The Sun and the Moon and the Stars
As all of you know, a Syzygy Event is one in which three or more Heavenly Bodies find themselves in Planetary Alignment. What a phenomenon! In the Wild and Wacky World of Astrology anytime this happens all manner of insanity ensues, because we humans need very little to send us over the edge into a condition I call Syzygyitis. Law Enforcement All the World Over will confirm that a Full Moon makes the Saloon Crowd crazier than usual, so what the hell must happen when THREE full moons line up and send their Crazy Rays into the Hearts and the Souls of the Addled?
I will tell you.
I know what happens because I live at a place that is 100% chock full of sufferers of Syzygyitis. They got it so bad that they are crazy when even ONE planet lines up. This place is practically a leper colony of crazy. Recent experience proves it to be so...
Saddle Up and Hang On
It was a typical Saturday afternoon when it all began. The weather has been windy, wet and weird and not conducive to pleasurable rides. As a Gentleman Cyclist I insist on dignity and decorum when out and about on two wheels and so Meteorological Circumstances had forced me to huddle indoors, sipping strategically on alternating doses of Beer and Bourbon. (I am cautious: I never drink Rum during Celestial Upheaval). Finding myself at a loss for worthwhile endeavor, I decided to repack the hub bearings on a recalcitrant rear wheel I had found one day up under Coyote's trailer. I had put this chore off for awhile and it was time.
Fish Tank Bike Shop
My Living Room Bike Shop is at the very front of my mobile home. There is a fine large bay window there where I installed a workbench and there is good North Light and plenty of room and I spread some newspaper on the bench and began. If any of you are familiar with the process of removing a cassette and the seals and cups and carefully getting out the crusty little bearings and cleaning and repacking all of this then you no doubt realize the amount of alcohol, swearing and bloodshed involved. It ain't pretty and it is bad enough on Bright Sun Shiny Days but this was a day when the Planets Were Not Smiling and neither was Old Tim Joe.
There are times when that big bay window at the front of my trailer might as well be an aquarium filled with Kook Fish. As I worked on that wheel, chanting and doing shots and waving a small sledge hammer around in a menacing manner, the natives were getting restless out there in the Park. We have new Tenants and they bring with them New Troubles.
Nadine in the trailer across from mine is new. I had my suspicions when she first appeared and subsequent events have only confirmed my theories. She has afternoon Gentleman Callers who don't stay long, a testament to Nadine's skills or the inadequacies of the gentlemen. As soon as one of these guys leaves, it is only a matter of moments before I hear the boom boom boom and the walls of the trailer vibrate as a dark colored sedan with ridiculously large and shiny wheels pulls into Nadine's parking spot and yet another gentleman (also dark colored) leaps out and runs inside. He stays the least time of all and runs back to his vehicle and boom boom booms his ass out of the parking lot.
Miss Nadine is a little one-woman economic stimulus package for the Park but I fear those dollars are not being well spent.
So this other new guy George in the Trailer Across the Way has twitched his finely tuned antennae towards the direction of this booming. He has admired Miss Nadine in her comings and goings and now that his theories (like mine) have been confirmed, he decides to pay a visit. George is about my own fiftyish age and apparently he is very pregnant. He is short and not handsome and looks like he may not smell all that good; yet he is possessed of that drunken confidence that tells him that all women find short, fat, smelly and pregnant old men irresistible and thus armed with this misinformation and fortified with whiskey and bravado he struts over to her trailer. The Planets Above quiver in anticipation and for just a nanosecond shift out of alignment.
Always wear a Helmet When Re-Packing A Hub
Me, I'm trying not to watch but it is impossible. I don't own a television and don't need one. I have instead this aquarium of Kook Fish and they are entertaining enough. But my work suffers for it. These bearings are very small and slippery and that boom boom crap vibrated a couple off them off of the bench, I think. I am crawling around on the floor with a flashlight and when I hear shouting across the way I leap up, or try to. My search has carried me under the bench and I don't bang my head all that hard but then it doesn't take much of a bang to get your attention. The remainder of the bearings fall to the floor. Three of these small steel planets roll over towards me and Yea and Verily line up perfectly right under my nose.
I am a careful sipper of refined spirits and long ago learned the beneficial effects of Drinking Responsibly. But it is painfully obvious that 'Ol George skipped class that day and he is doing such a fine job of playing the part of the Rejected Lover and Buffoon that the only way he could improve his performance would be if he were wearing a donkey head.
