The Poor

One of them stole my lunch last night.
I didn't get anything to eat at the 2am lunchbreak.
When you take the lunch of someone who rides bicycles aggressively you are stripping him of calories more necessary to his life than those of a regular man.
I'm not much on the machines anymore and without food the heavy lifting I did most of the night was exhausting. A few times I had to catch myself on the high ladder as I brought down the 4 gallon boxes of bleach.
But the poor can't beat me.
I reminded myself of that.
I fought the delirium with that.
The poor are poor because of laziness and carelessness.
The poor are poor because they choose to be.
The poor are getting exactly what they want from life.
The poor steal lunches, mislabel pallets, write wrong SKU numbers, pay exorbitant prices for shitty food from vending machines, and keep the break room filthy. The poor are weak and fat and badly dressed and badly smelling and worse than doing nothing well, they aspire to do nothing well.
I'm getting tired of working around these poor.


Ride to Glore and Vanderkloot Houses

Herbert F Glore House at 170 North Mayflower Road, Lake Forest, IL
Frank Lloyd Wright architect, finished 1951

William J Vanderkloot Bungalow at 231 Prospect Ave, Lake Bluff, IL
Frank Lloyd Wright architect, finished 1916

From the pictures I had seen I was very much looking forward to seeing the Glore House. Unfortunately, the summer growth was too thick to get a good look and I shall have to return in the fall or winter. But the house being built above a deep cut streambed was spectacular enough. You can just make out some of the house through the trees from the bridge over the cut.
Ride of 63km.



Warmup to the kierin

Fallingwater at Bear Run, PA

Frank Lloyd Wright architect, finished 1934.
These pictures are from a Miami-New York-Chicago drive done in late winter, before the water moved.




She and I were speaking on the phone yesterday.
I wanted to talk about bikes.
I was expressing my enthusiam for bicycles.
I asked her if she had a bicycle?
"Uh, yes. Of course. They will not yet you live in Denmark without a bicycle."
She did not seem to take the question seriously.
I talked about my folding bicycle.
She did not seem very impressed.
I said I would bring it with me to Copenhagen.
She was impressed, but then I realized she was impressed because that meant I was coming to Copenhagen. The bicycle was not important.
I asked her if she would go on a bike tour with me? We could ride to Berlin together?
She was not interested. She rides her bicycle every day to get to where she must go. She was not interested in touring or racing or anything like that. She would take a train to meet me.
I asked what her bike looked like.
"Oh, my bicycle is really stylish. Not these ugly things you Americans like to ride. The look of the bicycle is very important in my country. It is not important to go fast. And we would not wear helmets either. But let's talk about you coming to Denmark."
For her all the bicycle talk was too mundane to really speak about.
Bicycles are just a part of life.


Aphorisms: Religion

242. The frustration and pain of the religious: that the world is not as it should or could be. Religion reminds him of his own inadequacies and those of the world around him.
243. Religion as a complaint about life that cannot be satisfied.
244. The religious man, at essence, a complainer.

With Pannier

Construction required the attachment of jeans buttons to the bag for the leather straps to be pulled down and attached. Two bungee cords hold the bag in place, running through the inside of the bag (against the plastic cutting board) and out through brass grommets on the back, hooking onto the rack and dropout. Picture frame hooks, hack-sawed to size and screwed through the bag and cutting board, hook the bag to the rack. A second pannier is to be made from the same design.

Ride to Baldwin, Hebert, Irving and O'Connor Houses

JJ O'Connor House

James B Irving House

Hiram Baldwin House

Hebert Property, 1300-02 Davis Street
Ride of 88km.
More photos from this ride at http://www.flickr.com/photos/moralinefree/

Ride to Brown, Hanney and Hebert Houses

Hebert Property, 1308 Asbury Avenue

Hanney and Son House

Charles A Brown House

A W Hebert House
Ride of 88km.
More photos from this ride at http://www.flickr.com/photos/moralinefree/



Saint-Maximin after head-on collision with a cager. His Bike Friday fork was bent in half, though the bicycle was otherwise undamaged. With his high-powered attorney Saint-Maximin plans to take everything the illegal immigrant owns.

Update: The illegal has disappeared, probably to Guatemala. Saint-Maximin and his high-powered attorney are now looking to file suit against insurance companies.

