Empty Days

Friday, March 18, 2005

...life goes on - after the thrill of living is gone...

It was much better today - though much worse in terms of income. I didn't go to the office in the morning, didn't have to face stupid mind-games from people there, I just stayed on the road today and the dispatcher gave me calls not by voice but as text-messages on the mobile. That way I felt in control and just kept cycling all over town - the weather was great (though still kinda cold), the traffic was light, there were few calls and no pressure to speak of. That's what I like about this job - CYCLING - and it doesn't really matter if I make a lot of money or very little cash (though too little would make it too strange to wake up for the job in the morning).

Another important thing: I crashed at 9pm yesterday and slept irresistibly until about 2am - then I stayed up util about 5am and then slept some more until 7:30am. That way I got enough sleep and was not prevented and frustrated by whatever noise the fucking neighbours were making upstairs all night long. So I felt more refreshed and stronger in the morning. And I climbed very steep hills today with far less effort and exhaustion - because I generally felt good about myself, I had more energy, it was alright.

We'll see what happens next week. If they keep giving me shit for no reason, if they make me understand I am just not good enough - then I am all prepared and ready to get fired. Right - do I care? NO. The fact that I got all that experience is more valuable than money and there are other companies I may have a better chance with.

So - avoid mind-gamers at the office, cycle, respect the dispatch, don't think about money too much. That's the formula. And enjoy cycling and meeting other couriers - they're nice to talk to, even though some of those guys and gals look and act really grumpy :-0

What I-Ching thinks of my situation right now.

29. K'an = The Abyss:

The Judgment:

Abyss upon Abyss;
Danger piled on danger.
If you are sincere, you have success in your heart,
And whatever you do will succeed.

The Image:

Water flows ever on and so reaches its destiny:
The image of the abyss upon the abyss.
Thus the superior man walks in lasting virtue
And carries on the business of teaching.


Old Yin (Six) in the third place means:
Forward and backward, abyss on abyss.
In danger like this, pause at first and wait,
Otherwise you will fall deeper into the abyss.
Do not act in this way.

Old Yin (Six) in the fourth place means:
A jug of wine, a bowl of rice with it;
Earthen vessels
Handed roughly in through a crevice.
There is certainly no blame in this.

Old Yin (Six) at the top means:
Bound with cords and ropes,
Shut in between thorn-hedged prison walls:
For three years one does not find the way.
Great misfortune.

I interpret the 1st as "riding in traffic" and the advice: not to run red lights.
The 2nd line means the way main office and dispatcher acts towards me.
The 3rd is clearly a possibility of paralyzing traffic accident - sounds like the life of a sever paraplegic.

The overall meaning is really keen on the situation - danger all around and having a clear heart to deal with it. As I am not "sincere" or with a clear heart, I will not succeed but will mess up even worse. Sounds about right.


Resulting situation is 44. Kou = Coming Together:

The Judgment:

Coming Together. The woman has power.
No marriage can be favourable.

The Image:

The wind blows under the heavens:
This is the image of Coming Together.
Thus the superior man gives out his commands,
Proclaiming them to the four corners of the land.


It's really a terrible pity I quit smoking because now I really have no idea how to relieve all the stress of the day - I hate alcohol - does it mean I will have to revert to grass, like I did on that office job when I smoked every evening after work?

I don't like that idea. But I need to find a way to relieve stress. Maybe alcohol would be a good thing after all.

Also, I am not sure I want to make money or to even work at all.

Three days later - still alive.

But seriously stressed out. The people at the courier office are pissed that I seem not to know how to use a two-way radio efficiently, they are also pissed that I just don't know the ropes yet and am a slow learner (really? maybe they're crazy). Either way they really gave me a hard time yesterday at the office as a result of which I had a bad mental state in the afternoon with all the huge Thursday traffic in downtown - and I ran down a guy while running down a red-light and avoiding a zillion taxis. I hit the guy on the leg, I then proceeded to fall off my bike in front of a huge crowd of busy spectators from all over the intersection. Holy fuck - it was a humiliating and frustrating moment - and the guy I ran down was super worried about me because I made a spectacular fall while he will only have a bump on his calf from my front wheel. Oh fuck. I didn't hurt myself - but I felt like shit for a while thereafter, and I cried from stress while biking home after that day's work.

But mostly I hate two things at the moment: the manager at the office for being such a prick, and my upstairs neighbour who didn't let me sleep the two previous nights which resulted in me being additionally stressed-out in my first days on the job.

Right now I am still forced to cry when I think about this but it's only a nervous reaction - pure mental stress. I wish I could cry torrents to flush it out but I can't, so I am evacuating some of this shit by writing here.


