The work load in the repair shop has been unbelievable for at least eight weeks.
"But that's what you want, right?" someone asked me.
"No," I said. "I'd much rather have it spread out more evenly throughout the year. But it is what it is."
We always try to do good work as quickly as possible. Good and quick don't always go together when working on complex mechanical devices. People think bikes are stupid simple, because they have no motor. But parts still have to go together. The newer, more complex bikes, still using the same engine as the old bikes, demand a lot of precision, and parts that are closely matched to each other.
After many weeks of this, going in early, maybe staying late as well, we're all wearing down. Tempers fray, stress mounts, because not only does the shop demand a lot of energy, life still goes on outside of work. That other life suffers more and more from the loss of an hour or two here and there, day after day.
You just start to feel shorter of breath and one day closer to death. One morning you wake up, the workload has eased, but summer's over. Days are short. The house needs to be buttoned up for winter. Dammit, you missed another one. Maybe next year.
In a good year we can stamp out a little personal time. We make less money, but we gain in peace of mind. But when the customers want the good stuff, I want to deliver it, if I can. Why work if you can't take pride in it? So the time isn't totally lost.
Of course when I get the feeling it's a waste, because no one really cares how well it's done, I can't stop myself from doing good work, because I can't stand to do it any other way, but I certainly feel desolate, sad and sick, trudging through another day just pissing people off with my goddamned high standards.