(i just started reading david byrne's bicycle diaries and i must say: it is excellent.)
what, if anything, do you believe?
i work long days with a bunch of people who don't seem to believe in much of anything. they, the insulated masses, come in, sit down, do nothing, leave. if they do do something, it's probably destructive or disrespectful or some motion in a backwards direction, opposed entirely to constructive progress. and i believe in them. i believe in the work. i believe that the completely flawed and outdated system in which i am supposed to work with them is, regardless, necessary and (can be) good. i believe that they are worth every minute of wasted time or late arrival or stupid act.
as the kind of person i am, i run often on inspiration. this has gone from the white-hot, stroke-of-genius, i-need-to-be-published/represented/shown/picked-up-by-a-scout-NOW, to a more patient, cautious, and unrelenting slow-burn type of inspiration. i glean inspiration from little things, glimpses here or there, and i keep them to myself, saving them for later when i get up the gumption to do something about them. i still want to create the best though, and my perfectionist attitude, coupled with my extremely limited time, (intelligence), and attention span, often keeps me from signing in, sitting down, and committing myself to a good college try.
this is the part where discipline would be extremely handy.
reading david byrne, it is refreshing to see words that look and sound like things i have been thinking, but put together so much better, and from a much broader scope. i've barely been anywhere, let alone with my bike (i ALWAYS wanted to take it with me on any trip, but was never allowed as a kid, and couldn't afford it as a not-kid, and i really don't know about those fold-ups of which byrne is such a fan). the main gist, however, is elementally the same: bikes take us to cool places, and bikes make us better people.
when i was in high school, i lived in a constant state of moral incongruence. my body and some of my brain and all of my heart wanted to do things a certain way, but my learned/parent-influenced brain wanted to do things a certain other way. make out with this girl. feel bad. don't know why. solution: go ride. go to party/not go to party. feel alienated. solution: go ride. feel like liquified testosterone on a spring day with pollen on the wind and the sun not setting until after dinner need to feel taste touch lick something. solution: go fuckin ride. riding was always the solution. something about sweating, getting an endorphin buzz, meditating without distraction, and mechanically revolving over and over and over again really helped me figure things out. it's still this way. this is the reason i miss my old commute. thirty minutes there. thirty minutes home. nothing but wind and wheels, and i arrive better.
when my brother was really little, he had a hard time fitting into the system, namely preschool, and was asked to not come back for second semester. he was three. my parents, at their wits' end as to what to do with this kid, pooled together some grocery money and did the only thing they could: they got him a bike. it wasn't his birthday. he wasn't being a good little boy. he needed a fix, and this one came with two wheels. to this day, i can still remember acting like race announcers (we hadn't heard of phil liggett as yet), calling out the turns and spectacular maneuvers of the other, as we took turns on his brand new bmx, complete with training wheels. up and down the sidewalk, no helmets, winter coats, and smiles trimmed with the wind-drawn tears on our cheeks, we had the time of our lives. my parents figured it out, and it was perfect. to this day, my brother and i continue to connect through our love of bicycles.
the big deal is: we're brothers.
so i'm starting a club at work. it's a club about fixing up crappy bikes. i want the people i work with to help me fix bikes. i love working on bikes. i kind of hate working on dirty, old, crappy bikes, because they're not plug-and-play, they're sooo dirty, and they usually require primitive tools like hammers and channel locks. un. cool. but i think it'll work. i think if i can get even one of these people to hand me a wrench, once, that person will become hooked, eventually, and it will start a chain reaction that may end up saving that person's life/soul/sense of being in the world. drastic? yes. profound? i certainly hope so. inevitable? absolutely not. but i think it's worth a chance. i picked up some starter bikes today. i have some old parts in the basement. i'm going to ask for sponsorship for tools and work stands. and it's all for a good cause. byrne knows it, my brother knows it, and i know it: bikes make us better.