Friday, May 1, 2015

At Least I Didn't Just Sneak Out the Back Door


Lurker At the Threshold

I keep coming here and typing an opening sentence then deleting it and going back to looking at pictures of Surly bicycles that maybe I can afford but am too cheap to purchase. Plus Little Miss Dangerous is just sitting here in the stand, painted, ready; last week I got the new Shimano bar-end shifters and the crazy NOS Sachs front derailleur that I hope will Solve Everything but I'm afraid to find out.

Still Half Homeless
Today I spent a lot of time using free library internet (and air-conditioning) and converted every single post of the Trailer Park Cyclist Blog into PDF's. As I was doing it, I realized what I was up to...That's it, guys, I know my own subconscious self and I'm pretty sure that's all she wrote for the News From the Whispering Pines. But there is some pretty good stuff in those hundred-plus pieces and I made myself laugh (alot) and I dunno...maybe I thought I would break the news here, if indeed such a belated announcement can even qualify as news...I haven't typed up a post in almost a year and I noticed just recently that a most of my friends have quietly removed me from their Blog Rolls.

To Be Or Whatever
So what's it all about? Well, working long days out of town and being away from the bike for so long at a time has a whole bunch to do with it, I suppose. Most of my writing (the good stuff, anyway) takes place late at night after I have crossed a magic threshold (Okay, when I'm drunk). Nowadays out there on the road I am sleeping in the wee hours, resting...

Plus, let's face it: every story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. It all has to end, sooner or later. There has to be an ending. A good story always does, anyway. End, I mean. Otherwise, what are we to think? Did everything work out? Did the hero triumph? Did Good win out over Evil?

Not that I ever tackled much in the way of Big Thoughts. I tried, but what can I say? I have always been more of the Jester than the Sage, which is fine with me. I once said that there is nothing that happens in our lives that sooner or later we can't laugh about. I'm not sure if I was right about that, but while Sooner is always here Later has yet to come, so who knows? God, I guess, and...wait for it...the Storyteller. He knows how it ends. He ends it. All the good storytellers do, anyway. End it, I mean.

But Sequels Are Never As Good
But hey! There are sequels (and prequels) and god knows how many other ways to only pretend to quit. Me, I'm just glad I finally got off my ass and PDF'd those posts. Now I have to scrounge up the money for some printer ink and I'll print them all out. I will sort and red-line and make notes and then pull it all together as best I can with maybe a dramatic and touching backstory or who knows, maybe I'll just tell the simple truth (which is never simple) and I don't know...

But this is it...this is true and about a year ago something changed for me and the Trailer Park Cyclist wasn't who I was anymore. Trust me, nothing changed but my mind. I still live in the trailer park and I still ride my bicycle (sometimes) and I still suffer through budget (and heart) breaking repairs and Little Miss has been in the stand for a year now...

I just ain't the ol' TPC anymore. I jumped back into the workaday world and it was a kind of suicide. There are reasons and family (of a sort) obligations and there are people who count on me, again. I had to go back to being a grown up and I don't like it. But I was always doomed to be a Do the Right Thing kind of guy and here I am, doing it. I hope.

So Just Go Already
I don't know how to pull the plug, exactly. While I was figuring out the PDF thing today at the Library I saw a Delete Your Blog button. That certainly sent a shiver down my spine and it would take a whole lot of beer and rum for that button to get pushed. And they frown on weeping drunks fooling with the computers at our local branch and even have a cop there (not too sober-looking himself) to make sure it doesn't happen. But I owe it to all my thousands and thousands of loyal readers (tee hee) to at least say goodbye.

But this isn't goodbye. I will still get all boozed up and come by your Blogs and leave long rambling comments that are related to your post by the merest thread...I'll still go to Drunk Cyclist about once every three months and start trouble and then disappear. I have ridden (rode, rided?) a bicycle since I was about three years old and that will never change. I just am going to set aside my Trailer Park Cyclist gig, (for what it's worth) for now and see what happens.

As endings and farewells go this one ain't so hot but I had to try. I can't explain what I don't understand myself so, well, this is what you get.

Yer old buddy,

TJC

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Trails End

May 1, 2015

39 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I've ever commented on any of your posts. Maybe I did - but that's not important. Just thought I'd volunteer some information: about 10 minutes ago My Heart Leapt when I just saw that there was a new TPC entry. Over the next moments it slowly Sank and Sank as I realized how much I had missed reading this blog and how it Stung (a little bit) that I had forgotten that I missed reading this blog. You can't go back though. Onward only. I'm fairly certain this isn't your TPC Epilogue. You'll slide this right into the Next Chapter soon enough.

