Deadly virus layoff and a minor hurricane
After months and months of wistful longing, I dialed City Bike and pressed send…
[Six Months Earlier]
Working remotely for six weeks had not been so bad, despite my “office” consisting of the space below my upper bunk, with my computer set up on a TV tray, Max Headroom: 1.5 inches. Not so bad, at least, until the call from HR came to inform me that this particular Friday would be my final Friday of employment with them. No notice. No severance pay. Three weeks of accrued vacation time vanished. I was unemployed and in no position to be dropping $2000 on a silly fat tired bicycle. It would take six months before I would regain my adventurous self, before I could again create a future with sufficient silliness to float this fat tire dream. Six months of responsible delayed gratification, of job hunting emails, interviews, rejections, and finally, an offer.
But the unemployment nightmare was over. I was starting to loosen up on the remote screen share meetings and last night’s web search for “bikepacking Florida” had returned some very interesting results. These had tipped the scale toward action:
That’s right, the Iditarod Trail, itself and many more along those lines at FAT BIKE BIKEPACKING ROUTES .
I was ready to dial, but would have to wait until until daylight when the store was open. Alas, my job, my wonderful, beautiful, fantastic job kept me busy until a mere fifteen minutes before closing time. Finally, finally my fingers tapped the glassy surface and my phone was ringing up City Bike! The machine picked up. It went to voicemail? The store had closed early on the very day I make the call, debit card in hand? Not possible, not even with Hurricane Eta spinning slowly 70 short miles off shore. Most Floridians are are wimpy weather weenies. I just never thought people who sold Surly bikes would be among them. I redialed, only to hear the same voicemail greeting. This time I left a message…
Hi. This is Paul in Clearwater. You’re supposed to be open until 6:00, and it’s only a quarter till.
[spoken quickly, like Ralphie describing the Red Ryder at the Higbee Company Department Store, just before Santa boots him back down the slide]
I want to order a bike. I want a Surly Wednesday, large, in Blue Monday with Edna 4.3 inch tires and the Surly Rear Disc Rack and maybe some fenders, those little mini-fenders, not the big full kind…[Sigh]
[Spoken sadly, like Eeyore on his birthday]
I guess I’ll have to talk to you about it. My number is 9… Oh, I’ll call you back.*
*Update. I called City Bike back the next day and was told Surly has no available inventory and to call back in mid December. The earliest possible delivery would be in January.