by Rebecca Riley
The Iron Lung, #15, July 1996
August 1995, Friday PM: Just got off work, My flight leaves at 12am.I have some time to kill so I go hang out with my buddies at Zeitgeist.When I arrive everyone thinks I've can cancelled my plans and I've decidedto stay in SF' for the weekend. It's an ordinary chaotic Friday night atthe bar, but there are missing faces-people I know I'll catch up with inabout 12 hours. I worked hard to-day. I've been. training everyday afterwork for the big race for the past two weeks. I settle into comfort ofthe memory of going over my bike part by part. Everything is clean.
I rode the fixed gear to the bar so I could put my race/work bike ina box for the flight. Mom called last night and she's going to meet meat the airport. Luckily I don't have to ride to the site of the big racelike my friends will, it's a long way. At this moment I know hundreds ofmessengers are whooping it up and I feel edgy, long ing to be with them.
Toronto. The site of the third annual CMWC. Messengers from everywhereSpandex big shorts, tattoos, crazy beautiful bikes, green hair, purplehair, nose rings, smiles, laughter languages. It's a cornucopia, an endlessstream of people meeting people and sharing stories, people sweating, peopleracing their bikes, messenger style.
In September 1996 this will all happen again. Every city that has messengershas its own messenger style. I've done seven and all have been unique.I've spent time with messengers from all over the globe. Now the world'smessengers will have a chance to be a part of the San Francisco scene.For a weekend we'll all be SF messengers
I had planned to move on to Atlanta and then fly back to SF when theworlds happened. Through a series of circumstances I found myself backin SF and a part of the CMWC organizing committee. I watched the mood ofthe SF messengers grow somber as there was talk of the worlds being heldin New York. Everybody was beginning to think it just might not happenin SF, and I myself was also concerned. I was under the impression frommy trip to Toronto that SF was going to be a sure thing.
Finally, in February, the word came down that CMWC would be held inSF. I was treated to a total renew of enthusiasm at the first CMWC meetingI went to people were talking to lawyers, getting insurance bids, puttingtogether proposals to shut down parks and streets: I was amazed.
I've been a messenger for four years, and I know that most messengersare industrious and clever but also very individualistic. I wasn't expectingto see a comprehensive game plan organized and set up by all these peopleI knew. I was blown away.
Bones, a well respected messenger of twelve years was organizing bandbenefits. He is one of the best hecklers on the wall, and I never expectedhis dedication. Cate, previously a messenger, now a legal aide, was sloggingmany hours handling the toughest issues for the committee. Megan was writingmuch needed press releases, talking to key people all the time for thecause. One by one, piece by piece, people grabbed a part of the projectand hammered away at it like it was crucial to their own existence.
One thing that ran through all of our minds as we worked was the passingof our comrade Marcus Cook. It was about a month after SF found out theywould host the worlds that the man who had inspired the whole messengercommunity to action died. I guess we all have a sense of purpose, as theprevious cities who hosted the worlds had felt. Ours was now tinged witha mood of melancholy. SF experiences tragic passings of our brothers andsisters. The loss of that important figure serves to galvanize us justthat much more as a strong fraternity of messengers, of family.
The CMWC will be ready come September. SF messengers eagerly await thearrival of the fabulous hordes. We want you to come to our glorious party,with guests attending from all over the world. It will be great!
Note: Rebecca worked in Seattle for several months in 1995, on herway around the States working as a messenger in different cities.
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at email@example.com