Posts Tagged ‘bicycle shop’

Don’t Argue For Your Limitations

May 28, 2013

Because no one else is.

Everyone believes you can do this.

What ever this is.

It may take some time to learn a new system, or a new way of thinking, or a new way of doing, of getting organized and I just need to let myself be teachable and learn.

It is just like working at the bike shop.

Except that it is above the bike shop.

It was interesting to see how I felt saying hi to the guys in the shop, then heading off with my friend and new employer to her office to sit down and start in on what she needs me to do.

We were joined by another friend and her adorable dog.

Oh my god, wearing a brown color with pink polka dots, excuse me while I talk baby talk to the pup, too much cuteness going on here.

I am replacing said friend.

I do not know that I am a great replacement for said friend.

She blew my socks off when I saw how she was thinking and what she has done for the business and the skill set she has.

I was quite impressed.

“You’re not enough,” my brain started in.

Shut it.

I just need to sit, ask questions, and absorb information.

I know this process, it sucks, I want to be good right away, I want to know how it’s done right away, I want to be able to do it better than anyone else, right away, and here’s how I’ll do just that.

Except this is work beyond my learnings.

Oh, I can feel that I have a tiny finger hold onto it, I can see from past experience, actually working at the bike shop was a perfect comparison, that my skills are much deeper and greater than I give myself credit for, I just have not organized them yet to this job.

Makes sense, it’s the first time working for a firm like this.

I love it.

When I could let myself love it, I was loving it.

They spoke to me in English, this is already a plus, and I did understand some of the structure behind what needed to be done, I could see the basic needs.  I just don’t see the overall scope of it yet.

Despite it being right in front of me.

It is like a wall of colors and words and fonts and images that have yet to organize themselves in a clean utilized fashion for me.

It is a challenge and I am going to have fun.

Thank God for experience.

Thank God for knowing that negative Nancy-ass voice in my head is not a truth generating voice, it is a fear generating voice, and it lies.


I can do this.

If I can learn how to ride clipless and complete a journey of 569 miles (I don’t care what the route map says, I rode 569 miles) on a bicycle, I can learn how to juggle calendars and use new software that I have not used before.

I can learn how to interface.

I watched my friend multi-task e-mails and two huge computer screens and a mouse pad that’s not a mousepad, but is, and an Iphone and then just lean back and tuck her Mary Jane clad foot underneath her sweater dress and chat about the dog and the weekend and how things are going with this project, I was in awe.

I want to do that.

And I can.

Granted, I have some learning to do.

“Lucy”  I can hear Desi’s voice in the back of my head while she pretends to know how to dance, having snuck onstage in a red and white pleated skirt and samba top with a basket of fruit balanced just this side of precarious on top of her scarf wrapped head.

I can’t fake this.

However, I can fake a kind of confidence in myself that I do not have, but I do, if you catch my drift, until I get the basics under my belt.

I remember when I was working for this small law firm about five years ago and I did not know a thing about being a legal secretary or filing appeals at the clerk of courts office at 850 Bryant, or how to ask for the information the attorneys needed.

I did find out though.

And fast.

One of the partners was blown away that I had the tenacity to ask a set of questions of a potential client, questions that they were going to need to ask, and I just saw what needed to be done and did it.

Same with learning their accounting needs.

Same with learning how a to put my bike together, I have done it twice now.  I can break it down and set it up.  Granted last time I put the front wheel in backwards, but that got fixed.

Ok, sure only after riding it for three days, but it got fixed.

“Yeah, I took it in to the shop this weekend and ended up behind the counter at one point helping a customer and I felt good, but I knew it wasn’t the right spot,” I said.

“I like being of service but I don’t like being passively aggressively manipulated with flattery into doing something,” I continued.  “I found myself uncomfortable with how I was approached and how dismissive it was to be asked to work for them again via text, but then never have a sit down face to face offer made to me.”

We really want you to work for us but cannot summon the courtesy to have a cup of coffee with you to discuss our needs and your needs.


“So you’re learning what flattery is and you were able to see passive aggression in someone else, that is progress,” he said to me outside of Cafe Flore on Market street.

