Sunday, November 2, 2008

So you want to be an Anchorage Bike Messenger?

I got the following in an E-mail
"Hey man,
I was wondering how you got into being a bike messenger in Anchorage.
Need some help? I need a second career that can keep me biking all winter.
The commute just isn't enough."
I didn't answer because it's so terribly hard not to be sarcastic or just sound like an arrogant prick but fuck it. Where to start. I could start by pointing out that the difference between commuting and messenger work is rather like the difference between going down to the river with a brick of .22 long rifles to shoot tin cans and doing convoy escort duty in Iraq. As I ride I find my hand hovering over my front break lever, ready, I think it could be worse it could be the trigger of a belt fed machine gun. I imagine ones state of mind in both circumstances is rather similar. "See everything, admire nothing." The actions are different, the break lever is passive, the machine gun is aggressive but both are defensive, the goals are the same, come home alive. The guy working the belt-fed knows hes at war, you have to figure it out as your enemy is more incompetent then hostile not that there are not hostile nasty hating motherfuckers who will kill you given the chance. A commuter has a fixed amount of time to get where they need to go. A messenger is always in a hurry everything is a rush the more you carry the more you make. Then there are the serious rushes, where at a minimum, at the very least someones career is at stake but it could be a lot more but beyond that is your sense of honor because you said. "I can do it." or even "I'll try."
I could respond to the offer of help. I don't need help. I need partners. Committed partners, the sort with experience, who know what their getting into. I don't mean to be insulting, this is not a thing for the faint of heart, the weak of spirit. Bring in a few clients, no same day route service, I'm talking on demand service here, then we'll talk.
I could respond to this fellows need to ride all year. There's no nice way to say it. Sell your car and harden the fuck up. Get two or more bikes refuse to accept rides or take the bus. If your not riding, you're walking. Problem solved. That's how I lived my life from the start of the first gulf war until a sweet wonderful girl started louring me into her truck. I didn't want her to worry about me getting to where we were supposed to be together and more importantly I didn't want to be worrying about her while I rode.
Oh yeah, how did I get into being a bike messenger in Anchorage. I thought being a bike messenger would be cool. I lived in Anchorage, I didn't want to move. After two years of working door in Spenard it seamed like a good idea. Yeah it's cool, baby. Like smoking, it could kill you and it's hard to quit but it sure looks cool.

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