Saturday, December 26, 2020

Wait, What?

When you get old, your mind doesn't work the way it once did. This is not (necessarily) a sign of dementia, but rather a result of having piled up a lot of time consuming oxygen. I would call this phenomenon "Non-relativistic time compression." Days and weeks run into one another, and every year seems shorter than the one preceding it.

In a way, it actually is. The reciprocal of one's age is a diminishing quantity. 2020 has been a smaller fraction of my life than 2019 was. I would argue that it is perceptively smaller. Maybe this is just a result of my having done more in 2019 than I have this year, but I cannot say for sure. If I look at the past 11 and 24/31 months in terms of how much I might have done on a daily basis, did I really do less? I know I did something different.

The global nightmare of COVID-19 has been good to me in a couple of ways. It's led to an enormous spike in the demand for bicycles. People want to get outdoors, so they've been buying bicycles so fast the market can't keep up. They have also been taking their long-neglected bikes out of their garages. When they discover that the bikes do not work so well, they turn to me. Yes, me, Bob the Bike Whisperer. That title was bestowed on me by my brother-in-law, but it's stuck in part because of the exposure I've gotten from him and others on the neighborhood website.

About 3 years ago, I ran across a post from a neighbor who wanted a tune-up of his bike. The shops were all backed up, but he wanted to ride, like, right now. I know the sentiment well, so I responded, publicly, that I did that sort of thing. He brought me his bike. It needed some adjustments and a new derailleur cable. I turned it over the same day, and he was delighted. Not wishing to look the fool and give it back to him gratis, I decided my work should fetch $25/hr. - which is around a third what bike shops charge, and billed him accordingly.

He told some of his friends about me, and mostly by accident, I had a business. Fast forward to the spring of 2020, and all of a sudden, I was nearly turning customers away because of the demand for repairs. Although my infirmities keep me from working more than four or five hours a day, I had a steady stream of business throughout the spring, summer, and fall. My last paying customer came in on November 3.

Needless to say, my new career as the neighborhood bicycle mechanic had completely distracted me from my new career as an author. I thus failed to notice that, after a long period of dormancy, people were reading my books. Now, I am not about to crow that I have become the new James Patterson, but I have sold more books in the last three months than I had in the year preceding them.

I do not know, but I suspect that COVID-19 is the source of my good fortune as an author just as it has been for my bike repair business. After smiling at my latest sales figures from Amazon. I thought I should have a look at my site here to see when was the last time I posted something. I was rather shocked to see I hadn't been here since October 2019.

Non-relativistic time compression.

It has occurred to me that perhaps the same people who have been reading my books might be looking at my long-neglected website to find out a bit more about me. Well, here I am. I'm not working on any bikes at the moment, and I'm also sorry to say that I have no writing projects in the works right now. I did, however, come up with an idea for a novel after watching a Russian television documentary on WWII. I don't know whether I'll run with it or not, but it's been a while since I had an idea for a larger writing project. I'll let you know.