Aphorisms: Woman

131. Woman, no longer thinking she requires a provider and protector, is free to manipulate the male into her own image. She will make him to express his feelings and to deepen them; to wait on her and report back to her--in short, she will domesticate him and teach him mistrust for his instincts. She will breed his guilt.

134. The male is without her skill in manipulation, or instinct for it.

135. What is moral becomes what is feminine.

148. Guilt as a male phenomena: Guilt as what emerges in the space between a man's instincts and what a woman expects of him. She cannot feel it. Her instincts are only correct, her actions are always moral.

168. The morality that bleeds and dies is him at his most moral.



To leave a white bicycle is nothing,
But to die so lucky
Is asphalt memory.


When he was sick, he learned of dying. For awhile he didn’t think he would live and he hated how he had mistreated his body. He hated how he would be gone before completing the work he wanted to finish. Even if the projects were taken up by others he would not be around for them. He had caused the sickness with his drinking.

Then one morning he awoke and the swelling in his throat had lessened. His strength began to return. The chill began to fade and his body warmed. He could feel that he was going to make it. He punched the air and was giddy. He would live. The work would not be wasted. He would work now. He would get it done.

He was not strong again until a few more months. The drink had done great damage to him. As he recovered his head cleared and he realized he was thinking again. These were not the easily excitable notions of the habitual drunkard, but clean, solid thoughts that held up well the next day. He recognized he must have wasted years, how many he didn’t know. The drink had dazzled him and softened his mind. He had exercised his body, thinking with exercise he could abuse himself in any way, but he was wrong. He had broken finally. It could have been death but it wasn’t. And a period of his life died when his health returned.

Maybe he will take to the drink again, in moderation if he does. But there is work to be completed before he again goes back to those dazzled times. He cannot drift now, as this time requires discipline and only the headiest, sternest discipline at that.



When we quarreled I would go to sit at the wooden benches outside the Eglise Saint-Maur. From our window onto the courtyard we saw the stone cross above the rooftops and each Sunday we awoke to the bells signaling the mass. Belleville was and is still a poor quartier and I was never alone at the benches outside the church, the clochards, what they called the homeless drunkards, having gotten there before me. The smog blackened church was the most peaceful, wonderful structure to look up at if you had just been quarreling and feeling nasty, and I took my place there among the drunkards and sat quietly as the evening light turned to night coming in.

The clochards may have felt as I did about the church and the changing sky, though more likely it was drunkenness that made them appear introspective and interested. Many of them looked as if they had been beaten and their red faces crushed or stepped upon. One was without shoes and had large, swollen feet and twisted toes and was deep into conversation with himself. They were all dressed heavily for sleeping outside, their nightly take of beer or wine in the plastic sacks they guarded between their legs, while I was never so dressed because I knew that later I would return home and we would apologize and get into bed together and be warm and happy under the covers, loving each other with the intense and special love that is available only after a quarrel.

Sitting with the clochards calmed me, but then one who was a regular, a bearded fellow like the Russian peasants I had read about in Turgenev, staggered up from his bench, turned and vomited, splattering the bench and the cobblestones, and continued heaving it out as I went quickly away.

For the rummies of the quarter you had to be careful as any act of friendliness or generosity would bind them to you for life. I knew this and took seriously my commitment to ignore them and avoid the lifetime connection. There was, however, a big older woman, a poivrotte, who had staked out the stone steps of the building on our corner. She was very upward thinking for a rummy and especially friendly, especially when she was soused, and had somehow ignored her situation enough to consider herself something of a neighborhood watch-woman and advisor.

Once, when she was in a stupor, and I was new to the neighborhood, she stopped me and told me, with the sincerity of one who has taken on the obligation of preserving the community, the story of how she lost her daughter. Her French was difficult to understand on account of her drunkenness and missing teeth. Her daughter had been somehow misplaced and there had been an accident. It was unclear what had happened and the chronology seemed wrong. She began to cry as she told it and I began to worry that those passing on the street might suspect me of having done something malicious to the woman. She finally let me go with the advice to guard with great care the ones I loved. I thanked her for the advice and vigilance for the quarter and assured her, certainly, that I would do my very best, but just that she should stop crying.

