Hong Kong: Five weeks of out of the corporate world, I have entered into a productive rhythm in my new F U life. Just so there’s no misunderstanding, F U is shorthand for Fabulously Unemployed.
Yep, that’s me.
All the minor speed bumps I initially faced — like sorting out IT issues, managing my own calendar, and not having the luxury to delegate — have been smoothed. I no longer even marvel that I don’t have to get up at a prescribed time each morning, don’t have to fight rush hour traffic, and haven’t attended a conference call in weeks. Yet I am hardly the ‘most relaxed guy in Hong Kong,’ as many of my employed friends now think of me. I’m still working my tail off, harder than ever, largely because I’m trying to get so much done in a compressed time frame before I depart for Europe.
The F U life is far from idyllic. Yet it doesn’t suck either. It’s just a different workweek to that which I have been hard-wired for 17 years. I’ve now settled into a pleasant routine: intensive focus on projects or meetings each morning; cycling or gym time in the early afternoons; home by the time my son arrives from school; computer time after he goes to bed. Weekends are still weekends.
So this is what sucked today. I set aside 2.5 hours to tackle the hills of Pok Fu Lam on my fully loaded bike. Now that I have amassed my kit, I wanted to get used to the sensation of cycling with a heavy load. I filled each of my four panniers with assorted crap — building blocks, books, bulky winter clothing. I topped up the water bottles, grabbed the barbag and the camera bag, and then spent the next half hour trying to figure out how to safely affix all this, plus a tent and sleeping mat, to Bubba Too.
By the time I finally got everything fastened on, it felt like Bubba Too weighed about 700 pounds, and I was exhausted. And I had not even started pedalling. I am not looking forward to repeating this process twice a day in Europe. I finally accepted the reality that TransEuropa 2011 is not about the bike, it’s not even about the biking. It will be a test of my patience in loading and unloading all my stuff each day.
Despite a wobbly and slow start to the cycling, after about ten minutes I did get the hang of riding a fully loaded bike. Quite a few heads turned as I rode past; a fully loaded touring bike is an uncommon sight in these parts. After building up my confidence, I then tackled some of the more demanding Pok Fu Lam hills. It was slow-going at times, burdened by all that weight, but at least I’m getting the hang of it. I think.
All of my frustrations with loading Bubba Too reminded me of the brilliant song from Avenue Q, the highly entertaining musical. “It Sucks to Be Me” is one of the most fun — and funniest — songs on Broadway. And is a good reminder that everything is relative, even when things do suck.