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  2. Yeah...thanks Dyno.I just couldn't let things hang in space with my last entry from August 1, 2014. I really appreciate your sentiments though. Thanks for taking the time to put them down. It means a lot to me.

    tj

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  3. Tim Joe I am sad to see the TPC ride into the Sunset but grateful I got to come along for the (Virtual) ride - it was a great one. You are welcome to stop by and comment (drunk or sober) anytime on my humble little blog. Being a grown up does tend to blow a gigantic hole in your day doesn't it? Tailwinds Velo Brother.and thanks for the ride.

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    1. Thanks Ryan! As a member of the Original Crew your encouragement and support kept me going long after I might otherwise have done...plus all the bike parts and hell, the Dell 6000 laptop (the Ol' Quazitron) that I typed over half the Blog on after the big Hewlett crapped out.

      That sturdy little unit went to sleep awhile back and won't wake up, but he sits here next to my writing table and once Little Miss is back on the streets I'll turn my attention to sorting that out. (In the words of Rod Stewart, "Throw another chair on the fire and bring the bottle over here...” The Quaz will live again!)

      But not today. The byline of the TPC was “Things ain't so bad when you're happy with what you have.” And I was, now I ain't. Happy. I knew this would happen. I predicted my never-ending car troubles in the Blog. I seem to spend about half my earnings on gas and truck repairs. I have enough uninstalled bike parts to open a shop. (sigh). And the words don't leap into my head these days. I gotta dig them out, like an old prospector with a rusty pick. And trust me, that hurts.

      I think that's what I'm up to, here. Shutting down the mine and tossing my pick into the bushes. I'm working a Regular Job and I want to focus on it with everything I got so I can quit again, this time for good. Believe me when I say one day you'll hear some god-awful yelling coming from your front stoop and when you open the door there will be a shaggy old man astride a Surly (or who knows, maybe an antique Schwinn) waiting for you to hand him a frosty.

      It won't be me, I'll just pay a homeless guy to do it to freak you out. Out on the Road I'm a sharp-dressed man. Ya gotta look sharp if ya wanna sing the blues.

      Yr pal,
      tj

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  4. Tim Joe, I have enjoyed every single post. You're a great writer with a neat turn of phrase. You're made me cry with laughter and then ponder your words for days after. Thank you.

    Please don't delete the blog. Let people discover it and feel they've stumbled across a little private treasure on the Internet. Like I did. (TPC remains on my Blog Roll. I still had hope of another post. Not this one, you understand. But still.)

    Best of luck with the current gig, and the next one... and whatever comes after that.

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  5. Thank you so much, Rebecca! I think that I am saying goodbye so I WON'T feel the need to do anything drastic. So often I find my way to a Blog that looks like it might be fun only to see that the last post was a year (or more) in the past.

    I never liked when that happened and I didn't want to do it here. So here we are.

    I will (maybe) be trying to turn the whole thing into a book, like some of my pedaling colleagues have. But I want something different...

    Something Thurberesque...yeah...

    tj

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  6. Oh Tim. I will miss your lovely writing. Yours is the only blog where I don't mind the lack of photos. You have thoughts that translate well from mind to paper, no easy feat. I'm with Rebecca here - keep the blog up for others to discover. What have you got to lose?

    And yes, I can see your blog as a book of random chapters on "the bike life". It reminds me of Bill Bryson type of thing. But more down to earth, a regular guy that loves to tinker with bikes, getting through life the best he knows how.

    May the wind be always at your back...and if you stumble into a place where you need to write again, it's okay to add one more post here. We won't mind.

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  7. Miss Annie, one of the first things I did when I got a job was buy a camera so I could have photos with the writing. The camera is still in my duffle. I never use it. I guess I was always just a words guy. And not so much that, these days.

    Thanks for the kind comment and expect to see my work pop up, somewhere, some day elsewhere and when.

    tj

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  8. It was a surprise to find you in my email today and not a surprise about 'endings'...it felt like that was coming for a time back there. Funny thing about trying to define endings is that it's a beginning in itself, of itself, to yourself. And to us.

    I'll miss what was probably the most unique blog I pay attention to and the question of 'what happen(s)ed next' will just have to sort itself out in my head. Or maybe not?

    Long may you ride.