Helene thought the woman nice and was for a time willing to overlook her being a poivrotte. Helene thought her a clean and reasonable drunk and this was at least a positive towards communication with her. To this I replied she had not seen the old woman as I had seen her, squatting with her skirts up and urinating between the parked cars. Or the brown liter bottles of the beer she used and scattered around her position on the steps for the men of the Proprete de Paris to dispose of. Helene sometimes purchased cakes for her and this resulted in a stream of daily advice and encouragement. Finally, Helene began to use the other side of the street, even though it was not the practical way to reach our building.

On this day I was returning from the American Library and discovered the woman among the parked cars beside the church. Seeing her there I assumed she was in the course of conducting her business and I tried to hurry past without seeing or disturbing her. She was leaning across the hood of a car and she stopped me and begged that I listen.

"Monsieur," she said. "Excuse me M’sieur, but can I say to you something?"

I did not wish to stop but I was feeling unusually polite then. I was returning with books that I was very excited about and that I felt could change everything. She did not yet seem soused in the afternoon. Usually you smelled the sour, dead odor from a distance.

"A boy today was hit in the street just here by a vehicle, and the vehicle did not stop but continued."

I saw that she was about to cry and I told her that I was most sorry.

"No, M’sieur, they believe that he has died."

She pointed to a police van and two gendarmes at the intersection of rue d’Orillon and rue Saint-Maur, stopping cars and asking for identification.

"They look now for the assassin. Regard."

"Did you not see something from the steps, Madame," I asked.

"I was occupied when it happened, M’sieur." She rubbed her eye with a big dirty hand. "It is a great tragedy."

"The neighborhood becomes so bad, M’sieur," and I could see the tears beginning to well up. "It has become so bad. I have been robbed five times these last months. For five francs, for ten francs, for twenty francs even."

"It is a terrible thing, very bad," I told her, imaging how soused twenty francs would have made her, her sitting bleary-eyed on the steps and carrying herself big-gutted behind the cars.

"No, M’sieur, you must comprehend. It has become dangerous. You must watch for your safety," she tells me expertly. "You must watch for the safety of those that you love." She is an authority.

"I shall watch for even those I do not love. I shall make a good watch of everyone."

"M’sieur," she looks at me horrified and hurt, the neighborhood falling down about her, "M’sieur, you joke?"

"Never," I told her, "Never about those I love."


Other Machines

This is a trash compactor

This is a cardboard baler

One is not allowed to crawl inside them for any reason.


Other Machines

Order Picker

A machine with a platform that elevates, enabling the loading and unloading of items stored above ladder height. Driven with a 'Dead Man's Pedal', steering done with a lefthanded wheel and forward/reverse by joystick. Platform elevates by pushing buttons for up and down on the joystick. Operator wears a safety harness to prevent falls from the elevated platform. It is a slow-moving machine similar in operation and handling to the Reach Lift Truck and is powered by a large battery.


Making Panniers

Swiss Fly Fishing Bag
Name tag indicates Private Ludin Markus owned the bag sometime during the 1980s. Plastic cutting boards, picture frame hooks (100lb), brass grommets, screws, washers and nuts, and bungee cords will be used to make a set of R20 rear panniers. Panniers to be sized 10" x 9" x 4".


At Edmund F Brigham House

Edmund F Brigham House at 790 Sheridan Road, Glencoe, IL.
Frank Lloyd Wright architect, completed 1915.
Ride of 31km (same ride as Ravine Bluffs below)

Before I rode, Leonard the baker gave me pastries and told me how to beat a DUI case. It is a marvelous routine told to him by a Chicago judge and it made me wish to get back to the drinking if only to test it out. On the roads there were cyclists dressed like heroes from comic books riding lightweight machines used in racing competitions. While shooting pictures on Sheridan Road one of these brightly dressed men stopped and was worried I had flatted. No sir, I haven't. I appreciated his concern for my welfare. My bicycle seemed to confuse him and he rode along. At Glencoe Beach a man called Ivan approached me and had many questions about folding bikes. He talked to me of carbon fiber. I admitted I knew nothing of the substance. How much did my bike weigh? I did not think that was an appropriate question. It was like meeting a girl and within a few minutes asking her how much her breasts cost. Could he pick the bike up? Would you ask her if you could touch them? Ivan left.

