Dishwasher Wisdom

by bicyclemark

Dishwasher Pete is a friend of mine. Like me, he’s an American who moved to Amsterdam. Like me, he’s also a European of another country living here in Amsterdam. And that is only the beginning of what he and I have in common.

Pete had gotten in touch a few days ago about getting help posting a video from when he was on Letterman. See Pete’s book has just come out, and the buzz coming from both sides of the atlantic is that DISHWASHER is a smash-hit. I’m two chapters in and honestly, I already knew the thing would be good because only inspiring things can come from the mind of such an excellent person.

As I was sorting out the video issues with him, he asked that classic question, “So hows it going.. are you able to live off your website?”…. I’m sure I’m misquoting him, but I know the question well.. as Im lucky enough to have concerned friends everywhere.

But the great part was his answer to my answer. I told him, “At this point, no… no I can’t. But I don’t care, this is what I want to do.” (something to that effect) Pete responds very quickly and calmly with his great brand of wisdom — “Just keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing. Corporations and media groups can’t make the type of connections with an audience that you’re making. Keep going… you’re building something very special…” (again I’m misquoting, but I remember the good parts)

Then I remembered, just as he reminded me… before the whole book thing.. Dishwasher Pete had a zine and a dream. He published a zine and traveled from state to state, washing dishes. He had amazing experiences, and saw the entire US is ways that the average person will never get to. And throughout that experience… plenty of people cast doubt on him… but he kept doing what he was doing.

I digress, Pete is not my idol (though maybe he should be!). But it was his way of reminding me and assessing my goals… one of those moments that reminds me of how far Ive come, and where I’m going.

Ruined for Work

by bicyclemark

Number of copies…. click click… beep beep.

Single sided to double sided… beep beep.

Push Copy button… commence loud life sucking noises.

Have you ever gone back to an old job you used to do and thought… did I ever work here?
That could happen for a number of reasons, not necessarily cause you didn’t like it, but maybe just because… mentally.. you’re past it.. you’re somewhere else.. you travelled forward in time or to another dimension, where somehow, you can barely picture yourself doing this job.

When I go back to Portugal I always go pickup BadHareDay at the Walford P Street school, where we used to both teach. I walk in there and I see a long list of unfamiliar faces. If I get a look its normally a “who are you, what do you want, are you lost?” kind of look. Eventually he comes down the stairs and it is as if, for a brief moment, the year is 2002 again; we go out for lunch. Later I see students I used to teach, I smile, they don’t notice me; I don’t work there anymore.

Lately I’ve been doing some office work for the american exchange program. Normally I’d stay away from the place where I was pretty much pushed out, but the people of that office have always been kind to me, and guiding the new fresh-off-the-plane american students is a wonderfully horrifying experience that I like to think keeps me grounded and lets me know what the kids these days, over there, are into.

But as I stand at that copy machine… click click.. beep beep.. oops.. staple remover.. load paper.. one thought goes through my head and I know everyone can see it, “I don’t work here anymore, and that is a great thing.”

Instead my mind is on my program, and my future guests like Josh flying in from Uganda in a few hours, or the Brazilian topics I’m working on, or the Bangladesh show next week. Then there’s my trip to the balkans this week, I cannot wait. And to top it all off, I see something extra exciting on the horizon… it looks like, yes I think it is… I see @ XOLO!