How to step outside of your box.

I’m not a social creature. Some people love other people. Meeting new people. Talking to new people. Listening to other people’s views on religion and politics. You know, the kind of stuff that people who like people enjoy. I’ve always been more of a social… Hm… More of a social leave me alone butterfly. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like people, let’s just say that I would rather do without. That sounds better.

You can imagine my horror when someone (You know who you are.) suggested to me that in order to promote my chain lube I should just talk casually to other people I meet on the trail about it. Maybe keep a bottle or two in my shiny new glovebox to give away for free as a kindness for stopping and listening to me. I know how I feel when someone I don’t know wants to talk to me about things I don’t want to hear especially when I’m trying to ride. There have actually been occasions where afterwards I had considered learning sign language or something along those lines so I could pretend I was deaf so as to avoid having to ever again make polite chit chat. I’m not a chit chat sort of fellow.

The sensible part of me could hear the wisdom in what they were saying: ‘You would be foolish not to try some of my chain lube for free.’ The creative part of me even began constructing some good opening lines: ‘Say what sort of lube do you use?’ The rest of me said: ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.’ while I made a small flourish with my hand like I thought I was a Jedi or something.

So I put a shiny new bottle of lube in my glovebox and mostly because I seldom run into anyone other than the odd dog walker, I made myself a solemn oath that the very first rider I ran into I would somehow pull them over and draw them into conversation on some fake pretext. I would then gradually and artfully steer that conversation towards chain lube, at which point I could say something like: ‘Say, I just happen to make chain lube would you like a promotional bottle?’

I know, I know, who would have thought that such a socially clumsy and inept fellow like myself could come up with such a devious and clever plan? Well it’s not actually my plan it’s probably more like a variation of someone else’s plan but what’s important is that I’m making this article and they aren’t.

Off I went, heavily laden with lube and my plan. Full of nervous enthusiasm. (Not really but it fit in well there I thought.) On the prowl as it were for unsuspecting rubes to test my fledgling social skills upon. (I did some practicing in front of the mirror) Alas, for days I met no one at all. I had actually almost forgotten about my precious cargo and plan until one fateful evening about two weeks ago. It was a warmer night maybe only about -10 or so when I first saw them. Indistinct flashes of erratic and blindingly bright light from some distance ahead of me. It could mean only one thing. Another rider.

Suddenly I was unsure, what if the lube had fallen from my glove box during one of my many crashes, what If pulled this poor guy (or girl) over and everything went well until I went to give them their promised bottle and I didn’t have it? Great hairy gods! So many things could go wrong… I should have thought this through more carefully!

My resolve, even though it had taken a rather large initial hit, was still steadfast enough that I blurted out a ‘Say, do you use chainlube?’ as I got to the top of the hill where the other rider had considerately pulled over to let me climb.  Yes, boys and girls in the listening audience, that was the best I could do.

The rest of the conversation was kind of awkward and I hope I did not make the poor unsuspecting fellow too uncomfortable. He went away with a bottle of lube and I’m sure a halfway smile. Me? Well I stepped outside my box and have placed another bottle of lube, this one with the label on straight, in my glovebox. Ready for the next socially awkward trailside encounter.

Keep the lube on your chain!

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