The first two days there were two different dispatchers working - one was cool, the next one was far less cool. I hustled for calls all the time and was able to make some cash - $50 day 1, $40 day 2. Today I probly made even less. This whole thing depends on your relation with the dispatcher - if he trusts you, you will get all the calls in the world. But first you need to prove yourself. Which is extremely difficult when you don't know zilch about this whole business. Not to mention that I am not in top shape as yet.

Anyhow. I have the feeling they might want to give me another week trial time and then will fire me anyway. It will be hard on my self-esteem, i think. It already is in any case. Which doesn't mean that I can't try it out with some other company afterwards. It's just a question of persistence, I think. And finding the right balance between what I need from the job and what they need from me.

I think there are two things I want: work part-time instead of 5 days a week, and have a good relation with the main office. Neither is available at the moment.


Another thing: I really hate working. It's always the same: waking up in the morning, going to some office, having to take shit from other people's moods beside my own. All this is always the same, it's called "office culture", and I recognized the feeling immediately - that's the one thing that made me quit work altogether 5 years ago.

I hate 9 to 5 and all that shit. And yet couriers are of course bound to this schedule no less than people at the offices. The only difference is that office-people stay in closed spaces all day, while couriers roam around town - from one place to another.


I need more independance. I don't need office people giving me shit. Fuck them. I want to learn efficient biking though. After that I can concentrate on communication. I really hate dealing with other people's moods. I have a self-esteem problem. I do my best but it never seems good enough. I want to kill myself in any case and this is nothing knew. It's a very lonely job and I don't feel like I belong with all those goddam "cool" messengers in there - I don't want to be cool, I just want to bike all day long and have some peace of mind!!!! more than money for sure.

In a way I hope I will be run down by a car. FUCK THOSE OFFICE RATS ANYHOW.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My first day as a bike messenger.

So I did it, yes. Waited for better weather to set in and then went to look for a job. Got one the same day, after trying a few places. Today was my debut - not too bad, with the exception of totally exhausted limbs at the moment and wasting a lot of time and effort looking for places. I am not really working for a big bike-messenger company, it's a courier outfit and they have two bikers and a half (I am being the half from inexperience).

I can't believe how much sweat I exuded over the course of my errands. This is largely due to my not being properly equipped for the job - I wear a down jacket and this really induces perspiration. But I don't have anything else to wear and when temps dropped at the end of the day it did save me a lot of shivering in the cold wind.

Another thing I found out: the hardest part is not biking, it's operating the two-way radio (or some sort of pager cum mobile). I hate this radio - it's impossible to communicate normally with this thing, there are constantly gaps in connection, instead of voice you hear crackling sounds etc etc etc. I misunderstood a few of those addresses the dispatch gave me. But he knew my predicament and he was nice about me messing up a bit. I completed all calls on time though (barely, haha). It's essential to have a wise dispatcher it seems because he's the one who knows what a biker can be expected to do and gives out calls accordingly. Today he knew I was going to be slow, messed-up, and generally ineffectual - so he just waited for me to call in and gave me a couple of runs at a time. All in all a very kind and wise dispatch. What this means is that I had no pressure to speak of and everything went a little too good to be true.

Well, we'll see how this shall develop.

And of course, the other main attraction of the job: the total and utter disregard and detachment it affords towards the great bustling business-world of the downtown. Only bike couriers are allowed to be total bums and yet penetrate in the holiest of the holy of all those high-profile mega-social-success places. It's a very funny feeling: being a true alien amidst an obliviously monotonous population. It's hard for those people out there, climbing the social ladder, clinging to those high-paying jobs. I don't know how they do it - biking is a piece of cake by comparison, even if it's a sweaty dirty job etc.

Of course so far all this is a novelty but I may get bored with it eventually. I just don't know yet. I don't even know how much I made today - all I know is I did something like 15 calls and I started around 10am because we couldn't make the goddam radio work. Anyway.

One incident: I nearly got "doored" at some point but was lucky. Should be more careful next time.

And another thing - I am really not fast compared to some of those fixed-gear superbikers out there. But at the same time I don't care: because still it's more important to know exactly where places are than to go 60 mph straight to hell. And I can't climb tremendous hills with no gears - and will not be able to in a very long while I think. So all in all, things are looking good even though i will never become too much of a biker - I don't like to force beyond reason even though I did force a lot today, to the point of getting cramps in my foot at some point.

Last remark: some of the bikers are true characters. Today saw a guy who kept saying "it's a beautiful world" and smiling all over the place. Like some born-again christian or what not. Cracked me up big time.

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