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  9. Thank you, Island Woman. I don't know what's coming. But I have always used writing as therapy and that won't change. It cannot, sometimes it is all I have. Whatever comes next will probably be of a still more personal nature, if possible. And I really would like illustrations, maybe...but drawings would be better...drawings...

    tj

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    1. Drawings are another sort of writing, I think.

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  10. I was so very excited to see that a new TPC post was available. After reading your goodbye, I'm both sad and happy. I've enjoyed every word you've written since I came on here and have been humbled and thrilled by your own kind words about the meager offerings on my blog.

    I too have a real job and it gets in the way of so much; riding my bike, writing, playing the guitar, playing golf, seeing my friends.....you know the drill, all too well. That's why I don't post very much, I simply can't make enough time. So, I hear ya TJ.

    I also take great joy in knowing that you've saved all those wonderful posts. That tells me you'll take another run around the block. You're too good a writer to not do it, my friend! I'll think of it more as a hiatus rather than an end. That'll help me through the transition.

    I'll continue to hope to see you pop up on midlifeinthefastlane, sir. And someday, we must have a beer. (I'm coming to Orlando later this month. How close is that?)

    Brian in VA

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  11. Depends on where in Orlando and when. I never know what Florida town I will be in from one week to the next. But the Orlando Airport is about an hour away. Problem is, whenever one of you guys hit Orlando and drive over here to the beach you have to drink carefully for the drive back, while drinking carefully for me means making sure I am crawling distance from home before I go into blackout. Add into the mix my typically manic state of mind while entertaining friends from afar and the effects of alcohol are more or less tripled. Ask Agent Kaz. Last time he visited (well over a year ago, now) I made a mess of the visit, at least the parts I remember.

    As yet another member of the OG, Brian, you have a seat and a mug anytime ya find me, anytime, anywhere. My email is trailerparkcyclist at the G mail. If you let me know where you might be found when you hit Florida, we just might be able to get together. I'll try to behave.

    tj

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    1. If you're gonna behave, who needs ya? I'm kidding!

      I'll look you up whenever I'm in FLA, and see if we can connect. Fair winds to you, sir!

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  12. Awww man...just back from a week on the road, saw a new TPC post and was so excited! Rats. Talk about the wind getting sucked out of my sails...

    So sad to see you go TJ...but I guess that's the nature of the world. As you say...everything ends (my wife and I just put down one of our 4-legged kids not quite 2 weeks ago...THAT hurt like hell and we are still in a sad state). But life goes on, in whatever form it does...there are many things we can choose, and many we can't.

    Here's hoping that you can arrange to NOT be working anymore...that surely is THE DREAM! (and I still have you on my blog roll, and as a 'glass is half full' kind'a guy, I'm leaving you there...you know, just in case!) I've missed your midnight drunken missives...you see the world in a very unique way and have the talent to bring that to us...I'll surely miss that.

    May the wind always be at your back, and keep the rubber side down my friend. Until you return...I'm always open to a sequel!

    Be safe.

    Cheers!

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    1. Matt! Thanks so much, man. I was by your site (hell, I've been by everyone's sites) but I couldn't think of anything to say. It is this very paralysis of the keyboard that has prompted this farewell and somehow, that has freed me to at least type thank you notes. I'll come by later and make up for my absence, a little. As always, I have very much appreciated your support.

      Hey! Remember that time you almost went to the North Pole?

      tj

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  13. Hey Tim,

    What a blog, I have enjoyed it ever since I followed the link from Lloyd Khan's blog. I am sad that you are parking it but it has been a privilege to follow your life and ruminations about the crazy world we live in.
    It has been great to get transported from wet and cold Scotland to hot and humid Florida whizzing around on those roads with you.

    Please don't delete the blog as Rebecca said the people that stumble across it will get tremendous pleasure from it.

    Hopefully one day you will get the mojo to get it going again so I will leave the feed live.

    Stay well and many thanks,

    Alcuin

    PS Please finish the book the first chapters were great.

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    1. Alcuin, the book is just as stalled as everything else on the creative side of my current reality. But ya wanna hear something funny? One of the things that stalled the book out was comments from readers that they preferred reading the Trailer Park stuff because it was from my "real life" when actually, the Smiling In the Sunshine chapters were practically a fly-on-the-wall retelling of a certain time of my life, just before turning forty...

      Whatever the case, such words of encouragement do indeed give inspiration. Thanks so much!

      tj

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  14. TJ,
    Well, that kinda sucks. I always enjoyed reading your posts.

