cantankerous anachronism of arcane knowledge
I went into a local bike shop today to get some help with my wheel. I encountered the kind of patronizing that made my mind keep yelling, “what’s up mister ill fitting pantaloons you got a binder full of women?” But, I kept my mouth shut and listened to the knowledge he had to give me, because it was good knowledge. In the end he did not charge me for his advice or the help he administered to my friend the Green Schwinn. But, I left feeling like I had paid for that knowledge with my personal pride. I don’t like to be talked at or down to. Nobody does. I take responsibility for a being a ‘good girl’ and listening to Mr. Know-it-all without saying my peace about how I was being talked to – taking his condescending tone like a woman fit for a binder. But, I wanted my bike fixed then.
What I really wanted to say to him is:
You stingy bastard. Check you out. You get to work at something you love. You were not born with the knowledge you have about bicycles. You spent years acquiring that knowledge; and my guess is you’ve loved doing it. So when someone comes into your shop seeking your knowledge share it like you love it, not like it is a secret tome fit only for some. Remember there was a time you didn’t know stuff.
Blarg. It just really cooks my goat to falling off the bone when people are stingy with knowledge. Share people. It is how we grow. You don’t own the shit. People are gonna figure out what you know without you at some point, maybe not the way you know it – but it is all out there to be learned. So if you want to do your labor of love – your learning – justice don’t bitterly dish it out share it like you love it.
In our culture of specialties….records, bikes, wine, cheese, beer, bread,yoga, books, movies…it is easy to get caught up in the superiority of your knowledge. But, folks it just gets musty and old and you become that cantankerous anachronism of arcane knowledge that everyone knows and nobody enjoys if you don’t share. Trust me, I have lived in the Mission of San Francisco long enough to have met the best of them. And it is not pretty.
That’s my public service announcement for today.