The Old Shop

 

When I moved back to Texas from Sunny California the first thing I did was rent a shop in the ‘bad’ part of town since I figured my ‘potential’ customers would feel more comfortable in that type of environment. Like most ‘bad’ parts of town the rent was about twice as high as you’d be paying to be in the ‘good’ part of town. I’m not into the whole real estate thing and didn’t realize that anybody who was ‘hip’ or ‘cool’ also wanted to be the bad part of town so the market was hot.

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Move-in day. You can see my feeble little banner in the window and my reflection as the proud father takes a picture of the new baby. Wow, a whole 300 square feet of space for only $750 dollars a month. What a bargain.

Dealing with the local agencies was fun. It was way different than opening a business in California. I actually has to ‘prove’ first of all who I was and that I was a legal citizen of the United States. Then I had to meet with the Fire Marshall for an inspection. I had to meet with the building inspector for a certificate of occupancy. I had to pay city and county ‘fees’. I had to pay the franchise tax board. I had to pay rent. I had to pay ‘fees’ to get the power hooked up and installing a telephone took about a month.

It was all worth it in the end as I had ‘customers’ lined up at the door and the great thing was that they brought their own beer.

shop12Unfortunately most of my customers were just like me and all they wanted to do was shoot the bull and drink beer and then a little more beer and maybe turn a wrench before drinking another beer but that’s exactly how Choppers get built. It’s an iterative process that involves give and take between the builders and the machines and the fabrication lubricant has always been beer.

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The back half of the space was a little cramped but it worked just fine for what I do. This photo was taken a few days after ‘move-in’ and I still wasn’t really completely ‘unpacked’.

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What’s in the truck and in the little trailer I built is what I moved out to Texas. As you can see it isn’t much. Actually this photo was taken from the balcony of a motel somewhere in Arizona early in the morning. Right after I took the snapshot I realized that my ‘pile’ on the trailer and the even bigger pile in the truck bed was about three feet shorter than it had been the previous morning.

Sure enough some swamp rats had taken about half of my stuff during the night and it was most of my ‘good’ stuff. That’s just life on the road. I should have slept in the truck. Karma baby, Karma. They’ll get it when they least expect it someday.

I was only in this shop for about 18-months and after the landlord raised the rent three times I figured that it was time for me to go. If I were rich and famous I would have stayed there since the place had a certain ‘thing’ about it that I liked. It was unvarnished and primitive. What you saw is what you got.

The neat thing about the setup was that the back of the shop opened up to a meadow behind a nursery and it was almost completely private. You could walk around in the morning drinking coffee naked and nobody saw you, or at least they didn’t care.

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This guy was my closets backyard neighbor. I’d give him a few drinks every now and then. We became soul buddies. I could tell that all he wanted to do was run around loose on the range and all I wanted to do was get into the wind and leave all of this shop and web site stuff behind me.

I occasionally had other ‘hanger-oners’. In the evening our large front parking lot attracted a lot of the ‘locals’, some bikers and some hot-rodders.

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I used to let the local girls use my air-conditioner as a seat in the afternoons on Friday while they waited for the greasy old fat and hairy biker guys to come down to the shop. I ‘m not sure why young teenage girls are attracted to fat old hairy greasy biker guys.

Notice my computer screen. I’m actually being productive and working a new frame plan while all of this is going on. I’m dedicated if nothing else.

Young girls, old guys, Friday night, maybe I’m starting to figure it out. I’m starting to suspect that those weren’t Girl Scouts selling cookies after all.

 

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