Monday, April 30, 2012

File under "goosed."

I'm listening to a guy talk about a goosed neutral. That's a technical term with an adjective before it. Goose is a catch-all word for me. What's really happening here is that I'm standing on the sidewalk in West Chester. A PECO employee is explaining to both me and Kristin that the electrical wires which lead to her house are fucked up. They're goosed. Her power is going to keep on going out.

No sweat to me. I don't have a house. I don't want an apartment. Some kind of goosed molecules in my brain are telling me to dig up some dirt. Make a makeshift reality. Fold me up in thirds and mail me straight to hell. If I was designed to be able to deal with anything, then this is the first I'm hearing of it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sizzla sounds great.

I'm driving to West Chester listening to Sizzla. I can't explain why I like Sizzla so much. He's a nice guy who smokes a lot of weed. So, that's a start. I enjoy novelty. That helps. I do like Sizzla, and my enjoyment has no measure of irony. I checked.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anti-social Lucky Charms eater.

I didn't feel like going to a show at The Fire. Probably because The Fire is a bar. My social-shit is in disarray. Considering this, and all the same - I don't feel like going out to a crunk-o bar tonight. Tonight is my night. Tonight I will sit in a chair and eat Lucky Charms.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Netflix. "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels."

I'm watching a movie on Netflix. It's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels."

Another thing Kristin says is "Tacos Bell." I can't remember if it's plural or possessive in her mind, but she always says it. On purpose.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Netflix. "Way of the Gun"

I'm watching a movie on Netflix. It's "Way of the Gun." Kristin calls it "Netfox" because it amuses her to call thing what they are not.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hands in the till.

It's 7:21pm. I'm counting the till, checking the receipts and trying to figure out my own dumb mistakes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hanging out with my Mom.

I'm hanging out with my mom. We're getting food from Giordano's and bringing it to the polls. It's election day. My dad volunteers to sit at a folding table while people vote. You write your name in a book, and my dad gives you a ballot. We brought those guys some food.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Consumerism and a swift kick in the dick.

I'm doing good on money. Better than I ever have before this point. It's 7:21pm, and I have a hot laptop resting on my legs. I am sitting on the couch in Kennett, and both of my parents are sitting in their spots. Changes come slowly out in these parts.

My legs are sweating under this hot MacBook Pro, and there are custom titanium bicycle frames on the screen. I like to look. Actually, I could afford one of these. The thought occurs to me, and I have to remind myself that being a useless consumer is something that I should leave to the other robot Americans. The argument seemed more convincing when I spent a third of my income on beer and had to do some stretches to pay the rent. Actually, I could afford one of these. Maybe I'll treat myself when the vacillating voices can pick a position, and I can be sure that opulent ownership doesn't deserve a swift kick in the dick.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Adderall and unrelated fine times.

I took a couple days off with the Adderall. I've been taking low dose or no dose hoping that it'll work better when I actually need it to. It seems like a good plan.

Kristin made lasagne. After work, I drove out to West Chester and was treated to a nice lasagne in the shared company of Kristin and a couple other dudes who I think are swell folks. We talked and had a fine time, indeed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sweat, housing, and what you put in cereal.

I'm dripping sweat in my hot room while eating Lucky Charms from the bodega. I use apple juice instead of milk, because milk is a finicky liquid. I learned that trick from when I lived in a van. Now I'm looking at cool vans on the internet. The Airstream B190 is more like a house. Man. I would love to be eating some Lucky Charms up in one of those bitches.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kinetic Mayhem vs. Capable Machine

7:21pm. I'm riding home on the new stock Diamond Back. Not my wonderful Hoopty - the new Diamond Back with a space between the words. The headset is loose, and everything is totally fucked up. Everything about this bicycle was bad enough before it needed repairs, and now this bicycle is reaching a high level of kinetic mayhem. Sirens are going off.

Riding a bicycle like this was... actually not so bad. Every once in awhile it's healthy to remind yourself that bicycles are incredibly and surprisingly capable machines. If you need to go a few miles at a medium pace - you're probably going to get there just fine.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Riding west after a meeting at work.

We had a meeting after work. The meeting covered topics, and afterward we ate pizza. We are a strong group, and it's hard to imagine how we got so many good people to all work at the same store. I rode home to West Philly in a gang of five. It's simple rides like this which assure me repeatedly that bicycles are great. Strong legs and a simple conveyance have brought me much joy in life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The opposite of dinner plans.

I ate a whole fucking box of Kashi. That's dinner, folks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adderall and Awakenings

There's a movie called Awakenings. Some sort of experimental drug is found to wake patients from a long vegetative state. Eventually, no dose of this drug is high enough to keep the patients awake. In the interim, they are very much alive and self-aware. I'm dealing with a weak version of the same story. First, I took a tiny dose of Adderall, and before you knew it, my library card was renewed and I was running an eBay business. Now I'm taking the normal prescribed amount, and the results sometimes fall short of miraculous. I'll be damned if I'll touch the dosage. But I'm afraid I might go back to sleep.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Training ride, and a friendly ghost in the woods.

