The Guy At The Bike Store

After patiently listening as I described the type of cycling helmet I was looking for, my price range, and the various brands and models that I’d tried prior to entering the store, he said to me:

You know, I don’t actually work here…this is just where I hang out…but you should try that one up there.

He pointed to the Gyro Synthe, a bargain at CAD$330. Then he sat down on the sofa next to the cyclocross bikes and started to read a book.

It never occurred to me that a person could simply hang out at the bike store. Then again, why not? It’s free, they do have a sofa, and you can be around bikes all day. There’s really no downside.

Maybe that’s what I’ll start doing…hanging out. Just show up every morning with a couple of coffees for the staff, kick off my shoes, and take my spot on the sofa. Read some, then doze off for a while. If I want to give back, I’ll engage customers and try to upsell them on the most expensive merchandise.

I did not buy the Synthe. I bought a different helmet, at a different store, for a lot less money. It isn’t the helmet that all the cool kids are wearing, but it fits me better and was constructed to the same safety standard as the $330 helmet.

Know your enemy. Beware the upsell.

The Guy At The Bike Store

Not Even Crime

Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives.

It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages…I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.

Henry David Thoreau, Life Without Principle

Not Even Crime

Bertrand Russell On Priorities

But they will not work, as Americans and Western Europeans do, simply because they would be bored if they did not work, nor do they love hustle for its own sake. When they have enough to live on, they live on it, instead of trying to augment it by hard work. They have an infinite capacity for leisurely amusements – going to the theatre, talking while they drink tea, admiring the Chinese art of earlier times, or walking in beautiful scenery. To our way of thinking, there is something unduly mild about such a way of spending one’s life; we respect more a man who goes to his office every day, even if all that he does in his office is harmful.

Bertrand RussellEastern And Western Ideals of Happiness (Skeptical Essays, 1928)

Bertrand Russell On Priorities

Three Words

Lately, the three words that frighten me most are “this is it”.

As in: we’re here, we’ve arrived, this is where we’ll be indefinitely, let’s lay down some roots. Despite the fact that here was carefully thought out, I’ve come to accept that there will always be appealing. Pretending otherwise would be a violation of natural law.

Because there isn’t much difference between “this is it!” and “is this it?”

Perhaps we should go to Mexico for a while. It’s rumoured that they have cheap orange juice, ripe avocados, and tacos. We could come back when here starts to feel like there again.

The argument, roughly, was as follows: that in becoming human, man had acquired, together with his straight legs and striding walk, a migratory ‘drive’ or instinct to walk long distances through the seasons; that this ‘drive’ was inseparable from his central nervous system; and that, when warped in conditions of settlement, it found outlets in violence, greed, status-seeking or a mania for the new.

Bruce Chatwin, Anatomy of Restlessness

Three Words

A Disclaimer, Borrowed

I do not doubt that I often happen to talk of things which are treated better in the writings of master-craftsmen, and with more authenticity.

If anyone is looking for knowledge let him go where such fish are to be caught: there is nothing I lay claim to less. These are my own thoughts, by which I am striving to make known not matter but me.

Where my borrowings are concerned, see whether I have been able to select something which improves my theme: I get others to say what I cannot put so well myself, sometimes because of the weakness of my language and sometimes because of the weakness of my intellect.

Michel de Montaigne, On Books

 

A Disclaimer, Borrowed