for this damn insurance company. If I know one thing to be true it’s this: humans were not meant to be chained to a desk. I feel like I’m being strangled. All the life is getting choked outta me. This bike is the only thing that keeps me alive.
In the before times, George was a waiter. The money was pretty good, social status was low. George didn’t care. George was good at it and he loved to move.
“I miss that feeling of being slammed. Being slammed with tables and just flowing from one order to the next. I miss being able to whack my way through the weeds and then boom! I did it. The food got served. Smiles everywhere.”
“Ahhh the ‘before times,” I sighed. George had to go legit. His wife wanted a house. His tips, though plentiful couldn’t secure a mortgage. They had a kid on the way and he needed to make money. He got some shitty bank job with one some shitty bank selling shitty insurance. Beyond the pay and benefits, his work life had become a living hell.
“Now, in some ways, this job has been good for me. I ride more. I vomit myself outta my office and just go. I’m so fucking pent up. The commute is not without its troubles though. When you saw me the other day and shouted ‘hey weirdo’, I was ready to scrap.”
“You were ready to fight?”
“Yeah bro. You wouldn’t believe the number of times some jerk-face shouts insults at me from a car window when I’m on a bike.”
That’s where he was wrong. On a bike, everything feels amplified. The cars, the road, telephone poles. All of it. The grind of a 50k ride drenches me in endorphins and adrenaline. That’s the cyclists and the drivers. Then there are the other vehicles. The cars and trucks and such. Lumps of impatience weighing more than two thousand pounds travelling at speeds capable of turning human flesh into hamburger.
It’s a bit of a trip to stay calm.
“The way I see it bud, there are three types of people: Cyclists, non cyclists who are terrified of bikes and drive erratically around us and non cyclists who resent the fact we exist and try to push us off the road. They either drive trucks or German cars from what I can tell.”
“That’s pretty bleak dude”
“Yeah, well, that’s how it seems. You’re one of us though dude. Keep peddling.”
One of us? Though I’ve never wanted to belong to any group that would accept me, the joy of rolling into a bike shop, late at night with a motley crew of misfits never gets old even though we were getting old.
“I’ll tell you one thing bud, despite our age, we’re doing great. But you gotta keep moving. Plenty of time to be still once you’re dead.”
And with that, he said his goodbyes to the crew, hopped back onto his bike and spun off into the night.