Monday, December 27, 2010

A dusting...


Early on in the week, meteorologists crowed about the coming white Christmas.  As the week progressed the snow fall predictions began to ebb from 5-8 inches to 1-3 inches to not much if anything. Bold words to throw out the possibility of a white Christmas and then back it off as the big day arrives.  So we're up fairly, but not ridiculously early thanks to Owen's discovery that Santa did indeed stop by and leave a few things.  As we enjoy Legos and Playmobile adventures, a gentle snow begins to fall.  After a while it gets a bit more serious and then begins a long phase of earnest snowing that lasts the day and into the night.  We got our 5-8 inches all right.

Now the wind is blowing like the jet stream ripping at the peak of Mt. Everest with gusts of what sounds like 400+ mph.  Thankfully, all of this weather comes during the holiday break, so no makeup days on the backend of this winter wonderland!

The mechanic's class begins tomorrow evening and there are still spots left if anyone is interested or has been waiting until the last minute.  I'm excited about the class and it has been obvious how eager everyone is to get their hands dirty and learn about the down and dirty of their bikes.  I've been reading a fantastic book, Shop Class as Soulcraft - an inquiry into the value of work by Matthew B. Crawford that has really inspired me to integrate more hands-on instruction and DIY ethic into the shop.  Essentially a criticism of modern industry and education, the book puts forth the concept that we are becoming increasingly abstracted from our mechanical possessions.  One example is of the new BMW that doesn't have an oil dipstick, so the owner can't even check the oil let alone change it themselves.

By getting your hands dirty, you are able to gather knowledge of the machine that you rely on,  You learn its idiosyncrasies, its needs and develop a deeper understanding of the thing in the process.  Crawford also points to our lack of respect for tradesmen (not to be confused with craftsmen, the artisan or artist) and trade work and how our education system pushes everyone to go to college and be a knowledge worker (which in reality is just the modern assembly line).  Crawford echoes my own disillusionment with the present day education system, especially when he discusses the dual roles that had to be played by Soviet Union middle managers who had to support the party line and deal with the reality of Soviet communism as it applied to their daily functions in the workplace.  I see this in administrators who have to support the current regime of standardized testing and data collection while seeing the reality of this approach and its breakdown in the real world.

All I really know is that no job has ever brought me more happiness than bike shop work.
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