    Just goes to show how all those tortured artists and writers had it right - you really do need your time and space to tap the inner voice and be truly creative. Get back into that grind, where you're beholden to the 'system', and dedicated to being a cog that keeps spinning smoothly, and off it goes into the vapor.

    Dude, you know you enjoyed the living broke on all your own time. Just remember that you don't have to be productive till they put you in your grave. If you feel you must, then go ahead and be constructive for a few more years - but remember that those years are precious, and you need to put aside some time for yourself.

    Have a cold one on me.

    Steve Z

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    1. Another member of The Crew checks in. Swampy, I am aware that there are energetic artists out there who work real jobs and crank out great works of art at the same time. I just ain't one of them, although I could use a little of that "starving Artist" time before I have to buy a bigger tool belt.

      It is a mess, indeed. There is more to it than time on the job and physical expenditure of energy. There is a psychological factor that is almost unbearable for me and being out there with the guys...well, none of them have ever read a book (and are comfortable in their certainty that books are stupid) and add in the fact that I am as old as the fathers of most of them...they just see a broken old loser. None of THEM will still be wearing a tool pouch when THEY are my age...although all of them are broke on Monday and can barely spell their own names.

      It is an outrage and after two years of trying to fit in and working hard to prove my worth I said to hell with it, I'll just fire it all back up and this time the money stays in the bank instead of on my old Rock Star lifestyle from last time.

      It's already working and I'm pissed, fit and on my game. There Will Be Blood.

      I'm only telling you this because you are an architect and probably already know that Frank Lloyd Wright called carpenters "a group of surly inebriates", a sobriquete that I once wore with pride but now...well, I got work to do.

      Dang. See what I mean? I've been home from work for a couple hours but I'm still in kill mode.

      Stay on the trail, me brother. I will be around.

      tj

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  15. Well hell, I finally took a day off from work yesterday and come back to this. I started reading after the guest post at Fat Cyclist. All the comments from the "Fast Freds" that just thought the Earth stopped spinning when you rode your bike to drink beer. I was pretty sure this was a guy I could hang out with. Your way with words motivated me to try the blog/posting up thing. Unlike you I needed the crutch of pictures to go with anything I would write. I am more of a face to face spoken word person as my players find out, and my customers here at the the old stick factory.
    TJ. , I sure will/have missed your thoughts on the world as it worked by the Trailer Park. I certainly understand the whole working thing getting in the way of many things fun. I am certainly living that program and as the 5th decade winds up here for me I keep asking myself "Isn't this supposed to be getting easier??" I have found posting up on the Facebook is easier and is the lazy way out for my skill package of writing.
    So, we will not take this as a goodbye, but the well will be set aside to come back for a fracking procedure to make it productive again.
    Be well my friend.
    Jim

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    1. Coach Bangs! I was waiting for you! Yeah, towards the end of the comments at Fatty's posting of TPC vs. Cervelo Guy someone really got worked up about the beer thing. Oddly enough, when I tried to google back to the person making the post, it kept returning me to the Fat Cyclist home page. I never quite understood the vitriol behind those comments. (BTW, not to toot my own horn (yeah, right) but that post garnered about 150 comments, a bit of a record for FC.)

      Later, when I was lucky enough to get guest posted by Elden again (Life and the Wind) I hit around fifty comments when, for whatever reason, Elden shut down the comments section. I wondered about that. I was pretty sure we were gonna blow the doors off the old record...and this time all the comments were friendly. I've always been a comments junkie and being allowed the keys to Fatty's kingdom like that was like August Busch calling me up and asking me to house-sit for him and leaving me the password to the beer vault.

      Then one day, sadly, through no bad intention on my part (unless it was subconscious) Elden took offense at something I said over at Snob's and got mad and even though I apologized in print (I really was sorry) (I guess) there weren't any more guest posts.

      Like I told Matt (Inane Asylum) I have been lurking at all of your sites but not commenting. Rather, I have been commenting but deleting them without posting because I don't like what I am typing. Everytime I comment at Cryjack's (a kind of sister-woman to me) I come off as sardonic and grouchy and sorta mean. So I just shut up.

      I don't know where it all leads, Jim, but I have this embryonic idea for the TPC book: put up the posts, page by page, complete with comments, then add italicized commentary about my life at the time (it was different, to be sure) and even comment on the comments. I don't have a grip on it yet but I have it running around in the back of my mind (way back) so we will see.

