I don’t eat sushi.
In fact, there are few animal by-products that I do eat. I don’t consider myself a strict vegan/vegetarian. I don’t tend to read labels to make sure that there is no minuscule amount of animal fat or what not. I mean the point of being a vegetarian is to be free of meat, not be a slave to food labels.
But I digress.
I don’t eat sushi, as mentioned above. However, I watched an interesting documentary a couple of months back that was about sushi. Not so much about eating sushi, more about the making of sushi, the perfection of the sushi chef.
Jiro dreams of sushi. The documentary details the daily routines and philosophies behind the success Jiro has obtained as a sushi chef, and how his sons attempt to live up those expectations. If I remember correctly there is a point where Jiro explains that for one to truly live, one must choose what they love and then do that as best as possible. One should strive to perfect their craft, their skill. At least that is what I got out of the film.
While I was watching the film, I thought that I should make all my mechanics watch this film. And then I forgot about it.
Saturday, I awoke feeling under the weather, but I was excited to go to work because I was actually going to get to work on bikes for a change. I’ve been working on bikes since May of 1995 when my new boss handed me a 10mm open-end wrench and said, “Adjust those brakes.” And then promptly walked away leaving me to adjust the brakes as I saw fit. Looking back, it’s probably nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t kill anyone, but I always took pride in my work and got joy from it. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
As I was struggling to stay at work, I was working over a fairly inexpensive bike. One that most people would ride a few times a year and let it hang in the garage for the rest of the time without further thought. This particular bike had seen some miles and the owner wanted to make sure that it was going to continue to serve him well.
So I overhauled it. (Well, at least most of it. I must admit that I couldn’t stand to stay through the whole thing and had Fixie finish the front wheel and brake for me.)
Part of the overhaul process is to remove the headset cups and face the head tube. This is a process that is rarely done these days due to the amount of time it takes and the cost of the tools necessary to complete the task. So there I was mitering the head tube of a bike that was worth less than the tools I was using on it, and it all seemed to make sense.
There are few things in the world that I find as beautiful as a freshly faced head tube. It’s a small detail that most people will never know whether it has been done or not. And even fewer people can discern the difference in bearing feel. As a mechanic, I know I did the job correctly and that headset felt like a champ when I was done with it.
And there’s something to be said for that.
Now, I’ve got to go pretend that I’m getting ready for a cross race this weekend.
P. L. and R.