Thursday, March 7, 2013

Becoming the Old Guy

It's the slow season, so I don't have any regularly scheduled hours right now.  I go in as needed to close up or to cover if somebody has jury duty or an early flight.  I like it.  I like having all my evenings and weekends off, no questions asked, and I'll like it fine when things pick up in another month and I start getting put back on the schedule.  It's all good.

Last night, I was back in the shop for the first time in a little over a month.  In my absence, we'd hired a new sales lady...  Let's call her Gina.  I introduced myself to her, explained my schedule, what my day job was, etc.  I also met the new mechanic who will be doing our production stuff this summer - tune ups and the like.  He took a good look at my ugly as shit bar bike, paying particular attention to the Dunelt chain guard and DIY chain tensioner, made by cutting down an old Shimano 600 rear derailleur so it's only got one pulley.  I'd spent (foolishly?) a lot of time with a belt sander, taking off all extraneous bits of metal, making it nice and curvy.  But I digress.

So I met the newbies, and got caught up with the old farts, and I thought about Dave.  At the first shop I worked in, Dave was me.  He was older, married, with a little girl.  Dave was cool.  He taught me how to hop on the back wheel of my old Specialized Hardrock.  He taught me a couple tricks about fixing bikes, which I probably remember, but probably use often enough now that I forget which tricks were his and which came from the dozens of other wrenches I've worked with over the years.  He tried to convince me that riding the 26 miles into work was doable, when the longest ride I'd ever taken to that point, on my ol' Hardrock, was 12 miles, on the flatasapancake gravel roads around my hometown.  I didn't believe him, and never did it.  He was cool, and he was nice to me when I didn't know shit about shit. 

I realized last night, I could be Dave.  Trivial as it sounds, I don't take the responsibility lightly.  Fact is, I'm older and more experienced that a lot of these dipshits with whom I work.  I've learned a thing or two, and I know how to teach.  I try to be nice.  I try to show the pleasure in doing a job right even where nobody looks.  It matters.  I heard secondhand that two of the others, Skippy and Al, had been chatting about who would be the first to befriend me on the Face Books.  I don't know who won, but I'm "FBriends" with both of them.  It's flattering.

Dave, wherever you are, I hope I do the job of being the Cool Old Guy justice.

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