Tag Archives: vocation

Aiming For The Bicycle Guy

13 Jan

Do you know that song from Hozier called Someone New?

I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit
every day, with someone new

Keep that in mind, I´ll get back to it in a second.

Today I decided to finally get that rattling front light on my bike fixed, and get something done about the chain falling off all the time. So I went to the bike shop of an ex-student of mine. I arrived there at 10.55 am to find the lights on but the door closed. There was another customer waiting, saying he´d been there for half an hour. A note on the door said the shop owner was out for breakfast (well, almuerzo) between 10 and 11.
“He´ll be right back,” I assured the other customer.
“Well, he´d better be. And I hope he´s got my bike fixed,” the man grumbled. “Next time I´m going to another bike shop. I know one just a few blocks away.”
By 11.10 am I decided to choose pragmatism over loyalty (yes, that took me only 15 minutes, shame on me). I asked the grumpy guy where that other shop was, hopped on my bike and took off.

The other bike shop appeared to be a lot closer to home and a lot bigger. In front of the counter a few older men were engaged in little-village-conversation, and behind it stood a man who I assume was the shop owner. He called to the back: “When you´re done, can you take a look at that girl´s bike?”
A few minutes later a slender young man emerged from the workplace in the back. Thick black hair, brown eyes, energetic gait. But the most notable thing about him was how he seemed to radiate peace and happiness.
He studied the bike, asked me some questions, and told me to come over to the counter, where he literally pushed one of those older men aside to make some space for me. I wrote down my name and gave him my phone number. “We should have it fixed by Friday,” he said, with the friendliest smile in the world. And then he gave a thumbs-up with both hands as I said goodbye and left the shop.
That´s how today I fell in love just a little, oh a little bit.

And I wondered, as I have done many times before, why so many people look down on vocational education. Why they tell their children to “aim higher”. I thought of all those doctors I´ve seen these last few years, locked up in their little offices, frustrated, burned-out, prescribing me the wrong medication (no joke), failing to diagnose just about everyting that was wrong with me (unfortunately no joke either), snapping at me, trying to get me out of the door within 5 minutes because they were behind schedule, etcetera, etcetera.
How´s that for aiming higher?
I´ve come across some marvellous, decent doctors too, of course. But you can tell the ones who chose medicine out of vocation (there´s that word again, see!) from the ones who were told to “aim higher”, while their heart was with something else.

How can you possibly aim higher than being like that guy at the bike shop, who happily goes around making money doing what he likes? Who, maybe one day, will have his own shop and avoid a burn-out by going out for long almuerzos, who knows.

 

 

 

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