Monday, June 30, 2008


alright, i know it's been a while since my last post but things have been a bit hectic for me. you know, i have a wedding to plan. in any case, this interview will make up for my blog neglect...i present my right-hand man in the trenches...scott. he's been around longer than i have and knows his sh*t. i couldn't keep this blog going without interviewing the man.

1.when did you start? have the years been on and off or straight?

This is a question about the past, right? I drink way too much to have many cogent memories any further back than say 25 minutes ago, but here goes. Let's see, I started biking with Arrow in '92 or so when I came up to Chicago to do my graduate work at Northwestern. I moved into dispatch some time in late '93 or early '94 and remained there until '95 (got fired and returned to streets a couple of times during that period). In '95 I left Arrow and went to work as a dispatcher for Cannonball (now Dynamex) and in 2000 (when I started law school) I moved into HR there. In '07 I was laid off and returned to dispatch at Arrow in last November.

2.what bike did you start on? what bike are you rocking nowadays?

First bike was a Specialized Rockhopper - totally stripped down after 2 weeks on the job so it looked more like a road than a mountain. Rode that till it got trashed when a cabbie pushed me at speed into a curb and the no parking sign planted there which resulted in a bent frame and fork. After that I rode some sort of road bike that my mates took no end of joy in making fun of me for until it got stolen (found and reclaimed it a week later). Right now I am riding nothing as everything I own is in so desperate need of repair that I am better off just getting a new one. I am in the market for a fixed gear (54 -56 cm) and hope to secure one by mid-summer.'ve seen many come and go...any specific messengers stick out in your mind?

Gods, tons. Stick out for what? Excellence? Intoxication? Violence? My First crew at Arrow: Charlie, Patch, Babs, Casey Gunn, Kirby and Chelle were gods among men and women "back in the day." Then too the crew at C'Ball: Shea, Nutini; Santicola, the Twins (no I do not want to play in your "downtown area"), Waters, Christenson were all fantastic riders. 'Course I'l never forget Tommy McBride who was a true pleasure to work with and a good friend who left us all tragically and too soon. I will say that I am probably forgetting more folk who deserve my memory and for that I apologize. And, I can aver with complete sincerity that the folks I have worked with are without reservation some of the most genuine, caring, funny, creative and alive individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting.

4.what made you begin to dispatch? was it a easy transition?

"They" made me. Actually, it was Rob Bonner who talked me into it with help from Charlie. I came inside at like 33 years old and Bonner kinda held my hand through the transition. It was h*ll anyway. I walked into work one day after like two weeks of training to find that Bonner had decided to quit. So, I was kinda tossed into it. Eventually, after many screw-ups and much shouting, I learned (I think). has the city changed throughout your career...harder or easier?

Well, all the new security is a bona fide biotch and that makes it a lot harder from a service standpoint. And, I know it makes it a lot harder for the kidz in the crewz. Additionally, I think we are witnessing or have witnessed a dramatic change in the mentality of the average citizen out there. Non-messengers are a lot more aggressive and a lot more prone to complete disregard for the rights and safety of riders (even non-messengers). The dominant meme seem to be just that amongst these yuppy-hybrid types: me, me, I'm the only only one that matters and you - you know the poorly dressed, slacker on the bike - can't possibly have anywhere more important to go than where I am going and can't have anything more important to do than what I have to do because, ya know, I'm the center of the universe. This, I think, increases the risk - especially when you add in all the high-tech toys that further distract - for all riders, but especially those in the trenches. do you keep messengers happy? are you able to?

I have the extreme honor of working next to the best dispatcher in the city right now. I let him keep them happy. He understands, like I do, that most of these folk want to earn a buck and be treated with respect; that they will do anything asked as long as we remember to make it up to them; and that in the epic battle of "us" against "them" we are on their side.

(i swear too God i didn't ask for the compliment but it's much welcomed) many cats at one time have you dispatch? whats more difficult, too many or not enough?

Well, "back in the day" when we were on open channels, working off paper without pagers 35 -30 drove me absolutely insane. The advances in technology (pagers, Nextels - even though they stink) things have gotten mucho easier (push-button dispatch). When I started at Cannonball we had like 130 IC's on staff and on the rare day they all showed up it was sheer unadulterated chaos (open channel). We trimmed that number quite rapidly to about 40 (20 on each channel) and that worked well. However, when my partner in crime called in sick or what not, dealing with all 40 was a chore I'd rather not repeat (two headsets, two radios, never being able to remember which pedal to step on to talk to who... yikes!!! did I just say f*ck when 6114 was standing in front of a Federal Judge?). All and all I prefer too few. Yeah it makes covering the work a pain in the backside, but the kidz get a bankable day and the clients don't get their panties too wadded up 'cause they get that NOBODY wants to be on a bike when it's 30 below and snowing like all get out. you prefer messengering or dispatching? would you ride again?

I prefer sitting in a bar with a bourbon in my hand attempting to convince any Neo-Con, wingnut, *sshat I run into how utterly demented and wrong they are about everything. But... Oddly enough came back to Arrow after much personal angst fully intending to ride again - what I now realize was a futile attempt to get my proverbial sh*t together before launching a brilliant career somewhere in the "real" world. This is what I do, it is not who I am. I like to dispatch when it's King-H*ll busy and ride when it's slow.

9.advice for rookies?

Geez, I don't know, go home, live with your parents! If you are asking me as a dispatcher then I say: Never let the *sshats get you down. Show up every day. Don't whine. Remember that no matter what sh*t you have to take out there from bimbettes or bullies you are still you and that is enough. Keep it on two wheels - nothing is more important than your health and safety. If you are asking me as me, I'd say: get out and do some more good; volunteer; stay informed; remember that life is fatal no matter what, so live every day not like it's your last, but like it's your first.

10.i don't know what else to ask...favorite brew?

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Though I have been know to down Red Seal, Brooklyn Brown, or any Bourbon under seven dollars.

...this man knows his sh*t and it was a pleasure interviewing him...

...look at him. he's all talk...i knew he had a sensitive side...ha!

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