Posted August 3rd, 2009
I have a fabulous job. The fresh scent of rubber and grease, the privilege of a Tuesday or a Wednesday off, and a whole entire week of paid vacation every single year are just a few of the things that keep me whistling on my way to work. The best thing though, is that each day I spread happiness like soft cheese on a life-sized Red Hen seeded baguette.
Spending glorious summer days indoors helping people get outdoors fills me with so much warmth and happiness, my face assumes a redness that can only be confused with bitter resentment. With a flushed complexion, I feel like I’m serving the greater good when I fix that flat, adjust that pesky derailleur, or spend an hour educating someone on the perfect bike to buy at another bike shop or on Ebay. The boss may not always be happy with me, but as long as I am making people happy, I am happy, and I try my hardest to make people happy every day, so that I am happy every day. As it turns out, I make a few people, aside from the boss, extremely unhappy, which makes me unhappy, but all I can do is wonder where the happiness took a turn for the worse. I simply have to accept the fact that I can’t make everyone happy, shake the unhappiness off, and then just continue to be happy.
Even with all this happiness floating around like a giant helium-filled smiley face, it is still nice to get out of the shop and do something different every once in a while. Fortunately, there are always special events to look forward to at the shop. In the summer months, we have so many special events that when a week goes by without one, we can only assume we forgot about a bike maintenance clinic, a slide show, or a group road ride, and somewhere, one or two people, who were once happy, are standing around, waiting for one of our special events to begin, while becoming unhappy. Hopefully this has never happened. If it has, I apologize, and I blame one of my favorite fellow workers, Bart.
One special event that I have never forgotten about, as far as I know, is our Tuesday Night Mountain Bike Race at Morse Farm, where happiness flows like maple sap in good sugaring weather. Among many other duties, I run around with a megaphone, handing out free creemee coupons to all the kids who race the Goat Loop, even if their Mommy or Daddy carries them across the finish line because they fell and hurt their pee-pee. It always amazes me how quickly tears stop flowing with a few encouraging words and a free creemee coupon. In an instant, unhappiness turns into happiness. If I could make this transformation occur at work, I’d be handing out free creemees all day, and the boss would have a weight problem.
Another event that I look forward to is our annual century ride. Instead of being trapped inside the shop all day, I am trapped inside the support vehicle all day, and in some cases into the night, while the world’s most determined participant, who decided it would be a good idea to pull that bike out of the barn, pump up the tires, bungee cord a water bottle to his handlebars, and simply ride 113 miles, crawls to the finish. Encouraging words help for the first 60 or 70 miles, but then the realization that this perhaps wasn’t such a great idea settles in, and nothing, not even a free creemee coupon, can overcome his unhappiness with 38 miles to go. At the end of the ride, however, when he reaches the finish line, happiness finally emerges, a happiness that only I, having spent the past eight hours following him, can fully appreciate.
My favorite special event of them all is the Fourth of July parade. All of my favorite fellow workers and I ride assorted clunkers through the streets of Montpelier, which are lined with happy people cheering and clapping. It’s the only time of year when we can legally ride in large circles at the intersection of State and Main, and it’s the only time of year when we ride bikes with something other than water in our water bottles. At the end, I usually head to the Morse Farm tent for a delicious maple creemee, and even though the boss is always happy after the parade, I buy him one, too. Sometimes, it’s good to throw a little happiness at happiness, like sprinkling maple crunchies on a life-sized Morse Farm creemee.