Friday, October 10, 2008

This is the end, my only friend, the end.....

This morning I head out onto the commute with heavy heart. This is the end. The last commute. The last day. No more to follow, at least at the present employer. I have ridden this route 3-4 times a week for the last 4 years and another 3 years at the other location. I will ride my bicycle to Inter-Tel no more. Emotions lap through my soul like sets of waves on a beach. Some nibbling away at the edge of the beach, and others washing far up the shore and washing everything away. I do not feel like riding. I do not feel like doing anything but I ride on. There are a number of people out this morning and they smile at me.

I wave back as I pass. Approaching the one light along the canal path I determine to hit the crosswalk button wanting to inflict a little irritation on drivers who have to stop and share my pain. On we proceed, moving through the cool of the morning. A cool morning that brings little solace as my emotions move from a desperate positivity to a feeling of numbness and a strong desire to lay down under the shade of a tree and cease activity. I know this feeling well from events which have taken me riding late into the night after full days of cycling, and the desire to stop everything and rest is nearly irresistable. Some rest leads to deep and dark places which I will not return from for a very long time if I succumb so on we press into the cool morning.

I pass downtown Chandler and press on to Inter-Tel where I place my bike in the rack for the last time. I don my shorts and shirt that I have kept in my jersey pocket. I discover that the back door security system is broken, and report this to the human resources lady as I turn in all my gear and get my severence paperwork. It is amazing how 10 years of service boils down to the following bit of soulless corporate sputum-

The on-going requirements within the organization have recently been reviewed, focusing on the necessity to achieve operational effectiveness. As a result of this review, decisions have been made that will have an impact within the organization. Accordingly your position has been identified as being eliminated effective October 10, 2008.

Sounds like someone used a layoff-o-matic word generator. I have determined that the key to an organization with soul depends entirely on if the founder is still around. The founder seems to be the soul of the organization. The founder cares about the organization and people usually. The hired gun of a CEO and his enterage of nosers that come after generally doesn't give a crap about anything other than numbers. Founders have a dream and a vision of what a corporation could be, a hired hand merely concentrates on a very narrow set of goals entirely centered on the impish whims of the stockholders. Dave Thomas died and Wendy's gets sold to Arby's, Walt Disney kicks out and enter Michael Eisner, Steve Mihaylo gets forced out of his office at Inter-Tel and wa la, a soulless entity. I bear no ill will, but am a little saddened at the changing of a corporate family, to a corporate group of employees. Well, all things in this world must eventually pass away I suppose, and I am grateful for the 10 years of comradeship and meaningfull employment I had. So, on to other things, yet I still I can't shake the mallaise.

So how about it guys? Is there a job out there for Dan and I?

At 8:45 I pack up my bike, I have a problem though. The shirt and shorts I can stuff into my jersey pockets, but what to do with the severence packet? I had originally intended to leave my lock on the rack like the last commuter that left did as a token of, well, something. Ok, it would have been an inconsiderate thing to leave for the facilities guy to deal with eventually but I ended up not doing that anyway. I used the lock to strap the packet to my Aero bars. I would not be heading straight home today. Though I did not want to ride, I needed to.

Off to the towers
Yes, I need a good climb. Chances are I would not be working on this end of the valley anymore so this would be my last chance to climb South Mountain for awhile. I really had to keep pushing. I don't think I have ever struggled so hard for an 80 mile ride. It seemed like everything hurt and I had absolutely zero motivation. But I kept pressing on.

Up into the park I rode. I found a surprising bit of strength for climbing the mountain itself. One guy passed me on the way up to the San Juan turn off but slowed down as soon as he passed me (and he wasn't carrying a change of clothes and a big lock). He turned at San Juan but I noticed him behind my climbing the mountain but he never caught up. I was amazed at my strength today. Everywhere else I had no will to move but for some reason I did good in the climbs. Topping out things brightened up.

Looking down at Mitel it seems like such a little thing in a sea of civilization. But a speck in the big picture. Somewhere down there is another speck that will be my new place of employment.

It was cool and windy at the top. A few people were up there enjoying the morning and I stopped for a minute to tell my wife that I would not be home by 11 AM as it was 11 right then. I estimated I would be home at 1:30. Heading down I felt good about things. I climbed the hill, and the descent was upon me. Outlooks brightened and the views opened out before me and the world was my opportunity.

I enjoyed the drop off of the radio tower summit and decided that today I would treat myself to a climb up to the dobbins lookout since it would be a long time until I came back up here and I had the energy at the time.

After this I turned around and started down the mountain to head for home. The closer I got to the valley, the more my spirit was reclaimed by the creeping morasse that plagued my soul earlier. It was a struggle to work my way back across the valley. The sun beat down and it seemed a lot hotter than 86 degrees. Still I turned pedal after pedal. I did not want to be biking, I did not want to be doing anything, yet still I turned the pedals round one at a time. Thoughts rolled around, in repetition like my feet, going up, going down. It seemed forever. Eventually I did get back though. I think tonight I will enjoy the time with my kids and we will go camping. Anything to distract me at this point.

This moment will pass. All do eventually, that is why they are called moments. A moment can seem like a long time though when the moment is unpleasant. Still, nothing lasts forever, and I can wait this out. If you don't stay on the bike, you will never get to the end of the ride.

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