I went on a training ride this morning. Eight miles is a training ride. I showed Kristin the small hidden road that's closed to traffic. Late at night, I used to ride here. When I lived in West Chester, this was one of my spots. I would arrive drunk and drinking and park my bicycle late at night. I would sit; I would lay down. Myself and my bicycle would be prone on the pavement as I would look up through the leaves. I could just make out the moon, and my eyes would slowly adjust. In my memory, it was always summer.

I would sit for an hour and sip. Sometimes I would bring a friend. This was the spot.

I was never here with Kristin before today. I passed my spot hands-free and swiftly. This place has a ghost. I cruised through respectfully and remembered telling the pushy cop "NOPE." No, officer. We have not been drinking at all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Damaged shifters get a lease on life.

Today. The weather - for the first time this season - is indisputably wonderful. I finished a 9-hour bicycle-fixing shift at work, and then got started on personal stuff. Fixing bicycles. I put some new shifters on Kristin's bicycle. 

I installed mis-matched trigger shifters with broken bells and whistles. They shift fine, but they're not pretty. The main selling point is how they were free. There's something about the right one that I like. The clear window was bashed apart during shipping - it arrived initially on a brand new boxed bicycle. 

Numberless and unsaleable, we had to replace it. A skinny plastic finger still whimpers and shrugs as you click into one of seven gears. The shifter bows it's head and provides humble service - relieved to have a plan B to operate in life. With a home on a hoopty, it'll see more action than if it had arrived undamaged.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I'd punch him right in the fucking mouth.

"If I met the man who designed this road, I would punch him right in the fucking mouth."

It was 100 degrees outside, and I mean that in the literal sense. Three fucking digits. I was riding my bicycle in a group of four. Me and the usually-fastest guy were off the front. We went ahead of the group and mostly attacked the hills in a spirited surge. As a group, we'd been averaging one hundred miles per day. Three fucking digits, baby.

For the first 80 miles or so, Stuart was stronger. He'd pull ahead, someone else would fall behind, and we'd all meet up whenever - usually near food or water. Today we were in the Ozark mountains. The steep climbs were numerous brick walls between our bicycles and the end of the day. I tried to sustain the momentum of each descent to bring me to the top of the next climb. Everybody was carrying a load of cooking and camping gear on their bicycle, not to mention clothing and tools to fix anything. After about 80 miles or so, I was better able to keep up at the front. Me and Stuart were more or less evenly matched by then.

"If I met the man who designed this road, I would punch him right in the fucking mouth." I said it with mock disdain as I shook my fist in the why-I-oughta manner.

We had sweat in our eyes, we couldn't drink enough water, and we were on the 95th mile of the day. We both started laughing too hard to keep momentum. We climbed hills and we volleyed nonsense. It's one of my favorite memories.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Story Of My Self Employment

I used to be self employed. It was 2006 and I'd just moved to Philadelphia. My job wasn't cutting it and I thought I could do better on my own. I looked in the mirror and cut a fresh mohawk.

I rode down to where I was working, and gave the boss my two weeks notice - but I made it clear that I'd rather be finished right then. He wished me luck and we shook hands. I was filled with the warm optimism and freedom of a guy who just quit a job that he didn't like.

I put an ad in the paper that day. "Bicycles Wanted: Get some garage space back and make a little money. Call Chris." It was a success. Within a few days I was taking calls and trying to get descriptions of bicycles over the phone to see if they might be worth the trip. I checked Craigslist and found a basement storage space for $100 per month. I explained my plan to the person renting the space, and it was clear that he just wanted the money. It was a dirty basement, but it had plenty of space. I cleaned it up a little bit and made a respectable mechanic station.

I was an alcoholic. I had a bad unmedicated case of ADHD. But I could fix bicycles pretty darn well.

I made the rent easily. I could pay my bills with little effort. I didn't run my business very well, and it didn't matter much. I made my own hours, didn't work too much, and I owned the summer. I owned the city and I owned the summer. When I needed a little bit of money, I would cruise up to the shop and fix some bicycles. I took some photos, and the next day I would list them on Craigslist. It was a cinch. I even managed to get a wholesale account for parts and supplies. I got a free business licence online in about 5 minutes and that's all it took.

In a sense I was doing well. In spite of myself I was surviving with a modicum of comfort. I wasn't maximizing profits or making good decisions. I was completely inefficient, and still I was fine. When rent was due, I would get a bag of tall Bud Ice cans and go to the workshop. I would get a 40oz Mickey's and ride to the place where I kept my wrenches.

The basement was dirty. I filled it with bicycles. I screwed hooks into the beams overhead and hung dozens of bicycles. I had milk crates full of spare parts. I was reasonably organized, and if I had a major downfall business-wise, it's that I put too much effort into the bicycles and I was too discerning when choosing what I would work on. I had good products at a good price.

The basement was beat up, and the house above me was rented by the room. It was one step above a squat, and the guy who collected the rent used a fake first name and never gave a last. My basement space had a big hole in one wall and it wasn't possible to tell what was on the other side. It looked like a place to stash skeletons, or maybe a forgotten stop on the Underground Railroad. I pissed in tall empty beer cans and tossed them through to the other side. There are one hundred piss-filled cans of Bud Ice at 4908 Cedar Avenue.

