Just Another Spoke in a Wheel


Bless you Joan.

Thank you, for listening to my rant about work tonight.

Which I blame Dirty for, more on that later. I should never have had a cup of coffee and a shot of espresso, but mama has a hard time turning down the caffeine, and it was really good.  Plus, put me on the back of a motorcycle for a few hours and I am ramped up.

I think I may have prattled Joan’s ear right the hell off.

Thank God for my friend, who put me, and my job right down into proper perspective.

It was a lovely, unexpected surprise to run into Joan tonight.  We ended up having a late night burger at Burgermeister and caught up with each other and our various exploits.

Joan is in the city this weekend and we are planning a Sunday girls hang out.  What, I am not quite sure yet, but an adventure is in the offing.

I was pretty jacked up, I am still a bit, on caffeine, plus I was hungry, plus I had not seen Joan, plus I had just been straddling a motorcycle and regardless of the sitting still portion of my evening, it all just came tumbling out.

I let off more work steam than I even realized was building up.

Two things struck me tonight in my conversation with Joan.  First, she said that it’s rare when some one cares about their job.  I forget this.  It is rare.  Most people are just getting by.  I give a good god damn.

I really do.

I feel like it shows.

Mostly to the customers who end up sending me sweet e-mails and voicemails, chocolates from Switzerland (literally), postcards, letters, and thank you notes.  Plus the photos of bicycles from all around the US and the globe.  The happy, happy, squeal of excitement when I call a customer and let them know there bike is ready for pick up.

The little dance of joy I do when I design a good bike, I really do a little soft shoe shuffle, it’s silly, but I can’t help it, my feet get happy.  I got to do some fun designs in the last couple of days and there were some feet doing little jigs about the shop.

I care about what I do, and I care about the job I do.  I care enough to do a good job.

I also get really annoyed when some one gets in the way of my efficiency and questions my efficacy.

I am doing a good job, leave me alone.

This can lead me to a dangerous place, overly efficient, overly confident, overly relied upon and left alone and when I get slammed I am on my own because everyone else is off doing something else–because I can hold my own on my own.  What is that thing they say about self-reliance failing us?

The second thing Joan said that struck me was that I was not getting paid enough to be as concerned with the job as I am.  I either need to get more money or be less concerned.

I actually have so much work at work that I considered going in today early to tackle it all, I really did.

I woke up this morning and used the facilities and my brain started in about all the things I needed to do and I could not fall asleep for almost an hour.  I was so riled up I almost did just get up and go.

I am very grateful that reason, sleepy reason, but reason, none the less, won out and I went back to sleep.

Joan said, you are just a spoke in the wheel.

I am.

I am not the hub, I am not the center of the Universe.  The shop will live or die with or without me.  I will just keep showing up and doing the best that I can for as long as I can.  But I need to leave it there.

Which is what I did manage to do today.

I got done early.  I asked to be done early, despite the paper work pile up.  I opted out of the two hours of over time that I should have gotten paid for yesterday for a two-hour early leave time today.

I wanted to go for a motorcycle ride.

I wanted to be outside flying over hills and underneath the sky.  I wanted to hold on tight to a cute guy and feel the exhilaration of the city as the streets scrolled out underneath the wheels.

I wanted to get so into the moment that there was no work.  There was no bicycle.  There was sky and wind and warm body, a motor, wheels, me squeezing tight.

He told me to hold on tight and I did.

Oh, ok.

I was a little concerned, I was self-conscious about my big bicycle thighs clamping on to his hips, but then, paradoxically, I was also really comfortable holding onto him.  In fact, I almost felt sleepy at times.  I drifted in and out, it was calming and exciting.  The mixture of feelings were intense.

It was good to go for a ride.

It was good to not be in control.  It was good to trust and hang on and just let myself enjoy the moment.

We rode out toward the ocean and up around Sea Cliff, then over through the Presidio and down by the foot of the Golden Gate.  Then we went for coffee at Contra Band over on Hyde and California, in my old neck of the woods, and sat and discussed coffee snobbery and friends of friends and bicycles and business and work and this and that.

Then I had places to be and he had places to be.

As we got back out, the inevitable happened, the fog came in.  My visor steamed up and beaded over with moisture.  I clung like a little burr to his back and I think I actually closed my eyes a few times and zoned out.

It felt like I had taken a small siesta and when I showed up at Church and Market, the fog was officially on stage, no longer hiding in the wings, and I was damp and a little cold and sleepy, then the caffeine hit.

I got a hug and scurried off into the foggy night as he headed the opposite directions to meet friends in the Avenues.  I made it to my 8 o’clock with five minutes to spare.


Then, the Joan surprise.

More perfect.

Then the dumping rant about work.  Thank you again, sweet, sweet, Joan.  I needed to hear that, I am just a spoke in the wheel.

That is all I have to be too.  I am grateful to have an honest to God work ethic, but I don’t have to kill myself for a business that is not mine.

Tomorrow I may go back to taking myself too seriously, but tonight, I’m just a wee little spoke.

Slightly bent, but a spoke none the less.

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