Summers in bike shops are, obviously, as busy as the winters are slow.
Any weekend day with relatively clear weather means that all the shops in the area are flooded with customers and their respective bikes. Mechanical issues, flat repairs, sales of bikes, tune-ups...and within the resulting deluge of regular customers, I barely get to talk to the people I love.
It's selfish, I know, to pout over lack of attention. I'll have the shop nearly all to myself come winter. And I usually only stop by to hang out and say hello, and sneak behind the counter to watch a repair or two, or get a closer look at a pretty [expensive] bike. Meanwhile, my friends are on their feet for nearly 12 hours a day, battling dirty bikes, bending derailleur hangers back into shape, or running around to satisfy a customer's every whim. "Lunch" is consumed around 5pm, if they're lucky, and if you've noticed, there's a conspicuous lack of chairs in every bike shop.
And if you look closely, you'll notice, too, that every bike shop has some food behind the counter. Placed within easy reach of the mechanic's bike stand, or in a tool box drawer, are cups of coffee, bags of chips, and this past weekend, even fried chicken. But it's not every day that a customer owns a Popeye's franchise and delivers about three tons of deep fried golden deliciousness to the shop as a gesture of thanks...which is why I brought some [of Chris's] favorite cookies along when I poked my head through the door of IBC this past weekend.
Because, you know, I like to take care of my own. Never mind that I need those guys to stay healthy and on their feet from a purely self-interested perspective...I mean, I'm doing this for the good of everyone involved. Ever tried to fix something when you were starving? Ever tried to politely reason with someone around 4pm when the last time you ate solid food was about 7 hours ago?
Yeah, it sucks. And when summers mean more riding, more broken down everythings, and more customers demanding attention, well, the least I can do is make sure there's something being digested in certain stomachs. Granted, my charity was a bit ill-timed and arrived in the aftermath of battered chicken, but apparently was still appreciated.
You are what you eat, I suppose. Or, I hope. Because then I can at least try to keep my mechanics sweet, despite the summer workload.