Mathias and his wife and little children next introduced themselves. Knowing less about bicycles they were very pleasant to speak with. Mathias was from Pennsylvania and they were soon moving back to Philadelphia. I had lived there once and done good work there and I told them and we were happy to talk of things we both understood. Then we spoke knowingly of cheesesteaks and we became even a little happier. We wished each other luck and feeling hungry for something I could not ever find anywhere in Chicago I rode away. There are more pictures from this ride at http://www.flickr.com/photos/moralinefree/

At Ravine Bluffs Housing Development

J M Compton House

Sherman Booth House

S J Gilfillan House
Ride to Ravine Bluffs Housing Development at Glencoe, IL.
Compton, Booth, and Gilfillan Houses by Frank Lloyd Wright, completed 1915.
Ride of 31km (same ride as Bigham House).

More pictures from this ride at http://www.flickr.com/photos/moralinefree/


Head Injured 3

On the fourth floor the patients were in wheel chairs or with walkers. They were encouraged to move about as part of their rehabilitation. Henry had been moved from the third floor to begin a rehabilitation which we were told would last three weeks and after he would be sent home. He was awake and watching television when we arrived.
"Hi, Henry."
"Hi, mum."
He did not look at us.
"How do you like your new room, Henry?"
"If I like it, I like it. If I don’t like it, I don’t like it," he said.
He continued watching the television.
"I’m the type of person someone gives me the shits I take it and turn it to bullshit."
"You know you’ll be leaving here soon enough," I said. "They’re going to get you to walk again on this floor."
Henry was switching through the stations.
He stopped at a Latin girl in a bright dress dancing.
"Where’s my wife?"
His mother looked at me.
"Do you know her name, Henry?"
"She’s not your wife."
"Who is she then?"
"She’s your girlfriend."
Henry grinned. He watched the Latin girl dancing.
"I’ll make her my wife then."
"Do you remember how you met her?"
"How did you meet her?"
"How long have you known her?"
Henry watched the Latin girl dance and spin.
"When I get out of here I’ll be wearing a different outfit too. Different smile, different grin, different everything."


Head Injured 2

"Henry," the father called to him. "Henry."
He opened his eyes and seemed to look beyond us.
"Henry, it’s Dad."
He did not look at the father.
"Henry, do you hear me, son?"
"Yeah, yeah," he mumbled.
"Who am I?"
Henry studied him.
"Dunno," he said. "Dunno. Who are you?"
"C’mon, son, think. You know who I am. What’s my name?"
"You’re Dad."
"But what’s my name, Henry?"
"Dunno--Know your own name. Know your own name."
"C’mon, Henry. What’s my name?"
He looked closely at the old man, focusing. "Bobby-Boom-Boom-Braxton. Boom-Boom-Braxton," he said slowly.
The father laughed. "What is this ‘Bobby Boom Boom’?"
Henry smiled strangely. "Boom Boom. Boom Boom."
"Do you know my name?" I asked him.
Henry stared at me.
"What’s my name?"
"No. What’s my name?"
"My name is Jesse."
"What’s your name?"
Henry looked puzzled.
"You should know your own name."
"I know, I know. I know my own name."
"Then what’s your name?"
"0H5," he said finally.
"What?" said the father.
"Your name is ‘0H5’?"
"Yes," he said, "Yes, c’mon, fuck, what’s the big deal. Fuck. Fuck."
"How do you spell your name," the father asked.
Henry looked as if he did not believe the question.
"0-H-5. Hey Dad, can you get me something?"
"What do you want, son?"
"Gimme shots. Shots."
"What kind of shots?"
"Fuck. Fucking, c’mon, c’mon. Get me shots." He moved his legs under the covers. "Do it, do it. Gimme shots--Hey, let’s go somewhere."
"Where do you want to go?"
"C’mon, get us a drink."
"Do you know what your sister’s name is?"
"Good. Do you know how to spell your name?"
"Aghh," Henry turned away.
"How do you spell your name?"
"Alcoholic ‘M’, alcoholic ‘S’, fucking alcoholic ‘C’—c’mon, fucking c’mon. Hey, you," he said to me. "Can you get me outta here? Just this once?"
"You need to stay here, Hank. You’ll be out soon enough."
"Let’s go upstairs."
"What’s upstairs?"
"Let’s go look. We’ll just look for a little. No. Hey. No, no," he mumbled, and then brightening, "I’ll meet you guys downstairs in 5 minutes. Lemme get my shoes, okay?"
"Sure," I said. "Do you remember what your car looked like?"
"Yeah. It’s white."
"What kind?"
"What kind of Chevy?"
"Piece of shit."
The conversation was annoying him.
"What’s my name?" I asked again.
Henry looked at me seriously. He did not remember.
"Take a guess."
"It’s Jesse."
"Jesse. Jesse," he repeated.
"Hey, Jesse," he said. "Can you get me outta here?"
"I can’t do that."
"But how much room do you have in your car?"
"Not enough for your bed and all these machines."
"What time is it?" he asked.
"Almost 9 pm," said the father. "Do you know where you are?"
"Vancouver," he said. "B.C."
"You’re in hospital in Miami, Henry."
Henry looked confused. "Fuck," he said. "Fucking fuck."
"Do you know what your girlfriend’s name is?"
"That’s your wife. I’m talking about your girlfriend."
"What’s her name then?"
"Lauren. Do you know what she looks like?"
He thought about it. "Blond, brunette…"
"She’s got black hair."
"What year is it?" asked the father.
"1920," he said without hesitation.
"’84. No, fuck, 1976. C’mon. Let’s just go get a bite to eat."