“Yup, and I suppose I could have said hey, yeah, I’ll work for you, this is how much I want, even though I know they would never pay it, I decided I did not like being treated the way I was being treated and did not even ask what the pay rate was, I just passed and said no thank you.”

“You are growing up,” he said, “how’s it feel making adult decisions?”


But kind of weird in a good way.

I bet lots of people don’t know what they are doing when they start out, I’m starting out at something and I would not have been asked if they did not believe I was good, that I have potential, that I can be of service.

I have all those things.

I have been asked to do lots of things that I thought I would never be able to do because some one else said, “I think you would be good at this.”

My potential is always recognized by someone else.

Not me.

But at least I have stopped saying it out loud.  I paused and sat and listened and took notes and I am going in on Friday and look at that, I am suddenly working every day this week.

I took myself to Herbivore for a little dinner celebration of one.

I looked out the window onto the Valencia Street corridor and thought of how far I have come and all the things I have gotten to do and now am getting to do more and I felt overwhelmed and awed and scared, but scared in a good way, an exciting way.

A life changing way.

Just keep saying yes and move out the way.

This is my mantra.

I can do this.


Self Sufficient

December 15, 2011

I was thinking that it was glorious to feel the wind on my face, despite it being chilly, and the load of groceries on my back, despite them being heavy.

It feels really good to get done with work go do the deal then get my butt to Rainbow to fill the messenger bag up with healthy food and then ride it back “home”.  Perhaps it is a part of being more and more of the bicycle culture, now that I work in a bicycle shop, but I felt a moment of pride for myself.  I get around quite well and it feels damn good to be taking care of myself.

Especially after a day of taking care of everybody else.  Everybody else that is freaking out about getting their Christmas gifts across country before Christmas.  I have been wearing the proverbial Santa hat for the last couple of weeks at work as I rush about the store packaging and posting and wrapping and taping presents up and getting them out via UPS and USPS.  Who, by the way, USPS, are sneaky and would rather not deal with taking our packages and parcels even though we book them to make a pick up.   I got a “we received your pick up e-mail as the shop was about to close today, and I was sitting there looking at the mounds of packages I had wrapped and boxed today.

Uh, no, you did not.  I saw you go by Mister Mail Man, but you did not stop for me.  It was funny too, I had a feeling you were going to skip coming by today.  When I saw the truck idling a 1/2 block down I was tempted to grab a bunch of the packages and go careening down the street after you, but I had a customer in the store who I was helping and another on the phone.  I let you go.  I should have run after, oh well.

Not to worry though folks, the mail will go out and your presents will be there under the tree in no time.  In fact, you still have until the 19th to get it before Christmas.  I have already answered a lot of e-mails to this effect.  I want to shake the person on the phone.  Do you not see the huge billboard sign on the website that tells you exactly when and where and how you can get your gift?  You are no slouch at reminding me to make sure you get the free shipping with the holiday code, nor are you above asking me to gift wrap your present.

Where’s my tip jar, mother fuckers?

I laughed out loud today when some one asked me to gift wrap a Click-Multi tool.  Granted, it is a pretty cool little gadget, it’s a tiny little screw driver set that hangs from you key chain and I use mine all the time, I got it for my bike, but I use it on everything.  Very handy.  But for an $8 gift I don’t feel like bending over backward and making it über pretty for you.

Especially after your card got declined.


I have to admit, however, I do take a certain kind of joy in wrapping and packaging and shipping out all the gifts.  I am not in a place to have Christmas.  I am not in my own home.  When I moved into my one bedroom I had visions of a big Christmas tree.  I love getting a fresh tree at Christmas.  I carry around a box of ornaments wrapped in tissue paper that I have been lugging around since I lived in Madison.  It is an old box that I got from the Angelic Brewing Company that used to house Star Lite Peppermints.

Every time I move that box around I think about the Angelic.  It think about how I would spend the entire day after Thanksgiving working on decorating the restaurant and the bar.  I would hang huge wreaths and string them with Christmas lights.  I wound lights all around the brass bars and pillars.  There was a lamp-post, an old-fashioned one that resembled an old lamp-post in London or Paris, in the middle of the dining room and I always loved twirling the lights around it.  I would hang ribbons and garlands and huge glitter snowflakes.  The decorations would stay up until New Years Eve.

