Wednesday, February 27, 2008

La, la, la, lull

I don't really think about this blog when I'm busy. I think about it during slow periods. The slow periods when you realize that it's not just the lack of income. It's the lack of that adrenaline, the rush from doing things that to the untrained eye look downright dangerous. To make life more fun we had a bit of a warm spell. Things melted some refroze. Miles of roads cleared including most of the core but what ice remains can be downright evil. Slick and lumpy. The best set-up for that kind of ice involves a somewhat wide flat profile studded tire, a wide rim is nice. This same set-up sucks ass on pavement. The same two hundred plus studs that were your tungsten-carbide little buddies grabbing on and helping you along are now dragging on you and slowing you down like worthless in-laws during your wedding. The nice thing is you develop a kind of slow flow, almost like a skilled fixed gear rider only slower. You go to great pains to never come to a complete take your foot off the pedal stop. It's a pain to get the thing going again. You learn to anticipate a little further in to the future. All in all it's a cumbersome beast on pavement but sometime you surprise yourself with how much speed you can coax out of her. On ice she rides like she's on rails and with memories of shittier tires and such in your head your surprised how fast you can go and not stack. Or you go with skinnier tires and apply a great deal of skill, concentration and finesse' on the icy bits and just maybe you don't go down but the paved part is easier.
A little trick for the young people. The key to riding on ice is to go fast enough that if you do fall you'll slide instead of dropping with a sickening thud but not so fast that a slight lump in the ice will knock your front wheel out from under. It's a fine and delicate balance and you need to pretty much learn by doing, you learn through pain, you fall to learn how not to fall.
Now about that lull, lulls have been a common thing. They can be the daily lulls like around lunch. Even before electronic filings and when the client list was bigger and more diverse and the economy was pretty good, there would be lulls sometimes lasting days. Even if we took the financial sting out of them they'd still drive me bug-fuck. I try to make the best of them. I read, I catch up on correspondence, I take care of little things around the house and spend some time with the cat, I've even ridden my bike just for fun on the outskirts of Downtown. All that time I am the coiled cobra ready to strike waiting for the lull to break.
BTW In case anyone is wondering I lose clients mostly to retirement, carer changes and death.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Coffee, coffee, stand-by, beer and more (Thanks Mike) beer

It was a slow day, very little business and I am stuck Downtown for the day. Normally during the lunch lull I like to run home and check in on "Princess the messenger cat", not today. To do that I need to be able to get from the house to Downtown quickly and easily in under twenty-five minutes. The key words being quickly and easily, I could have one or the other but not both at the same time. To make life more interesting my bike of choice today is one I've nicknamed "The Tank" it's kind of heavy being a mountain bike with SnowCat rims and Nokian studded tires but it will roll over just about anything Anchorage has to offer. I grabbed it not because of what was but because of what could be. Now that we've set the stage lets go through the pictures. First we have Side St. my favorite coffee shop If I find myself empty in the core before three (when they close) I stop in and have a couple doppio's and a snack, lovely place. Next picture we have one of my favorite deliveries. If I'm still empty when I finish my coffees and snacks I call "The Loveliest Lady Lawyer in Anchorage" to see if she needs coffee or a snack. Every time I do that I'm reminded why I don't try to add her firm to the client list. Because I still fawn over her like a love-struck teenager every time I see her, it could severely fuck my turn-around times. I took care of a small bit of business rode around had some more coffee. I'm getting bored. I even went into the Mall. Next picture this is a spot on "The Coastal Trail" a good place to meditate and get in touch with nature even if it is behind a sewage treatment sub-station. I thought for a second when most people go into the workplace break room it's kind of dingy and windowless. I'm kind of lucky that this is my break room. Next picture, we have the messenger bar. I don't call it that just because I go there. Of the four people who've worked as bike messengers in the last ten years three of us instinctively made our ways there. The guy who's career lasted about two weeks never showed up but I did see him when he was driving for the pizza place next door. Now remember "Princess the messenger cat" she hates it when I don't come home during the lunch lull. My plan, have a beer and look for what I call "The Holly Trinity of Alaska law" the three Attorneys who go there for a late afternoon drink serve as a barometer for the legal field. If lawyer A is in there you have a 75% chance of being able to finish your beer in peace, If you have lawyer B (lawyer A's slightly younger buddy) it goes up to 85% and if lawyer C shows up you might as well start ordering shots. I go there to wait out the end of the day and sip beer slowly. Because lately if I'm bored in traffic I find myself doing the kind of stuff one should only do on a rush job and then only if you sort of like the client for mere amusement. That's just stupid. Now the plan is leave as close to five as possible, hit that small window of quiet during the start of rush hour and make the cat happy. The last photo represents "Darwin's other theory" which reads "Come to this bar and consume two to three time the alcohol you planned on when you entered". The nice part is sometimes people buy rounds for the bar either to celebrate good fortune or just because they can, many kind souls pass through that door. Tonight someone did that twice. I start to realize that my window is closing and the cat is going to be pissed. Your asking. "Kirk, why didn't you say 'No thank you' to the beers?" Why because I believe in maintaining standards. There are standards during working hours like striving to make an impossible deadline with Samurai like dedication and there are after work standards. I believe the only time a bike messenger should refuse free beer is if you don't drink at all or it puts you at risk of bodily harm. I call the wife she's about to leave work and offers me a ride home. I think to myself. "I'm a bike messenger god dam it! Fuck that shit, I ride!" On the phone I politely decline. It's rush hour I have to share the road with a bunch of selfish evil pricks. I'm not exactly sober but I'm not exactly drunk. This could be bad. Wait one minute here I've got "The Tank", I can take The Coastal Trail. There might be some skiers out and most of them are selfish evil pricks but I remember it's a lot easier to beat the shit out of a skier then a car. Down the alley, left on a side street, check my wifes parking lot, I have a head start, through a suburban area and unto the trail. Just enough light to enjoy the view and no skiers had to be beaten, it would have been in self-defense of course. I got home first and the cat was only a tiny bit annoyed but a handful of treats helped. That was my butt slow Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why we drink?

Because it hurts. Your body after a tough day and even your very soul enduring the constant abuse that can come with this thing that we do.But don't get me wrong I love my job.It's just that I'm getting older and need my medication from time to time.