Head Injured

Later that day the doctor managing his treatment visited. He was a young Indian doctor with a pleasant face and dressed in a long white lab coat. He asked Henry questions which he marked down on a clipboard.
"Where were you before Miami, Henry?" said the doctor.
"In the arms of a beautiful woman."
The doctor smiled. "And how did you hurt yourself?"
"I was in a motor car accident and broke my neck bones and broke them again and again."
"You injured your head too, I see."
"Did I? Shit. Shit." He seemed worried.
"Yes you did, Henry," said the mother. "It was a motorcycle accident. He hit his head on the pavement causing a compressed fracture on the right side. A piece of bone was removed here," pointing to the pink scar-marked depression on the right side of his forehead. "A burr hole was done on the left side to relieve pressure from a small left-side bleed on the brain."
"Good, good," said the doctor, examining the burr hole.
"He also has a broken right humorous that was plated and pinned, broken vertebrae in the neck, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung which has healed. The lung was being drained in ICU but he pulled out the tube and they did not replace it."
"What have you been doing on the third floor before you came to us, Henry?"
"Just talks and thoughts. Talks and thoughts. That’s all."
"You know, you are very lucky?"
"Yeah, the feedback is telling me that."
"You could have been dead, or a vegetable."
"Yeah, it would suck being a vegetable. In the truck like a vegetable, out the truck like a vegetable."
The doctor smiled.
Outside in the hallway a patient began screaming.
"That was like me," Henry said.
"What was?"
"The ahhh, ahhhh, help me, help."
"You weren’t like that," I said.
"Yes, I was. Help me, help me, I was yelling it all the time."
"What did you do before your injury, Henry?"
"Importing. Importing pub stuff. Pubs, clothes and stuff. Importing cocaine."
"No," I said, "he’s a clothing importer exporter."
"Okay," the doctor said. "You will import and export again, Henry."
"What sports did you play before this injury?"
"Cricket, golf."
"You know cricket?" The doctor was impressed.
"You didn’t play cricket, Henry," said the mother. "He only played some cricket as a boy."
"I know mom, I know. I’ve got to tell the doctor."
"You like to surf, Henry."
"I like to surf," he said.
"I would like to learn to surf," said the doctor. "If I help you here will you teach me to surf?"
"I’ll teach you to surf, yeah."
"This treatment is expensive," said the doctor. "Can I trade the cost of this treatment for surfing lessons when you are able?"
"I’ll teach you. I don’t want to take your money."
The doctor smiled.
"I don’t want your money," Henry said again.
"He’s getting tired," said the mother.
"Are you tired, Henry?" the doctor asked.
"A little."
"Do you want to sleep, Henry?" the mother asked.
"A little."
"I’ll let him rest and come back later," the doctor said.
As we prepared to leave, the patient in the hallway began screaming again.
"Sounds like my neighbor," said Henry. "The yelling. Ahhh, ahhhh, ahh. I was like, Fucking hell, deal with it you cunt. You’re fucked like me."
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