|My hands feel about as worn and precise as that friction shifter some days.|
Anyway, this whole marking of time thing got me to thinking. I've been working with my hands since I was about 20 years old. That's nigh unto four decades, not quite, but close. That's a lot of wear and tear on the body. I think it really didn't ramp up until I got my first bike shop job in 1993, but ever since then, my hands have taken a beating. Especially for the five and a half years I was a car mechanic.
So, my digits pretty much hurt all the time now. Bicycle riding on gravel probably doesn't help things, but really, that isn't what bothers my hands at all. In fact, cycling seems to make things better the more I do it. The thing is, I am just wearing out. Plain and simple.
There was this show my kids used to watch on the Disney channel, or somewhere on cable, called "iCarly". there was one episode where this goofy character on the show had a language program that was trying to teach him how to speak Japanese which required him to wear a collar that shocked him if he pronounced a word incorrectly. When that happened the language program would say, "The pain helps you learn!". I think the pain I feel in my hands has really helped me learn a few things too.
Like how to use tools to your advantage. Leverage tricks, working with my left hand more, and using gloves more really has been a game changer. But that's not all. Even the work stand I use has to be handled in a way that eases the stress on the hands. Which reminds me of a great story about how to use a bicycle repair stand.
We get greenhorns in from time to time at the shop and it is comical how they try to use a bicycle repair stand. I try to gently nudge these people into seeing how the repair stand can make your life a lot easier. But there was one fellow that was stubborn. He was resistant to my suggestions that the Park repair stand could allow him to rotate the bicycle up so he wouldn't have to bend over double to work on a bottom bracket he was trying to repair. He claimed that since he was young, it was "good exercise". I told him to come back and tell me how that "good exercise"works out for him when he is 50 years old.
He didn't understand.
I figure someday the pain will help him learn!