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Costco Bike

Travellin’ Cat

Poem for leaving Sonoma County

Upon These Dead Roads

I climb Harrison Grade
for the last time, seeing
the illegal roadside dump,
the steep embankment,
topography’s spin cycle for
economy’s toughest stains.

I have a laundry list, wet
and folded, in my jersey pocket.
Things to do today are
tomorrow’s tire tracks,
as you can ruin a landscape
with nostalgia.

At the intersection of Morelli,
I stray from my lucid route.

Down a forgotten road,
across East Austin Creek,
past where men once prayed to get out
now they pray to go in.
Hold on for prayer on the fall
to Highway One
to the beach at last. Feet numb,
I dive into the nuclear ocean
trailing the dreams of centuries
of young men: Go West.

I rise to the surface in the town of Graton.
Pass the house where I met my wife.

The roads around here are dead,
full of potholes.

Finally east on Occidental,
the sun at my back,
faded paint on the pavement:
So much upon these dead roads I have written.
So much alive these roads have written me.

Going out of business brings out the best in people

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working at my bike store more. After 5 years in business, Saturday was our final day. Since we put up the going out of business signs on June 15th, it’s like we’re conducting a psychological experiment on customers. The results are fascinating, if slightly disturbing.

Here are a few of my favorite going out of business quotes:

After seeing a shop in complete disarray and going out of business sign on the front door, the most common quote had to be, “are you really going out of business?”

“I wish I had heard you were going out business sooner.”

“I love going out of business sales. I get such good deals.”

Overheard: “It’s too bad…they had a great bathroom.”

“Can you tell me what size bike my friend needs.” (even though we don’t have any bikes left to sell.)

“I want to support you guys [by buying some stuff] …. Really? You want $5 dollars for this?!” (while they hold a $20 item in their hand)

“I’d like to support your sale.”

“Can you hold this for me until the price goes down?”

Customer holds up a piece of clothing that retails for $60, on sale for $30. Customer says, “I’ll give you $20 for this.” Charity says, “No.” Customer huffs out.

I posted free cabinets to craigslist. I was inundated with emails immediately. I responded with our hours, our address, and that it was first come, first served. Someone came by the next afternoon looking for the cabinets. I told him the cabinets had been taken. He responded in a not so nice tone, “It’ve been nice if someone told me that,” and he walked out.

Another person asked me if I could drop off the cabinets in Larkspur, which is 40 miles away. People, the operative word is free.

A kid rides in. He tells Darrin he’s on a bike tour down the coast, but he works a bicycle coop somewhere in the bay area. The kid rattles  on about how corporate bike shops are destroying the local shops. Yadda-yadda. He then asks if we’d donate anything left over to his coop.

“I’m half Jew. I have to jew you down.”

Sophie (my dog) has a stuffed monkey toy that she plays with the shop. It was laying on the ground near a pile of tools we had for sale. A woman, in her frenzy to find deals, picks it up and asks, “What’s this for?” Steve responds: “That’s a dog toy.” How Steve should have responded: “That’s a saddle cover.”

Closed does not imply clopen