Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Clydesdale Hall of Fame
This is Joe. If you live in town you probably know him. He owns my bike shop. He just barely squeaks over the wire as a Clydesdale, but I'm sure the council will approve him. You can say what you want about other bike shops in town, and all their cool bikes in stock and whatnot, but me? I stick with Joe, and of course his ace mechanic, Shins, and that other guy, the tall crazy one who gets the sandwiches.
Joe is a really decent guy, and that's why God gave him a little bike shop on Lake Ella, where you can enjoy a rare breeze and watch the world drift by, carefree and lazy.
Joe works on the most awful hunks of crap ever to be churned off a Chinese assembly line, not because he likes it, but because he understands that people use their bikes for transportation. Not everybody is stressing over how they can possibly ride this weekend without getting that NEW FUCKIN' BOTTOM BRACKET INSTALLED, OH DEAR GOD WHERE IS IT!!!
No, some people, mostly poor people, the mentally impaired, and chronic DUI-heads need their Roadmasters to master the road, their Free Spirits to roll free, and their Huffies to huff. While he may swear and groan like he's losing his mind, he will get out his hammer, his vice grips, his length of pipe and make those pieces of shit work, again and again.
Conducting an actual transaction is very much like buying a goat in Bosnia. You may have to join in for a coffee and a cigarette before he is prepared to listen to your problem or accept your money. He may get your cranks pulled then become distracted by another customer for 45 minutes or a couple days. If you can't handle that, then you probably ought to mosey on over to one of the other shops. We won't miss you, no hard feelings.
There are people in this town, misfits of one kind or another, who visit Joe like he's long lost family. They are often the type who are driven away from other businesses either outright, or through cool detachment. Sometimes it drives Joe crazy, other times he seems glad to see them, but he is never cruel or impatient with the Weird Harolds. They scream his name like a rock star. JOOOOoooooooeeeee!
He has been in business so long the shiny veneer has worn off much of the retail experience. You may have to project your voice over a blaring 20 minutes of "Alice's Restaurant" or Sepulchura, or Crosby Stills Nash and Young, who knows. Profanity may occasionally slip out, but not the mean-spirited kind. "You need a stem?We got a fuckin' stem for ya'." Off it comes from someone else's bike. Who knows how that works. It is all part of the Byzantine system in Joe's head.
All I know is, Joe's Bike Shop is one of those places that make Tallahassee a real class act.
So congratulations Joe, and don't be pissed I put your picture on the internet.
I could have used that other one.