Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Lovely Vintage Dresser

In response to a flurry of emails from a person inquiring about dimensions of a dresser I had up for sale on Craigslist:

Dear Sir,

Referring to your correspondence regarding my lovely vintage dresser for sale on Craigslist, you quote the body of the "add" and ask (for the second time) "where are the dimensions?"  Well, I concede - you are correct.  There are no dimensions anywhere in the body of the advertisement (commonly shortened to "ad" not "add", which is a type of mathematical function).  However, your premise is flawed because the ad has other aspects, which you have apparently either not seen or refused to consider.  In fact, the ad includes multitudes of other fascinating and useful bits of information.

In pertinent part, for example, the dimensions to which I refer in my previous email appear in the box labeled "size/dimensions" that accompany the ad in the same fashion as the picture of the dresser in question - as an additional and easily accessed piece of information appearing on the same virtual page for viewing by the curious dresser-seeker.  The size/dimensions box appears on the right side of the ad, right below the box labeled "condition," which itself is right below a Google map showing a gross approximation of the location of the dresser-seller in question.  All of this exciting stuff is accessible with no special skills or computer hardware whatsoever.  

So, continuing on this path, the box reveals to even the most casual observer that the dimensions are 34x19x40.  Using the common convention of width, depth and height, you should conclude that the dresser is 34 inches wide, 19 inches deep and 40 inches high.  So, in fact, the information was where I said it was.

I apologize if this was difficult to find and sorry to have caused any confusion.  I hope the rest of your day is better.  I hope it is better than the day that I am having.  Helping other people read advertisements is exhausting.  Now, I need a nap.

I also hope that you can find a nice dresser to put things in.  Maybe other dresser-sellers will make your life easier by putting the dimensions in the body of the ad so you can find it more easily.  I won't be doing that because the form that I use to create ads, such as the one we are discussing, automatically invites the seller to add (not ad) the pertinent information and creates an advertisement with the box to display the information.  To me, one recitation of dimensions seems sufficient to get the job done.  Maybe I am wrong to think this way.  Perhaps my laziness will backfire when other dresser-sellers enjoy successful dresser sales and I sadly do not. But I prefer to do things once because I just hate wasting my time doing the same thing more times than seems necessary. Like answering emails from dresser seekers who cannot read advertisements.

In conclusion, I hope we have both learned something.  You should be better able to reads ads and I have learned not to try to sell you my dresser.  Since I will not be selling you mine, you will have to read at least one more ad before you find a dresser that suits your needs.  Good luck!
A humble dresser-seller


Email #1
could you give me dimensions of your dresser?

The dimensions are given in the ad.  Thanks.

Email #2:  

//This is a nice vintage wooden dresser bought by my grandparents and used in my home for a long time. It is sturdy and clean. Does have a nice vintage patina and look and has its share of character - which means it has scuffs, scratches and such. However, it serves it's purpose better than most of the new stuff. 3 deep drawers and two smaller ones.//

where are the dimensions in this add?


Monday, December 14, 2015

Steppin' Out

Apologies for the poor lighting.  Just wanted to show off a bit.  Karen and I on Saturday night, December 12th.  Going to dinner with members of the firm downtown Chicago.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Different and New Conveyance - Subaru

Very happy with our new vehicle.  Not flashy.  Not big.  Not tiny.  A Subaru Forester.  And it's just right.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hi, I’m Steve, and I’m an Addict

Hi, I’m Steve, and I’m an addict.

Hi, Steve.

I’m a bicycle addict.

How many have you, Steve?

Nine bikes.

That is quite a few.  

I know people with lots more.  With me, it started out innocent.  Just a cheap mountain bike, no big thrill, just a bit of fun on the weekends.  Recreational use only.  It seemed like everyone was doing it. 

How was it back then?

Casual.  It didn’t affect family time or the job. Then I ran into some other cyclists. 

What happened?

They did it every day.  They were serious.  It was a bigger thrill.  I wanted to be part of the club. So, I bought into it.  It was amazing. New bike.  Made in Italy.  The performance was astonishing.  And I became one of them.

How did that feel, to be part of the club?

Well, it was cool and weird at the same time.  But still just for fun.  These were my new friends, and they became good friends, because of our shared obsession, but I barely knew their names.  Isn't that nuts?  We were just out hammering.  Work and family never came up because we were always at redline.  And as we stayed out longer and went faster, the payoff got bigger.  Man the endorphins!  After a while it was all I could think about.  The next time. 

It progressed from there?

I hung only with lifers after a while.  I was all hardcore all of the time. There are rules only experienced people know.  The highs were amazing.

How serious did it get?

Many of us were racing.  We wanted to do the hardest of the sick stuff.  Climbs, crits, track, time trials, cyclocross.  Each kind of race needed a different bike, different shoes, different gear.  We tried different supplements, yoga, intervals, massage, stronger coffee, anything to go faster and harder. 

So, you started buying…

Yeah and Italian steel wasn’t good enough anymore.  First, there was aluminum, then titanium, two kinds:  3/2.5 and 6/4 and then the ultimate, carbon-fiber.  Man, do you know how many different kinds of carbon-fiber there are?  It’s crazy. They make everything out of the stuff, frames, saddles, spokes, rims, bars, cranks.  It makes me dizzy to think about it. The lighter, the better, all for more speed.  I had to have it.

