Writers Note: Forgive me for the length, this was mostly my attempt at length, narrative driven writing. My personal essay, if you will. This blog will likely be a mix of blog topics, and me telling personal stories.
Yesterday has certainly been a challenging day in New York City.
The challenge came around when the chain on my new bike popped off suddenly while riding slowly and nothing harshly affecting my bike. I was suddenly forced to sit idly on my bike on the side of Broadway on Tribeca while I stared at disbelief at my bike and wondered how could the chain have possibly broken the way it did. I swore aloud, and I clenched my hands into fists and thrusted them up and down, not paying the slightest attention if anyone was looking towards me, wondering what my problem was, or possibly, what I was on.
I was in the middle of my bike job, and at the moment in the middle of an assignment, which I gleefully contemplated on the time it would take to finish the job and the commission payout that would come my way upon finishing, pushing my earnings for the day further into super success. I was happy and eager to complete the job, I was happy to be in the city, I was happy to work towards success. Then a completely unprecedented and unexpected event occurred that made my job literally impossible to complete, and these powers completely out of my control would simply occur, putting me far behind my goals. The frustration was incredible. I was only one set of bad news from considering my entire trip into the city a complete failure, and I was going to pack up and go back home to the Northwest that day.
That is a thought that I’ve played with from time to time: Leaving New York City. It’s too hard, it’s too much work, and it’s taking a lot of energy out of me just to complete a single day. Take a week, or a month, then my whole body starts to feel like it’s falling apart. Or, even worse, when I start to think about the future and how I plan to accomplish some of those plans I create for myself, which plans sound simple and easy but get complicated quick: Getting my own apartment that’s quite and empty enough to allow me to act professional, or saving up enough money to get into a top-school who has a graduate program which I currently have a place on the wait-list, but the likelihood of me getting in is very week, and even getting myself a new outfit so I cease to look like I don’t have a job or a home, but actually looking like apart of civilization. I thought about the idea of leaving the city and getting away from all this hard work that feels like it’s driving me down and feels at times like it’s not going anywhere, going back to a place what was easy and comfortable, a place that didn’t demand so much from me, but I immediately ignored that thought. Why would I leave? Why would I go to some place more comfortable? It’s that level of comfort that I left in the first place. If I left, then I’m admitting defeat. I’d be reinstating myself into a community where nobody expects much from me at all and that I might as well pursue a career in the food and drink industry in some small time bar in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Besides, I have some big goals with this school I’m trying to get into.
I’ve gotten involved with this school before, taking a class, and they charged me the cost of the class, which at the time, I was unable to pay off completely, and to this day, I owe that debt. I am working hard in this job now to save money for the debt and to secure a place in that program, but I’m also very afraid that when the day eventually comes that I’ll have to work something out and if they accept the money I’ve saved up, then it will drastically set me back in the city. But I’ll have a place in the program. Oh! The thoughts! They’re stretched so far and so thin!
Well, when the bike broke down, I was fortunate to find a bike shop nearby, not too far to walk, to where I took my bike to get its first round of repairs, which was frustrating considering I had used the bike for about a week so far, and the bike I used previously had gone an entire month and a half without needing any repairs. So I got a new chain put on the bike, and fixed the screwed up basket on my bike. I took about two hours out of my day, which was work that was not getting done, money not being made, but I felt a million times better knowing that my bike was suddenly in a much better state of use, and was more useful than it was that morning, and that I could get back to work, and start making my money. Which I did. And I felt good doing it.
But that night, something else happened that put me into even worse states; this time, the inner tube on my bike popped off, sliding from under the rubber tire, off the metal spokes, deflating entirely, and getting wrapped up around the bike chain. It got so tightly wound into the chain that the bike was almost impossible to walk with.
It was another thing that happened, the same day, that happened completely un-prompted incident that happened to my bike, completely unwelcome. How could this happen now? The inner tube? Popped off? Was I mistreating the bike? Did I ride over glass? So many things happening that day that required me to take in my bike for repairs just so I could continue doing this hard work just so I could succeed in this place that would otherwise probably care less if I disappeared. Why did this crap keep happening to my bike? What is going on? Does this bike have a mind of its own? Was the bike designed with these things in mind? Was this another way to squeeze more money out of me?
I was riding along JFK drive, a road built along the east side of Manhattan, where you ride underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, and you get a good look at the East River. Unfortunately, I was reaching the end of my job, and I had the product sitting in my bike basket. The ride was very long to begin with, and I had already been riding for about 20 minutes with 10 to go, then suddenly my bike tore itself apart on me, and I was forced to walk the rest of the way. It was 9PM, so bike shops were closed. With the inner-tube wrapping itself around the bike chain, the entire wheel froze stuck, and the bike would not move its back tire unless I drug it along the rubber tire that barely hung onto the wheel. I was able to lift the back side of the bike and allow it to roll along with the front tire, but all the time I had to cary the bike, and with the peddles frequently smacking me into the side of my leg, it would have been very challenging.
It took a little while, but I did complete my job, and I apologized profusely, and hopefully presented myself as very apologetic, which I was. I felt terrible. I was angry at the bike, but I felt sad that I was forced to perform terribly, at a time when I wasn’t trying to. I wanted to perform the best I possibly could, even if I was tired, even if it was getting late, even if…
Getting the bike home was a challenge, but I did it, and that part is not interesting. What is interesting is that I was expecting to fork over hundreds of dollars to get my repairs taken care of. I was afraid that half my weeks earnings all would go towards this one stupid bike. To my amazement, I was charged far less than that. I am so grateful that bike shops do not over charge people who might come off like me and come in looking completely desperate and angry. I was very desperate. They could have found any additional bit of work and charged me an additional 30 dollars, and I would have paid it, because I needed a functional bike, and I needed it to work well. Instead, bike professionals take care of the necessary bit, and they do a fine job with the necessary bit, and they charge me an extremely reasonable amount.
Today, my bike is back to normal, and I’m looking forward to putting this bike to use with the repairs that it received. I have good feelings that the bike will not need repairs for… well, say another week. But until then, my time will be well used. I just hope that it stops raining. I’d probably be out with my new bike if the rain just stopped. Dang it all.