Not the sharpest knife in the knife pile.

Last week, a guy I’d never met came up from Mexico to wheel away the kitchen cart the roomie and I had been using to store our knives.

It’s not as weird as it sounds.

Since moving in a year ago, there’d been a potential for a second roommate. This tentative roommate was the one who signed the lease with the landlord back in 2011. When the pandemic hit, he returned to Mexico to deal with family matters. Before he could arrange to reclaim the third bedroom, the landlord put up the place for sale. Instead of moving in again, he came by to purge the John Malkovich Portal of his outdoor gear and rid the suite of his furniture, most of which the roomie and I had no interest in keeping.

April will be a spendy month: rent is more expensive, and I’ll need to buy household items such as a knife block. I’ll also be milking my employee discount before my last day of employment on the 15th.

After four years of working at the same bike shop, I’ve thrown in the oil-stained rag. When I joined the team in 2019, the bike shop was well-staffed with experienced mechanics. It was possible to trade shifts, and booking time off was rarely met with protest. I work to live, not the other way around.

Since then, inflation has been relentless, pushing experienced bike mechanics to pursue employment outside the bike industry. None of last year’s applicants had more than a year of wrenching experience. One of the applicants was a falconer with “excellent nighttime and daytime navigational skills.” Cool! But also irrelevant.

Last March, I requested two and a half weeks of vacation for my long-awaited UK cycle tour, which was to happen in July. It was months before I learned that the entirety of my time-off request wouldn’t be granted. I’d already bought my fight tickets.

I defied my employer and went on my UK trip anyway. What were they gonna do? Fire me and replace me with a falconer?

I wasn’t the only one frustrated about work having a monopoly on my leisure time: Zack left last fall for the right to eat mud during weekend cyclocross races. When I learned a month ago that the remaining experienced mechanics were looking for their exit, I knew the bike shop was a sinking ship I had to get off. Otherwise, I’d continue my disillusioned, “What are they gonna do? Fire me and replace me with a falconer?” attitude.

The work environment and flexibility that existed in 2019 were never coming back. I had to find it elsewhere, and I did.

I have a new job! I’ll be wrenching at a shop just two minutes from my new place.

As a deaf person, there’s little more discouraging than having someone’s prejudices hold you back from attaining gainful employment. Even if I successfully woo an employer into taking a chance with me, it can be hard to shake the feeling of being perceived as a liability. “We should’ve hired the falconer!”

I did not get that vibe from the service manager who interviewed me at all. He never questioned whether my deafness interfered with my ability to do the job. I don’t have to start somewhere new, feeling as if all eyes are on me, waiting for me to fail. That is a major win, and I’m optimistic about my new employer.

I may even have the time to get into falconry now!

3 thoughts on “Not the sharpest knife in the knife pile.

  1. Good news! I’m happy for you. Standing your ground and still taking your vacay anyway, moving, getting a new job, Zach being away, and all the falcons needing falconering… that’s alot of stress on your plate. Mad props!

    You may have seen the news story of a woman in the airport here (A Dude Abikes lives and refers to himself in the third person sometimes in an ironic, not in an unaware Trumpian manner, in Austin, Texass, US). She got her arm broken by a cop for being deal and him being spropone! She’s supongo andnhope she wins big and he gets retrained then fired.

    I’m glad your new employer didn’t discriminate in hiring and hope it’s a better place to work.


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