      I wonder what the legal aspect is of using your names if I publish this on some vanity press? I'll have to change them, or get permission...god, what fun I could have with that! Don't worry, though, buddy, when they make the movie, we will get Clooney to play you.

      I don't know who will play me...is Oliver Reed still alive?

      tj

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  16. Oh yeah, and for the complaint box? You took down the blogs you follow and I used that list to get to a couple on that list that I liked and now I'll have to do the work myself to find them again on my own. Life always has a few speed-bumps.

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    1. I don't know what you mean, Coach. Check again...

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    2. Must have been a temporary local glitch (my next excuse for odd behavior by me) because I see they are back up. Thanks! My blog library access page, TPC.
      I have empathy for your deleted comments....so many times I type stuff out and that responsible guy living in the front of my brain says delete, so I do.
      We will have to pretty up Clooney a bit to play me in the movie.

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  17. This one time TJC wrote me and told me to get writing. He said write about anything. He said it didn't really matter much what I wrote about; what mattered was that I was experiencing the world and sharing the experience with others through written prose.

    I would encourage TJC to do the same I have found his lens truthful and enlightening in an increasing false and confusing world.

    Whatever your path, thank you TPC.

    Kloshe Konaway

    Matt

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    1. Matt! I had to reproduce my blog list from memory and you got skipped. That's fixed. Let me tell you this...your journeys and adventures have often served as a kind of Mitty-esque daydream for me and I was always in awe of how you were able to pull it off.

      It doesn't surprise me to hear that I urged you to type up...that's a common thing with me and I am shameless in my efforts to keep the anti-tweet crew alive. At one point I was over at Cryjacks's encouraging her and anyone listening to start writing things out in longhand on postcards or letters...this after I tried to do just that only to learn that a few years of typing and printing had crippled my ability to write cursive.

      How many people even know what that word means anymore?

      So I started doing it again and the simple act of writing it's ownself came back to me and some buried pheromones (I may have made that word up) were released and I almost found myself in tears at having re-discovered a lost skill.

      No, really.

      Don't worry, my friend. There will be more. I am taking a moment to work up some filthy lucre and to also find a way to tell yet harsher truths in some kind of palatable way.

      Even if I have to write it out longhand.

      tj

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    2. Didn't the French make Cursive bike Frames back in the 60s?

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  18. I've tried to comment two other times, but I guess they got lost in cyberspace...
    I'm sorry to see you go - I've really enjoyed your writing and you have helped to change my outlook on life and cycling. I look forward to finding you again someday.
    P.S. We're in the middle of building a house and I have seriously thought to myself that I wish TPC was on our crew...

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  19. Well, Miss, if I were there and on your crew you can bet that yer house would get built no matter how much it cost or who got hurt. Be a royal pain in the ass and always get your way no matter what those fookers between you and your dream have to say about it: it is you and the bank calling the shots and when the bank starts acting up remind them that end the end, it is, after all, your home.

    All of them got the house they wanted and you should too.

    You are ever a loyal reader Sara and believe me when I say that for that, I am grateful.

    tj







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  20. G'day TJC- this is about the fourth time I have started a comment on this post. I have been ignoring/avoiding contributing to my own blog for so long I was wondering if Google might close it down due to inactivity. Yeah- I would drop in sporadically to check the blogs I follow but just could not find it in myself to write anything of my own.
    We're not alone- several other bloggers I follow have gone down the same path with the gaps between posts creeping glacially toward the frequency rate of sightings of Halley's comet.
    And I'm honoured that my blog still graces your list- I really must post something to try and break the drought.
    I wish you good health, safe travels and the hope that something will spark that desire to put fingers to keyboard again.

    Cheers
    Scott

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  21. Thanks, Tim Joe. I've enjoyed the ride.

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  22. Happy trails, Mr. Comstock. Happy Trails.

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  23. Thanks for some good writing, Tim Joe. You'll be greatly missed.

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  24. TJ - I myself have been gone a long time and put the Wayward Home on ice way back when. I drifted by here to see how my old pal was doing and lo...he's signed off too. Maybe one day we can drink that beer and tell bike stories yet.

    What a long, strange road it's been my friend. Onward and upward.

    Wayward

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  25. Hey TJ! I see you have a new post (So the Pope stops by for a beer)...but I can't get to it...your site keeps saying it's not available! And speaking of beer...I'm in Munich for Oktoberfest right now! Been here since Sunday, we fly out on Monday (boo HOO!) There is some SERIOUS beer happening here...oh my GOD!

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  26. TJ you must contact the snowbird.

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    ReplyDelete