Saturday, January 23, 2010

Czech My Bags

I'm getting organized for my trip to the Czech Republic, where I'll announce the World Cyclo-cross Championships. I must say I love the dichotomy of my life. Ya see, I have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kinda thing going on....

I work for Anthony Kennedy Shriver - as in JFK's nephew - to market his charity bike rides the Audi Best Buddies Challenges.

I find myself in a suit and tie a lot, mingling with corporate leaders, bankers, politicians, celebrities, etc. And I like it. A lot of men will publicly decry such situations, claiming they cannot wait to take off the tie.

I like wearing suits. I like being in those rooms. Those people are at that level of wealth and notoriety because they're smart and intense and dynamic.

But I also find myself like some character in a Thomas Pynchon novel, racing out of those parties and right into a car with bikes, wheels, and wool-clad people eating bland food out of plastic containers.

I once went from a 12-hour span from being at a black tie function with champagne to standing waste-deep in a wood-fired hot tub in Portland with a beer. Wonderful on both ends of the spectrum.

We have an office in a downtown Boston law firm, Seyfarth Shaw. They are fantastic people living fine lives. But they must think I'm from Neptune. I'm a year round commuter; that's the first thing hard to accept. But they've come to like me.....Sort of like some elf they keep around. So I wear the nice clothes and see them in the lunch room, where it came up that one staffer would be traveling this week....

"Oh, how nice. Where?"

"A cruise... in the Caribbean."

"Oh, how nice."

"I'm going away next week, too"

"Oh, some place warm I hope..."

"No, the Czech Republic....I think it was 4 below zero yesterday"

.....It took a second to register....It's just a whole lot to swallow for some folks.....Language, culture, travel, and trying to recall just where the fuck is Czechoslovakia?

"Why are you going there?"

Then you talk about the 'cross worlds.

I love the confusion between fear and envy.

Right in this dichotomy is where I find myself most alive. And increasingly I find more and more successful executives feeling that sense. You see, so many people aspire to be on that cruise ship. You get endless buffet, open bar, classic rock, and comfortable deck chairs.

Increasingly I find those interesting folks who have elbowed, punched, kicked and eye-gouged their way up the ladder are simply bored at the Country Club. Hence they sign up for charity bike rides....Because administrative assistants cannot ride the bike for them. What's most fun is when I see some of those top executives taking it even farther....Some even line up for 'cross races! I know several.

So I'll first travel to Washington DC on Monday, where I'll help coordinate the Capitol Hill Day event, a coordinated effort between Special Olympics and Best Buddies to secure passage of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act. That's Dr. Jekyll.

Then I'll come home Wednesday morning, take off the suit and tie, and grab my bag for the Czech Republic. That's Mr. Hyde.

Thanks for reading. More to come.


  1. You're living the dream.
    Dress in layers.

  2. Great post Richard, but you've got it reversed. The suit/tie guy that both you and I are M-F 9-5 is Mr. Hyde.

  3. Oh crap. An interesting person, with an interesting life, who actually writes well starting a blog.

    You're going to throw the Blog-o-verse out of balance.

    That's what we call it: "the Blog-o-verse."