The weather has a profound influence on how busy we are here at the shop, and with an uncharacteristically Fallish Fall in full swing, we're finally getting a few minutes a day to spend on frivolous activities like repairing our tools, trying out neat custom handlebar wrap styles, cleaning the shop (I know) and joining a pinball league.
This morning I stopped at Charlie's Second Hand Tool Store to hunt for parts to build a rockin' new tire inflator with (something I've been meaning to do since March), and I got so absorbed in their fascinating assortment of antique objects that I didn't look at the time until 8:58. I quickly paid for my finds and dashed back to my bike for the 5 minute ride to the shop, and as I was mashing up Larimer on my old country bike (mid-80's Diamondback Ascent EX with a few upgrades) I recognized an unmistakably unique and rather nice Columbus steel 1980's Schwinn Premis that we had renovated and sold early in the summer to a guy who I hadn't seen since.
I've been hoping to see him, because at the time that he purchased the bike, he also bought an inexpensive travel pump from the discount table, and had forgotten to take it with him. When someone leaves an item at the shop, it goes in the Lost & Found closet, usually indefinitely. Sometimes I find a way to track down the owner, but people rarely call to find out if they left their stuff here, so I always wonder if people are quick to assume that they're losing their minds when they clearly recollect purchasing a couple of tubes, and cannot for the life of them find those tubes in their backpack once home.
Needless to say, I was delighted to spot this one gentleman, but by the time I got my old country bike swung around, and figured out which design firm he had just disappeared into, the door was locked, and I could see the bike leaning against a wall inside, so I did what any decent person who doesn't mind making a spectacle of himself would do, I crouched down to peer through the only part of the door that was clear glass, and started waving my hands, trying to catch the attention of one of the dozen or so artists that were packed into the perimeter of desks that lined the walls.
The one that vaguely resembled a young Artie Ziff finally garnered the nerve to look back at me, and I gave him an apologetic "c'mere" sign, to which he returned a reluctanttly affirmative glance, but also said something to his colleagues that was presumably, "should I let this squirrely looking guy with a cartoonishly large mustache in? He's crouching there, and waving at me." because every single person in the small room simultaneously turned to stare at me, with assorted looks of bemused interest. I wasn't sure which expression to use, so I went with a look of businesslike resolve. Young Ziff opened the door and said simply, "Yes?" I cut to the point. "Who is the owner of this yellow, white, red and blue Schwinn Premis?" He said something, and pointed to the guy in the chair next to his, who I vaguely recognized as someone I had dealt with in the past (I'm terrible at faces). The guy waved, and said hi, expectantly. I think he may have known what I was about to say. "Hi, I believe you purchased that bike at my shop a few months ago." "Yes, that's right." "Well, you also bought a pump," gesticulating with my most exaggerated frustration shrug, "but you didn't take that pump with you!" His expression was polite agreement, bereft of remorse or disappointment. "I know." This I did not expect. If you knew all along that you forgot your purchase, and you work less than ten blocks from my shop, which is open seven days a week, would you not at least pop in to see if I remembered you? The other eleven people in the room were, by the way, watching this conversation like a ball at Wimbledon. "Well you should come get that pump. I've been saving it for you." Again, politely nodding, "Ok, I will." Everyone in the room simultaneously relaxed their posture, evidently glad that the situation was so efficiently and easily resolved. "Okay, see you later," I said, diving back onto my old country bike, and high tailing it. I'd like to think that as I was riding away and Young Ziff was letting the door close, somebody said, "well that is a bike shop owner who really cares," but I suspect the first comment contained the sentiment, "take a vacation, big guy."