November 07, 2011

California Conversations: At the Bike Shop

"Can someone help me with the bike racks for my car?" I asked the guys behind the counter at Performance Bicycle in Canoga Park. I'd been rained out of my hike in Chatsworth so I decided to get some errands done while I was in the Valley.

"Sure, what do you need?" the clerk asked as he emerged from behind the counter and walked down the aisle with me.

"Well, I only need one for a single bike, for my hatchback car. I saw these," I said, pointing to some flimsy-looking plastic contraptions with dangling straps hanging from the wall, "but I don't really know..."

"Well," he said, "I would definitely recommend a 2-up or a 3-up for you."

"Yeah but I only have one bike. It's just me."

"OK but the 2-up will be good just in case you have to carry another bike -"

"- I won't, it's just me," I interrupted.

"OK but the 2-up will hold your bike farther away from your car, because if you stop short or something, the bike tends to rock back and forth a bit."

"Well, that will definitely happen. OK."

"In fact, you probably want to get the 3-up just in case. Besides, it looks like it's cheaper than the 2-up..."

I had to stop him there. "OK now that's just ridiculous. I'm telling you, it's just me. I'm all alone in this world. There are no three bikes. There is only one bike. You might be able to convince me to get the 2 one, but the 3 one is just out of the question. It's embarrassing."

"OK..." he said, face worrying, backing away from me.

My eyes welled with tears. "It's. Embarrassing."

"OK so what are we doing then?" he asked.

"You might as well just give me the 2. Now how do I put this thing on?"

He tried telling me how easy it was, assuring me that I'd be able to figure it out myself.

"And is that a service you provide?" I asked.

He then explained that they're not allowed to actually do it for me, but he'd be willing to sort of help me out or answer any questions.

"OK I guess I'll just take it home and figure it out. But I may have to come back. I told you, I'm all alone, it's just me," I bemoaned.

"OK well come back if you have any problems and we'll try to help you..."

I then paid for my new rack, struggled to carry it out to my car by myself, and threw it in the trunk. I sat behind the wheel as the dark clouds advanced overhead and the sky began to sprinkle, and burst into tears, resting my head on the steering wheel with my hands covering my eyes.

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