Winter came. I got scared that business would shrivel up, and I became worried that I wouldn't be able to sustain my situation. I got a part time job shoveling horse shit at a stable in Fairmount Park. It was a nice job, actually. One day I got a call at work. The house where I had my workshop had changed hands, and the new guy wanted $400 per month. He also wanted my last name, which I told him was something like Jones. I explained that I wasn't keen on quadrupling my rent, and I managed to talk my way around any final decision. I avoided his calls.

Two months later, a new padlock appeared on the door. That woke me up. I went back and told my girlfriend Shelly what was going on. I brought her along in my pickup truck and we parked out front. I kicked in the door and took out all of my tools first. I took the best bicycles and most of the parts. I left the cans of piss and garbage.

I still don't think I'm very good at taking care of myself. Shelly tolerated me for awhile longer after that. She's my boss at the bicycle shop now. There's a bathroom in this one. And medical benefits.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Diamond Back. Fixing bicycles is what I do.

The day began well. I woke up and drove to the Wawa where I agreed to meet the guy selling the Diamond Back. I was early and I was in a great mood. The sun was upon me as I strutted inside to get a hoagie and a huge coffee. This is my version of a celebration. I derive great joy from sitting in a van and eating a big fat sandwich. I absolutely delight myself. You'd think I just cured cancer.

A grisly Philadelphian rolled up on a Diamond Back Outlook. We proceeded with the requisite inane pleasantries until I forked over the bills. He was apologizing for the mechanical condition of the bicycle, and I almost had to cut him off. I totally didn't care. The sale was in the bag. Fixing bicycles is what I do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another Diamond Back Outlook.

I'm sitting on my golden chair. I'm in my grand Philadelphia apartment where a stack of phonebooks replace a missing leg on this magnificent piece of furniture. I scan Craigslist for bicycles, and an ALL CAPS title begs me to click.


The title could barely be less descriptive. I click anyway. The title has the same effect as a link which screams "DON'T CLICK THIS." Or what, I think... or what? So I clicked the link, and the picture surprised me. It was a Diamond Back Outlook. It was a year or two older than my Hoopty Diamondback... before they decided to go all compound word. The ad said to make an offer via txt.

I didn't want to lowball, but I didn't want to spend too much. I didn't need this thing, but I knew I'd have to get it anyway. $60. I sent my offer with a polite little message.

I agreed to meet him in Northeast Philly, and I agreed to pay $70. Sure, I said. I gave him a call and banged out the details.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Slobbering and knuckleballs.

I'm picking my teeth and biting my moustache. I'm chewing the errant hairs at the corners of my mouth. As NPR is playing an interview, I am learning about knuckleballs while slobbering on my own face. It's all in a bid for comfort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Going along to get a Motobecane moped

I went with Shelly to buy a beautiful Motobecane moped from a guy in West Grove. She called me at my parents house as she was on her way from Philly. "Yup," I said. I'll go.

He was a nice guy, and I drank a Mountain Dew. Now Shelly has a moped.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

AFV and Auctions.

I'm watching the America's Funniest Videos program with my parents. My attention is focused on listing bicycle tools on eBay.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A monument who eats chips.

I stood next to the wall. The liquor took up the wall on the other side of the small room. The liquor looked much more comfortable. I poured a glass of NON ALCOHOLIC iced tea-ish drink. Yep. If you use a short glass and add some little ice cubes, you can barely tell you're not pounding whiskey. I think everyone else is getting drunk. These girls are made up, and they're wearing clothes that people go out in. I'm surprised how much I don't know anyone here. I'm surprised how much I can't just begin meeting them. I feel ridiculous. It's strange in a way, because for once I am very NON-ridiculous. I'm just a dude here. I am the most average dude ever.

I don't want to drink. More accurately, I have decided not to drink. I have made this decision - and it's a good one - and I'm standing in silent pain. My insides are writhing. I don't want to leave too soon. I wish I was more social, but the movements and words are not with me. I eat chips.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Girlfriend visits

Kristin comes over late.

(Kinda slacking on these updates... I went a little sparse on my notes, and this is all I've got.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pizza Party

Pizza party night at Shelly-Arden's. They get dough, people bring toppings, we all eat.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Listening to Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty is good to listen to again. That's what I'm doing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

America equals burger-coke.

At 7:21pm I was sitting across from my mother and father. The three of us were perched around a table at McDonalds. A coupon brought us here. Now I'm eating a tiny double cheeseburger and drinking a Coke. Us 'Mercans got it good.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ribs and a raise.

I'm at Chilis with my family. Half rack of ribs? Make it a whole. Two different flavors, please.

I listed eBay auctions all day. I didn't exactly ask for a raise at work, but I got one. I think I'm well worth it. At this shop - I'm certainly worth it. But I'm getting paid better than I would be elsewhere. It kinda locks me into my current position and situation. But right now: I'm good with that. I'm in a good place in life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Toward Landenberg.

Leaving Philly in a misty rain. I have my sights set on Landenberg.