You are safe here – deep breaths.

I was totally hooked, totally addicted.  I couldn't see what was happening and I didn't care.  I thought it was under control.  I had goals like a sub hour 40K. But I quit a good paying job to work at a bike shop.  I sold stuff to buy more bikes and bike gear.  I ignored the house work.  It wasn’t just weekend recreation any more. It was a way of life. I rode to work even in terrible weather.  Did intervals in the evenings.  Lunchtime rides instead of lunch.  Ate salads to lose weight.  After hard rides I could only lay on the couch.  It was taking over.  I was exhausted most of the time.  I only eased off before a race.  It’s called tapering.

Yes, we know.

I color-coordinated my kit and bar tape. I followed all my bike heroes on twitter. I started my own ironic bike blog.  I moved the cars out of the garage so I could have my own shop space.  It makes me want to cry.

You can cry here if you need to.

It all came crashing down this Spring.  It had to end somehow.  My hospital bills are pretty crazy.

It happens to everyone sooner or later.

I’m actually relieved.  I’m still recovering.  But I couldn’t keep going at the same pace.

It is going to take a long time.  Be patient with yourself.  We try to be the tortoise, not the hare. 
We are here for you.  This is a lifetime project now.

 I have a new job.  It’s respectable and pays well. 

Congratulations.  That is a big step.  Our time is almost over.  Any last thoughts?

They are going to let me park my commuter bike downstairs.  And there is a shower I can use.  Cool huh?  Well, see you next time.  And thanks. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Upon a Pillory

"Upon a pillory - that al the world may see, A just desert for such impiety."

What flashed through my mind as I was falling was the scene in GoldenEye, wherein the evil henchman Boris, thinking that he was finally victorious, yells, “Yes! I am invincible!” Of course, Boris gets his just deserts immediately afterwards when a tank of liquid nitrogen spills over him and his building crashes down.

So it was on that day in March, when a dear and longtime cycling friend, Bob, fell hard in front of me after tangling with another rider during a fast group ride. I remember thinking that perhaps Bob might continue sliding down the road and out of my line and that I might avoid running him over.  But no, I went over the top of him, thinking of Boris and my 26 years of hard group rides with nary a mishap and only a handful of humorous close calls.  I awoke flat on my back, unable to sit up or move my right arm.

My bike was fine, thanks.

It might be hard to be sympathetic when a person injures himself having fun, getting his jollies and some exercise goofing off with his friends while avoiding house and yardwork on a lovely and calm weekend morning. To be sure, it’s a first world problem. But the pain, confusion and the sense of loss afterwards is the same whether it is caused by throwing hay bales or swinging a tennis racket.

So, it came to me, as I was falling and breaking my shoulder in about four places, that my self-confidence, bordering on arrogance, from having ridden with professional teams, from having worked for a bike company, from having never fallen in 26 years of cycling, from my acquired feeling that “It will never happen to me. I’m too good at this,” had finally triggered some serious karma.

Well, I am more than just humbled. There is a lot going on here beyond a cosmic course correction. To quote from the internet, “Athletes react to injuries with a wide range of emotions which may include denial, anger, sadness and even depression. An injury often seems unfair to anyone who has been physically active and otherwise healthy.” Yep, I have experienced all of that. In my case, I had envisioned an elaborately active retirement of fun, biking, hiking, motorcycling, fly fishing, climbing and all manner of exploring. All of this seems now to be only a dim statistical cloud of maybes as opposed to a glowing fantasy to daydream about during my time toiling away in an office. I do know that it is hard to maintain a positive attitude because I have nearly constant pain, and activity makes it worse. My recovery will likely take the better part of a year. The bubble is officially burst.

I am surprised at how mentally fragile I am right now. I never realized how much I depended upon being physically fit and connected to and accepted by other cyclists. I was proud that I was as strong as cyclists half my age. I thought I was mentally tough from all of the suffering in the saddle.  But now tears appear easily. Staying focused is hard.  I don't enjoy my other hobbies as much.  It is clear that my sense of myself was not balanced and this has magnified my sense of loss.

Now, three months after surgery, I can sometimes find small victories during my workouts.  I notice the good days and ask for help on the bad days.  I’m trying to sleep more. I will schedule some psychotherapy to reduce my anxiety about returning to active life. I should get better. Who knows?

There are some things that I replay. While I was waiting for the ambulance to arrive, another long time cycling friend, Dave, held my hand the entire time I was lying on the pavement. I don’t remember what he said when I said "I am really broken.” But I will not forget that he kept me from freaking out. The gang surrounded me to protect me from traffic. People stepped up. Bob was in anguish about me going down. For a bunch of testosterone-crazed, coffee-fueled scofflaws with unnaturally big legs and bad tans, I am reminded that my friends are good people first.

Someday soon, Bob and I will go for my first post-surgery ride. We have talked about how important this is. It will be different. It will be slow. It will be uncomfortable. But it will happen.

I have understood from the beginning of this process that my life will never be quite the same. But it will be right.