Friday, November 18, 2005

Simple is good

As if I needed it, this week I was reminded why I love the simplicity of bicycles.

I finally stopped procrastinating and updated the firmware on our wireless router. I know it's basically a simple process to download and install it, but doing so wipes out all kinds of settings that are a pain in the ass to restore. Everything was fine after 30 or 40 minutes of tinkering, but it was stressful tinkering. Shit was happening (or not happening) that I couldn't see. I don't like that.

I also had a guy come out to service our boiler. Always good to have it checked early in the winter to avoid a weekend service call in January. I had been told that if I watched him bleed air from the lines that carry hot water through our house to radiate heat, I could easily do it myself in the future. Watching him flip levers and throw switches was like watching a pilot pre-flight a 747. So much for the do-it-yourself idea.

Installing a headset, derailleur or a bottom bracket is something I understand. It makes me feel mechanical and competent after a week behind a desk. Besides, I generally don't trust anyone to repair and adjust my bikes. I like blazing down a mountain trail without worrying whether some teenager adjusted my brakes as part of his after-school job. I also like knowing that if some part goes tits up 15 miles from the trailhead, I can usually amputate it or repair it enough to get home with little or no walking.

The keys to happiness for me and my bikes are good tools, a good repair manual and a couple of good beers to carry me through a wrench session.

Yeah, simple is good. Like childhood. It isn't like it used to be. My dad had a rule: Never start a fight; but if someone else starts with you, make sure you finish it. One summer night a kid on the playground punched me in the gut and knocked the wind out of me, then left. After I recovered, I went home. Dad knew something was wrong, found out what it was, and sent me back to salvage my latent manhood. I rode my bike to the kid's house and explained to his mother at the door what had happened and that I couldn't go home until I physically assaulted her only son.

She brought him to the front porch, confirmed what happened, and then held his arms while I popped him in the gut. Then I climbed back on my little Schwinn and pedaled away. In a very manly way, of course.

Ahh, those were definitely simpler times. You can't do that kind of crap anymore. It upsets people. The only person who was upset over my incident was the kid whose mother helped me beat him up. Some therapist is probably still milking that one.

At least he never stole her camcorder and had to deal with his mother's kinky home video falling into the wrong hands. There are some things you just shouldn't tape if you A) are a parent B) no longer inhabit the body of a 21-year-old and/or C) bald where you should be hairy and hairy where you should be bald.

1 comment:

George said...

If I rode in Alaska in the middle of winter-I'd be doing all of my wrenching too. Getting stranded 15 miles from your house could be a life or death situation.

Here is PA? Not so much. All I have to do is walk my bike out of the woods(5 miles tops) and call my wife on the cell to pick me up:-)