I would work all day long, hauling around the ladder, contorting myself around angles, stringing lights, and listening to Christmas music.  I think my staff thought I was nuts.  I also went nuts making Christmas cookies and candy.  I made roll out sugar cookies with home made frosting that I would color myself and sit at my kitchen table for hours icing and decorating.  I made fudge.  I made Brazil Nut Toffee.  I made plates and plates and plates of treats.  And I would wrap them in colored cellophane paper and put them in Christmas tins and wrap them in tissue.

You know that scene in Elf where he spends the entire night turning the department store into a Christmas wonderland?  That was me.  I did it every year for six years, and two years prior at the Essen Haus.  Although the Essen Haus was a spooky place to hang decorations and way creepy to decorate.  I always felt like Marley’s ghost was about to pop out from behind the dark stage curtains.  It was probably just a rat scurrying by, but the place never failed to give me the willy’s.

I miss it.  I am a Christmas dork and I haven’t gotten a lot of my Christmas dork on this year.

I have a secret to tell you.   Sometimes I dream about moving back to Wisconsin and running a Christmas tree farm.  The fantasy also includes a large apple orchard.  And a big kitchen garden.  And a renovated barn where I will write and make round rag rugs when the mood strikes me.  I will have a large wood burning stove and I will burn apple wood in the grate.  I will have a Christmas tree farm and always be surrounded by the smell of evergreens.  I will hang lights, the old-fashioned ones with the big bulbs.  I would have a little store that would sell you hot spiced cider while you look for the perfect tree and candied apples with sea salted caramel and rough chopped peanuts.  I would also have popcorn balls wrapped in bright cellophane tied with little red and green ribbons, just like my grandfather used to make. There would be mistle toe hanging from the rafters.

Oh fuck, I am starting to get weepy.

I miss home.  This is the one time of year that always gets me.  I get homesick around Christmas time.  I miss the smell of wood smoke and the crisp cold bite in the air.  I miss the way the night sky vaults into the heavens and the stars are bright high pinpricks.  I miss seeing the Christmas lights.  I miss wrapping presents.  I miss stringing popcorn and cranberries on thread.


I just remembered the first year I was living on Franklin St. with my boyfriend Justin and our room mates Matt and Naboja.  I couldn’t find a needle to string the popcorn and cranberries with, and I was bound and determined to do them that night.  I went across the hall way and asked if the neighbors had a needle they could spare.  The woman stared at me with absolute horror, “we don’t do that here.”  I had no comprehension of what she was talking about.  I looked at her and said, “you don’t sew”?

She shook her head at me and said, “oh, like needle and thread?”

Uh yeah, I held open the door, pointed to the tree, the bowl of popcorn, and the cranberries on the table, I’m making a garland and I can’t find my packet of needles to thread the popcorn and cranberries with.  She blushed, turned around, and returned a moment later with a sewing needle.

I found out a year later that Naboja was a heroin addict.  Guess I was  little naive, eh?  Certainly explains why he was always late with his portion of the rent.

Yeah, I like Christmas.  I like rituals.  I would like to continue doing those things.  I am not going to lie, I faced a lot of difficulties through the years around Christmas time, but there was always this moment, this moment of sheer magic and bliss when I would be sitting in the dark with just the glow of the Christmas tree light and everything was all right, time was suspended and I was suffused with the glory of Christmas.

I miss that.

I miss that a lot.

So when you open that box on Christmas day I hope that some of my cheer rubs off on you as I got a little goofy at times today.  There may be more than a few packages that I tossed a candy cane into.  I may not have a tree this year with a big pile of gifts underneath it, but I will have a little Christmas glow in my heart when you open up your package of brown paper and twine and it is exactly what you wanted to get–be grateful that your mom called in to make sure it was wrapped and addressed to you with love.  Be grateful that your girlfriend made the effort to pay extra for shipping and asked that you put it under a different name so that you wouldn’t guess it’s from her.  Be grateful that your dad actually paid a bicycle mechanic to lace up racing wheels for your new fixed gear.  Or that your fiance is going to propose to you this Christmas Eve and present you with not only a ring, but a brand new bicycle that he designed for you (the ring’s going to be in the basket, fyi).

Happy Holidays!

Now, go get your glow on.

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