In the Bike Shop: Prompt Service

When the sun reigns in the Seattle sky, the citizens suddenly remember their sadly neglected bicycles. The bike shop is packed. I’m splitting time between tune-ups, the phone, sales reps, and everyone who wanders in off the street. I’m running on enough diet cola to kill an entire laboratory of mice.

Everyone wants to bring his or her machine in for service because they want to use the bike tomorrow, yet they’re all surprised at the backlog for mechanical work. I mean, it’s not my fault you waited until the last minute to have your bike fixed. Oh, but you were really hoping to go riding this weekend? Yeah, those guys who dropped off their bike last week had the same idea .a week before you.

Then there are the individuals who œdon’t need a full tune-up, but they just have this œlittle thing that needs adjusting. You want me to try to nip it up now? Well, okay, let me interrupt this tune-up for the fourth time and look at your bike. Give me your bike so I can put it in the stand. Ugh! Your bike is filthy! Okay, your bike is wrong here, here, and¦(wrenches spinning)¦.here. What did I just do? Fixed your bike, is what. Huh? Explain what I did? I’ve no time for that¦you asked me to fix your bike, not educate you. No offense, but I have to motor through these tune-ups because at the end of today those other people want their bikes. And I believe that they should have them. Be glad for what I can spare. NEXT!

You there! Flat tire? And you need to get home tonight? Don’t we all? Give me! Yes, you can watch, but stand back lest you get hit by flying debris. Wham, bam! Okay, done. What? You have a creaking noise when you ride .and you’re not sure where it’s coming from? Nope, can’t help you now. You wanted to get home tonight, and you’ll just have to take your creaking noise with you. Schedule a tune-up next week. NEXT!

Ah, yes, you were admiring all the vintage racing bikes hanging from the ceiling? Well, they all belong to one of the co-owners, and most definitely not me. Hmm, yes, quite the collection, indeed. Yes, it IS much like a museum¦.except that if this were a museum, I could charge you admission to look at them instead of standing here waiting to get to the other customers, paying customers. Yeah, those old bikes sure do take you back, huh? Hey, before you start telling me about your racing days in college during the previous century, could you save this for a rainy afternoon in January? As you can see, I have a line of people at the register waiting to buy shit, and my hair is literally on fire. Thank you, and have a safe trip home from vacation! NEXT!

At this point, I am moving faster than most people can see…. fixing flat tires for one party and explaining derailleur compatibility to a second while calling out product names and quantities to a sales rep standing just beyond the mosh pit. One eye is on the door and the other is counting the red pulses of the phoneline on hold. And on a certain level I am enjoying this sensation of surfing on a wave of chaos that is threatening to close out on me. Then she comes through the door.

Five-foot-two, blonde, and blue-eyed. She was fit in every connotation of the word. Her golden tan implied California, but her voice held traces of Texas. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail under a visor. She was wearing a pair of sandals ¦like Tevas, not those God-awful Crocs. A very brief pair of khaki shorts hung low on her hips, and the only thing north of the equator was a delightfully tiny, pale-blue bikini top. And, I’m not kidding, she smelled of massage oil. Alright, then.

Somewhere in my brain there was a multi-car pile-up.

In her hand there was a MTB rear wheel with disc rotor but sans tire. I noticed that she didn’t hold the wheel below a limp wrist like many overly-refined people, rim pinched between thumb and forefinger like a hair clog retrieved from the bathtub drain. No, she held it firmly in the palm with her fingers wrapped tight around the rim and extended the wheel up from below her hip level straight towards me. I took the wheel and turned it over in my hands, desperately hoping that the sight of the broken spokes would distract me from her wonderful breasts.

I’m sorry, what did you say? Could I have this wheel fixed by four? Listen, lady, if you think you can waltz in here, point those things at me, and manipulate me into giving ridiculously preferential service¦well, right you are! I salute your overblown and under-dressed assault on my dignity. Please fill out this claim ticket for the wheel and I’ll be right on that.

What? You’re putting your husband’s name on the ticket. Um, well¦..very good, then. Hmm? You say that it’s your cell number if I need to call? Now you’re just fucking with my head. Ok, here’s the claim stub, and please pretend you don’t notice me staring at your butt as you walk out the door….ok, NEXT!

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