Sunday, July 02, 2006

Everyday a lie like the last...An Introduction


There i stood, in the middle of the floor, staring out into the nothingness that was the blank back door, with that stupid look i get on my face when something profound was happening and i had no idea what it was. I was 20 minutes into the 5 second pause at that point, with another 2 hours left to go, i knew that door would explain a lot to me by the time everything comes into focus.

And it hit like a ton of bricks...the shop has that ability, to go from silent, mechanical, mundane work into an eruption of laughter, homosexual jokes, play fights, high school tricks, and flatulence that seem so absolutely acceptable to be happening that one forgets there was a task in the first place. And hit i was, awash with a sound of air compressor vibrations, employees bantering just outside the shop about the race they just imagined they were 'in', and the clock like BANG, BANG, BANG of hammer to steel that is, again, absolutely acceptable in a place like a bike shop. All this noise broke my satori and making me aware of what it was i came to be part of every day.

'Goddammit Milky' i yell over the jet like hum of the compressor, 'are you ever gonna' fix that fucking thing, or are we gonna have to put up with that shit all week?' regarding his use of hammer to steel.

'uhhh' Milky says while adjusting his wire rim glasses with the meat of his index knuckle 'i, ummm..GODAMNIT Wisowaaaa...' He sort of trails off with a half cock grin that is as much in jest as it is in homicidal thoughts.

Let us explain Milky. At roughly 6'3 and weighing in at 200 pounds of pure muscle, and curly shoulder length hair, Milky would resemble more of a Ogre than, well, a Milky. Usually clad in torn, tight fitting (some would say 'young') shirts and shorts/pants straight out of the 80's in both color and cut, one gets the immediate sense that they are in the presence of someone that is a)very eccentric and intelligent enough to recognize that little in life has to do with your physical appearance, at least in terms of productivity (reproductivity being the exception to that rule of course) or b) he is a homeless lad, who has little regard for hygiene/societal mores of which these matters have grown out of. Either way you may view him, Milky remains to be the idiot savant of the bike doctor. One who on the outside, even in his lack of conversational skills, is easily one of the greater thinkers to have ever graced the presence of the store. One cannot help but think that at some point Milky, ripped shorts, bloodied t-shirt and all, will either be working on the next space shuttle mission, or locked in some barn studying string theory of which the world will never be privy to.

'Every goddamn time you come in the shop Wisowaty, you have something smart to say, your an asshole' James says half in shit stirring fun, and half in defense of the Milkster. 'Has anyone ever told you how much of an ass you are, really?' He says with his elfish grin.

Now before launching into the tear jerking end to this first 2 minute intro into the life of the 'Shop' James deserves his introduction. At the complete opposite end of the human spectrum, in comparison to Milky, we have James, more commonly known as Tucker, who proudly stands at 5'2 and weighing a staggering 113 pounds. Tucker playing Tucker, rather than Tucker playing the customer friendly 'Jame's' is a sight to behold. One first and foremost notices his immediate demand for respect, albeit through self condescension and pity. Again, he is five foot two, and this requires one to fend for themselves differently than someone of taller stature may go about making their presence known...he jumps you to the gun at making fun of himself. This is a powerful weapon, one of not only self assurance through deprecation, but one of the intelligence that is present, which surely there is.

I smile, '' handing him a dollar and and empty brown plastic cup 'a coffee please.'

'And what would you like in it Mister Wisowaty, may i suggest some of my spittle?' again, with that mischievous grin.

'No, i'll take it like i take Jeff's Sister' i retort 'Hot, Black, and strong' Which then leads to a outbreak of laughter from everyone in the shop.

'ANYONE ELSE WANT SOMIN' FROM SEV?' Tucker yells in his juvenile way at which point BS looks up, eyes glazed over from a hangover the night prior and in no mood for screaming in his shop.

'Gimme a coffee too, and leave your voice over there' BS demands in a whisper.

Brian Shannon. BS. B to the motherfuckin' S. He is like the shop hero these days...or more correctly the shop seer. He is all things intuitive. If there is a question of mechanical workings, BS can find you the answer, if he does not already know it. If you have have a question of musical taste or better, your lack thereof, BS will influence you not through words (though he will tell you, your favorite band is shite) but through stereo. BS will also drink your ass under the table. Then come into work the next day and rebuild a fork, overhaul a bike, finish 12 repairs, and finish with the same thing that led to his glassy stare in the first place, a beer.

'Nice' Says Jeff 'Yeah, really James, can you really be any louder?'

James shoots a glance and skips out the back door.

Rolling his eyes Jeff moves to the bench at which James was working and begins to straighten things up. It looks as if the zoo keeper has arrived and is now in to clean the cage of an imminently returning creature that will constantly create the same mess again and again. Jeff has this way of immediacy about him. Everything must be done now, regardless of what the future holds. He is like the matron of the shop. I do not say this intending it to be an insult, to emasculate him in anyway, in fact of all the people around the shop, his sexuality is the one that one would question last. So as matron of the shop Jeff's primary job becomes harassing anyone that comes through the threshold and steps on the black marbled linoleum floor. The harassment comes in many forms, usually intended to anticipate the forgetfulness that he feels infects everyone, save him, whom works within those walls. He is also a integral member of the management clown syndicate, as his role is that of the always respected, always solidly in charge dictator. Where the other three of us tend to drop this banner from time to time (some more often then others) Jeff is solidly known as manager 100% of the time (respected roughly 70% of that time)

When speaking of the management, one must also mention the lack thereof which often times is a direct result of the people whom we are trying to manage. As i myself was in the past, the 'new' kids are very much anti-authoritarian. To try and target each persons distaste for administration would be as futile as asking why everyone that works there tends to float to the back. One can make sweeping generalizations about it, but its the personal that counts, and that just cannot be touched sometimes. If i was to make an educated guess, however, i would attribute it to the small business ethic of 'roll your sleeves up and do it yourself' When you see a self motivator at the top (which surely we have one at the top) it is thereby the rule to follow. With Steve (said 'top') we have the Horatio Alger of the shop. The patron (to Jeff's motherly figure) that pulls himself up by his own bootstraps and creates something extremely impressive without giving the impression of the difficulty to get here. Steve likes to rule by the use of others. He will lob little explosives every now and again, but lob is all he will do, allowing us three to spread the shrapnel among everyone. This proves to be very effective in the sense of being liked, it's difficult to be hated on if you don't do anything to hate in the first place.

Saturday, July 01, 2006