Day One: Wherein You Learn Why We're Cooler Than You
Couriers have only three moods while working: Angry – as in you just got this rush job that your dispatcher forgot about and you’re forced to complete this miracle. These moments are filled with finesse, when you see a courier slide through a tiny little needle of a thread of traffic and pop out the other side, all at about 25 MPH. This is formulated by a desire to get the job done on time. If you’re lucky, the secretary gives you a smile and a nod for getting the job done on time – more often than not they don’t notice.
Cocky – cockiness comes when you have a lot of work and you just want to get it done, or if you’re new to the streets and feel like you have to show off. This is when couriers mess up the most, taking ways they can’t get through, showing off, slapping cars – a useless mood that usually just makes you more tired and frantic than you need to be.
The happy – This is the best, when you can just drift up the street without a care in the world. Also the most likely time to get honked at or run over, but also the moment in which you are calm and relaxed, your legs feel good and you’re likely to be friendly and courteous to customers. That’s right, all those words are correct. Contrary to the image of the hard ass cocky piece of shit (but those types are still out there, they operate in the same way as gangster rappers, the more time on the streets, the more respect, the harder you become, the cockier you get, it’s not always a bad thing, it’s just a thing), most of us are just doing a job. A blue collar job, a simple job, an easy job. You take something from A to B and sometimes you might have to go back to B. We ride bikes all day and some of us study for PhDs, undergrads, or just for the glory of reading. We are smart and capable, several of us have degrees and many have gone on to become teachers, writers, parents and artists.
The stereotype of a bike messenger is amusing. We’re seen by some to be fashion connoisseurs, and we are. People think we’re tough as nails, and we are. Some of us are certainly drunks, some of us are sassy. We’re far more eclectic than your office, from hip-hop kids, to boxers, to indie rockers, to artists, to musicians, to writers, to leathersmiths, to comedians. We are cool, hip and cocky about it– our bikes are better than yours, because they have to be. We’re better at riding in traffic, because otherwise we’d be dead. It’s simple evolution. To all of those fixed gear ridin’ pretend racin’ monkey wrenchers out there, remember – this is our job, we take it seriously and we act accordingly – no matter who you are, when you walk into an office you are polite and courteous. We ride in the summer, we ride in the winter, we ride in the rain, the snow – to be honest we probably have a better delivery record than the USPS when it comes to days worked and weather experienced. But on the same coin, that doesn’t make us special – just exceptional. We are what we are and we are that same thing every day. We don’t change, we don’t shift, we don’t chameleonize to fit a mood in the office.
-- Thorin Klosowski