having lived it, almost too tired to write it out

The tag on my mom’s bike handlebar claims, “6/30/07 – 1 week”. It had a bad tube and (possible) wheel burr. So after ample repair time two weeks ago I went into the (shall remain nameless) bike shop to check on the bike; not yet. OK. So last week I called to ask if the bike was ready; it was not – but, “I’ll have it done tomorrow. It’s probably a ten minute job.” OK.

This morning my parents, their dog, my children and I walked the family down to the shop, towing the bike trailer behind us and anticipating our first ride together in over a month, yay! (This neighborhood mongrel followed us half the way which really enraged my dad for some reason). We get to the shop and the bike is Still. Not. Done. This time the Goofy Bike Guy (I really need a good nickname for him) is very apologetic – he winces as he hears what bike I’m here for, because he knows it’s overdue twice over. Meanwhile I notice the bike shop – a truly amazing building with more clutter than you can imagine including a 15 foot tall pair of functional display Lee overalls – has filled up with lots, and I mean lots of bikes. More than half the bikes are ones waiting for repair. There are only two employees in the shop, including GBG, and they both seem (understandably) busy.

GBG asks me to come back in a couple hours (that would be 3 PM); I tell him I’ll be in at 4. I leave my trailer inside the shop and we haul our asses home. You know where this story is going, don’t you? Because at 4 PM I once again walk the kids down and we ring in and guess what? The bike isn’t done. Meanwhile, GBG is hurriedly doing a job for a customer who’d come in and said they had “immediate” needs. I have now officially noticed that to get your bike done you have to tell GBG you need it right now and literally stand in his shop while he does it – thereby arseing over the many people who were willing to wait a week or month (but in reality, will wait forever or until they themselves come inside the shop and stand there).

That’s what ends up happening. The kids and I hang out in the shop for the (as promised) 10-minute job. It’s taken up so much of my time today (not to mention the other trips), that by the time he’s done I’m just kind of sad and not even pissed. The total is just $10. Somehow I would have liked to be charged more, maybe because it would have energized me in some way.

Anecdotally: after the first trip to the shop today my mom, kids and I left the shop to immediately encounter a HQX panhandler of sorts (rare here; more common in Aberdeen) who told us the buses weren’t running and she needed gas money for a ride to Olympia to catch a train. “I don’t have any money,” I said (truthfully) and my mom demurred as well. The woman yelled abruptly, “NO! I mean I give YOU gas money and you give me a ride to Olympia!” “Oh,” I said, “No, sorry.” The woman half-stomped, half wandered into the street to flag down cars. Mom and I headed to the sandwich shop and my mom said, “She really did say it confusing,” in almost a hurt tone of voice. We go inside the Sweet Shoppe, sit down. Have to move tables because the top of the table wobbles fiercely. “What’s with this town?” I ask my mom and she laughs. I make a “root toot” farting clown sound with my mouth and jog my elbows up and down.

HQX was not in fine form today.

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