But Enough About Moi
What about this amazing ‘tribe’ I mentioned earlier (in that interview in NYC)–the ‘people with two months to KILL!”
They/we are there for each other. You need something, you ask and it usually materializes.
K: “Spare 26 inch tube?”
A: “Sure, let me get my spare, dude.”
M: “Can I have one of these beers?”
CW: “You don’ t even need to ask.”
CC: “Um, Jacquie? Do you have that Pedro’s seatbag you mentioned?”
Me: (sheepishly) “Uh, it’s in my JP l’austin found…let me look…have you got a few minutes?”
Kennedy, that hamburger you made me the first week, it was sublime. It will go down in history. Thank you.
When I fell ill, at my most whiningly self-pitying, people fetched me stuff so I didn’t need to leave my uneven patch of rocky shade under the juniper tree at Starvation State Park.
Chris gave me half of his (highly prized) vegan sandwich. Bryan took me my banjo and some thrilling, green glowing pills. Even Jen wondered if I ‘was OK’.
Matt Hallermann might have been the most concerned, being Super Dad and all. Since he’s the only support person capable of actually learning and adapting to the needs of these sheepy, wooly riders, we burden him like mad. And he just takes it on (and adds a few more ciggies each day, Dude : GIVE THAT SHIT UP! RUINS YOUR BREATH!)
Did I mention the gang has developed a frightening habit of bleating his name, , until nearly everyone is saying it….it’s a bit unnerving, twenty humans crying “Maaa-aaaa-aat!” not in unison.
Most of the flock are lambs. There are a couple of thirty yr olds, and one rogue ram, the fifty yr old Frenchman, one of the toughest of us. He refuses to take a day in the van, and seldom admits any sort of mechanical defeat….he is hard on equipment, or perhaps it is hard on him. He’s the king of the crevaison. *french for flat tire
Then there’s this bossy old bee-otch sheep– oops, I was supposed to keep her, uh, me… that is–the ewe–out of this.
So here’s a cool video of Jon Scarboro (designated mechanic, bless his soul) talking about truing Phillippe’s wheel. Mind, this is on a day where Jon has ridding just as hard but then gets to fix bikes!
Let’s see, what else is really fascinating?
Our “daily sermons”? Nah, don’ t go there….there are film makers on board, and you can see their films at welikebike.com. Have they covered food? flatulence? fashion? We will see…
Our food habits…mostly supermarket crap, never any health food store dumpsters to raid. But I don’ t have to leave camp, thanks to the giant white cooler. It’s a smelly mini-dumpster. Stuff seems to go in there, and then just get agitated to the bottom. When I was just getting fucked up by my cold, I remember carefully assembling three sandwiches to be eaten the next day. I never found them. I know they are pressed into soggy diapers of white bread underneath everything else… One problem is kids put stuff in, then forget about it. I can relate (see ANY of my food blogs on Salivation Army, it’s over there on the right margin..).
So I just forage in there, feeling like it’s more or less fair game.
Most riders won’t go near it– a messy scene is repugnant.
Pity, really, since the problem would disappear if one or two people undertook the chore of cleaning it out every other day…or if people would fetch OUT (and fling) their two day old, mouldering food.
More fun getting chauffeured to the grocery.
Since ‘left d’oeuvres” fall my way, I enjoy time in a relatively calm camp. A blabby brook, or a train fugue, or the screaming semis cruising past. Oh, and of course the irritating engine of the WELIKEBIKE truck ten feet away from me (to charge a battery? Power the laptop up in the cab? Ugh…)
My currency is time, I took my hints from Frost and from Kay Ryan, and from Pink Floyd wayyyy back in high school.
When I do go, it’s a bonding opportunity. A joy simply sitting back and listening to scintillating twentysomething repartee. And noting age-specific behaviors. Without fail, either when pulling out of camp or leaving the store, a rider or two will urge Matt to “Go! NOW! GO! Let him/her run after us!” I suppose it’s a way to master the fear of abandonment. Dish it out!
Whether it’s Steve “checking his laundry” or Kyla not getting out of the store fast enough it’s wanton, impersonal, hilarious. Very scary. Reminds me of the story of Ping. Or my kidhood road trips when one or another of us six Phelans would be left behind– our presence not missed. Was this a version of giving a kid the “Freudian slip”? No wonder I’m batty.
But back to camp, where twelve to fifteen people tumble out to throw together some sort of food.
Never, ever cleaning up (that’s for raccoons, rats, and yours truly). possibly making a fire and sitting around drinking beer and making fun of one another…but mostly crawing into the tent with a final VVVVVVV of the big zipper and a few tosses of the nylon sleeping bag.
Or not. I have nothing to do with tents.
The first half of my life I WAS tense. It’s great to be free at last, to just lie solidly on the ground and look straight up to where I came from.