Today was the day I joined the ranks of bike shop employees across the globe. I just ordered a Surly Long Haul Trucker. But the caveat: It’s going to be the DeLuxe (S&S couplers) with some custom framework, built piece by piece and all from money I would’ve spent on cigarettes. Part of me still wishes I’d kept with the cigarettes. They really helped my short-term view of things, my nihilism and my pessimism. You can’t really be a pessimist without an actual lit cigarette in your mouth (unless you remove it for gesticulation and promptly replace it). So I’m finding it hard to be a debbie downer recently, being prop-less and all. My looks and harrumphs and finely-made points are falling flat without the fall of accidental ash to accompany them. So I’m stuck being an almost-depressed almost-genius, with my almost-gestures almost making my point about how nobody will ever love you the way you love them, that inevitably one of you will die first and the other will probably be at least a little relieved or how in the long run nothing is really real, it’s all just what you wanted to see and hear and feel. It just sounds like whining now without a cigarette. It used to be amusing. So I don’t smoke or drink, I exercise and eat healthy things. I’m going to live forever and I want to die. Not now, of course, but I want to have a rise and fall, a crest and trough to my life. I think I read an essay called, “I Want to Die,” and it was by David Sedaris or someone like that. The bicycle is one thing that will either take me on the path towards living forever by making me healthy enough to kick the crap out of the other 80 or 90 year olds in the home or it will kill me. Good. I’ve found a glitch in the system. If you see me out there, pedaling for all I’m worth (which isn’t much, admittedly) through the rain and sleet and muck and crappy drivers and hailed insults and words of encouragement (do I really look that tired?), please don’t pity me. I’m happy, I swear. I came here with nothing, I’ve had a wonderful time. If I don’t win a million bucks, well, it’ll still be a good story to tell with the boys on the other side, smoking cigarettes and laughing our asses off at all the health nuts down there.
A New Bike and the Other Side