Tuesday, November 22

Twenty Years Behind Bars: Part One

Well, shit.

I almost forgot.  Twenty years ago this week, I started my first bike messenger job.  

Twenty years.

Because of that, I'm going to take awhile to blerhg about this topic rather than cramming it into one long unreadable post.

So you'll get many shorter unreadable posts.   You're welcome.  This should last awhile and it probably won't matter as they post over the long holiday weekend when you have better things to do than read blerhg.

The Pie and I decided two decades ago to leave our home state of Ohio in the rear view mirror.  She accepted a job as a traveling nurse, and after having Tacoma, Washington and a couple of other neat places dangled in front of us, we ended up in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We were just going to play it loose and travel wherever until we either found a place we liked or The Boy needed to start school.  I figured I wouldn't bother to look for a job because the assignments could be as short as three months.  I would just take care of our four year old at home and be patient. 

That lasted about a month. 

I got bored.  Really bored.  I'd found some nearby trails (the mostly now defunct ones at UNCC) that I could ride to from the apartment, but I hadn't really met anyone to ride with to keep me company.  I felt like I needed something more to fill the day.  Besides... much guilt.  I felt incredibly lazy.  

It was time to get a job, regardless of how long I might be able to stick with it.  Keep in mind, this was back when you looked for a job in "the paper."  The internet was just for porn back then.

I went to an interview with, I still can't believe it, The Sierra Club.  As soon as the interviewer said the phrase "door to door," I wanted to walk out. The only thing I hate more than a stranger knocking on my door is being the stranger knocking on the door. 


A couple weeks later, I saw a help wanted ad for a bike messenger. I can hardly remember the interview, and I really doubt the college degree on my résumé helped much, but I walked out with the job.  Zero knowledge of downtown Charlotte, but I owned a bike and must have came across as smarter than totally stupid.  

$6.25 an hour.   I made more slinging produce and videos after graduating college to help The Pie finish up her schoolings.

When I look back, I can't believe that I even took the job. We lived thirteen miles away from the center of the city, and we were sharing a car.  The Boy would need to go to daycare some of the time, which would really eat into that humble paycheck.  If I didn't need to drop him off on the way, the car was left at home, and I faced what I would consider one of the worst commute routes in Charlotte (at a time long before bike racks on city buses). There really wasn't much of a reason for me to take the job.   The little financial gain and added hassle to our life was kinda stupid in retrospect.

But I was bored, so...

I took the job.

This picture is not period correct at all, but it's all I had down here in the bike room that I could get my hands on.  It was taken after an 11 mile commute home in the freezing rain... in the dark.  Good times in shitty gear.

Mebbe I'll find some better images.  Mebbe not.


Anonymous said...

As a person who left Ohio in my rearview mirror about twenty years ago, I'm curious which part of the "Move the fuck out or die here" state you're from. I too found the old UNCC trails when I moved here in 98, and they were glorious.

Rob said...

I rode from Chantilly to UNCC a couple of times. Not an ideal bike commute, at least at that time (2007ish). Isn't there a greenway all the way up now?

dicky said...

I grew up in Pierpont, OH (google it). I then moved to Youngstown to attend YSU, and then a trailer park in Hartford, a shitty apartment in Liberty, and lastly, a decent townhouse in Warren.

Then Charlotte.

There will eventually be a greenway(ish) all the way from uptown(ish) and through UNCC. Eventually.

Anonymous said...

I remember your rookie first day.
I'm surprised you made it a career.
Are guys hiring? I'm bored and uninspired to adult anymore.


dicky said...

There's no one really to hire. That's the way things are now. Nova and me. And Jimmy Johns.