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possible ride effects
a blog at best
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
9.28.07
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It's Wednesday again, and I'm not impressed.

Another ride to work on my aging Trek mountain bike, which has been modified only slightly with "hybrid" tires that make riding on the pavement a little less sluggish, but will explode if you hit a sharp curb. Fortunately, like most of the commuters you encounter in Boston, curbs in this teenytiny city are worn, dull, and slowly eroding into forms barely distinguishable from the street itself.

As I ride in, I listening to yet another podcast. This time it's Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing Boing podcast, and he's interviewing foppish, fruity, self-important science fiction legend William Gibson. Doctorow is being insightful and provocative as usual, and Gibson is just being a douche. He can't help it, because all the hippest and most accomplished sci-fi writers of today treat him as though he were Gene Simmons attending a high-school battle of the bands in 1978. Doctorow asks a question about China emerging as a futuristic city worthy of more attention from writers like Gibson. Gibson starts blathering on about Japan and how they have better shoes than the Chinese.

I decide that William Gibson, whose book Neuromancer is arguably one of the most influential science fiction novels of all time, is an asshole.

I lock up my bike next to 3 Vespas, and decide that people who drive Vespas in Boston must suffer from crippling arthritis, because there is no other reasonable excuse not to walk or actually pedal your ass around a city this small. I understand why Vespas are so popular. They're cute, they're easy to use, and you can park them anywhere. But they also remind me a little too much of those motorized scooters that stroke victims use. No thanks. While I'm young and able, I'll move under my own steam every chance I get.

Most impressive thing so far is the guy behind the coffee counter. This morning, he has swapped his thrice-weekly-worn, grubby, once-white-now-gray t-shirt for a nice-looking button-down blue oxford. He's always friendly, and he always remembers my order. I decide that I'm an asshole for making note of something so superficial as what shirt he's wearing.

I'm changing out of my riding outfit (t-shirt and shorts) into my office outfit (t-shirt and pants) in the handicapped stall in the Men's room. I usually get to work around 8:45 so that I can use this stall to change in. Of the two stalls available in this lavatory that's supposed to service the 80 or more people on my floor, it's the one that actually affords some luxury of movement. From 8:50 am until 4:30 pm, it will be occupied, round-the-clock, by Ad People who read sports and finance pages, then leave them behind to moulder and fester in the fumes and humidity they created.

Once I've arrived at my desk, it occurs to me that my first meeting isn't until 10 am. Maybe today will be a good day to do a little writing. If I can start carving out little half-hour or one-hour chunks of time, at regular intervals throughout the week, maybe I can start to build a collection of daily writings that will add up to a novel-sized, memoir-like object that will be published and then I can make shitloads of money like Augusten Burroughs and quit my job which I'm starting to hate.

I write four or five paragraphs I like, then four or five more that have devolved into a scathing diatribe about my workplace. No fun for anybody to read, least of all me. I delete them immediately, then write about that.

About 40 minutes have passed, and now the cubes around me have become active with voicemails on speakerphone, the tiktiktik of keyboards, and quiet conversations about schedules, what was on tv last night, and today's upcoming meetings.

It's Wednesday again. My coffee cup is almost empty and it's time to get to work.


ABOUT JEFF MILLER

Brown eyes, brown hair, bluejeans and a T-shirt. Digs loud guitars and good design. Easily hypnotized by green-eyed blondes, shiny leather, B-movies, and brightly packaged foods. He's got a bustle in his hedgerow - but he is NOT alarmed.

more about jeff miller




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