Trailer Park Drama! Or, The Morning Becomes Etcetera
Nadine is shouting through her closed door and George is loudly muttering dire threats and this brings out George's twenty-something son. Now the Kooks Are On the Loose. I do not know what happened to the Son of George but remote observation on my part would indicate he may have once been kicked by a mule. He is the Epitome of Oaf and always smiling and bobbing his head in time to some distant music that only he can hear, and thank God for that. I have intuitive knowledge that it is Banjo Music. Son of George now stands in the middle of the parking lot shouting unintelligibly at his Father, who is now kicking futilely at Nadine's door. . From my window I cannot hear what he is saying; his back is turned but somehow I get a sense that his pleas are accompanied by drooling and now: Enter the Chorus.
I don't know who these chicks are. They are vaguely familiar. I think I have seen them before, but I can't tell; they are of a type seen in Walmarts and Malls, Tattoo Parlors and Truck Stops all across This Our Mighty Nation. They have very black hair with bright pink and green tips. They are invariably pudgy and tattooed and they have black fingernails and tight-fitting pants that leave considerable real estate uncovered in a manner best described as unfortunate. They wear lipstick that is somehow never right and it is either their lipstick application or some form of unrelieved constipation that gives them a facial expression that would be a smirk except that a smirk requires some kind of brainwave activity and latent contempt, both of which are apparently absent in this case. And a lot of cigarettes.
But there are Two of Them and we need a Chorus and they're all that we have. They set up a clamor that distracts All Players and brings out of doors the other denizens of the Kook Tank that have hitherto been either unconscious or involved in their own pathetic pursuits.
I Say Thee Argh!
At this point I have given up on the wheel on my bench. What started as a prayerful cloistered Saturday Afternoon of wrenching and drinking, of jazz on the stereo and the tinkling of piano music and the tinkering of small tools and the satisfaction of a job well done has idiotically and inevitably devolved into a Pageant of Depredation that is now at a volume level and crowd factor that will soon enough result in Police Attention.
Then, from just around the corner, comes the sound of Boom Boom Boom and all the dogs begin to bark and the sweet music on the radio pauses for a Hemorrhoid Cream commercial and now I have Had Enough. The crack dealer pulls back into the Park and gets into some mildly heated exchange with drunk-ass George. They apparently reach some form of accord and George and the Son of George and the Chorus noisily and sans Beauty and Grace retreat unto the Trailer of George. The Crack Dealer goes into Nadine's trailer and as another heated exchange starts up I take the opportunity to slip out and go across the parking lot to his car. When he comes out I am sitting on the hood. I'm Plenty Pissed but I almost smile when I see the “What Now?” look on his face.
“This ain't gonna fly,” I say.
“What ain't gonna fly?” he says.
“This. You know what I'm talking about.”
“You need to be quiet, Pops.” This is one of those split seconds that explains why I don't own a gun.
“I AM being quiet. But that's about to change.” I get off his car, deliberately turn my back and walk over to the middle of the parking lot. Then I turn back around. There is no danger or bravado going on; it is a dance. I have danced it before, at many times, in many places. He of course has a gun, and no doubt an AK47 in the trunk. They all do. They are all really just a bunch of punk ass losers who live in constant fear. Fear of the Law, fear of each other, fear of a future that holds no promise other than more fear and also certain jail time. Right now it is fear of this possibly dangerous crazy old white man. He knows which way the wind will blow if this escalates. My part of the dance is easy. I give him a way out that allows him to save face and he will go.
“Look son, I don't care what you do as long as you don't do it here.”
“I ain't your son,” he says, getting into his car. He boom booms his ass on out of there. I don't expect to see him again. Out of the corner of my eye I see the curtains fall closed from where Nadine has been peeking out. Two Koo-Koo Birds with One Stone. I go back into the Safe Haven of the inside of my trailer and pour myself another shot of mediocre Bourbon.
I Use Lithium Grease
There that Coyote wheel is, sitting on the bench. I count the bearings and they are all there, in the little jar that I use for degreasing. Here on the wall is me Little Darlin' Schwinn and over there is the recently re-built Mongoose that gives me so much joy when I do lazy figure eights in the Springtime Sunshine. I reach up and take down the thirty year old tube of Shell Brand Lithium Grease. It is light tan in color and it is a clean and fun and easy grease to use when repacking bearings. It even smells good, in some odd way that reminds me of other things and other days. This is a Lifetime Supply of good, clean lithium grease. There is no way that I will use all of it, ever.
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Spaghetti Western