I was given an award by Wendy Fallin, one of the key organisers of the 2000 Cycle Messenger World Championshions, which were held in Philadelphia.  The awards ceremony was sort of chaotic, and I was too stunned (and drunk) to really take the award in.  Some months after, Wendy sent me this note, which says more about her, and the spirit of the messenger community in San Francisco in the 90s than it does about me.

Your award.  I was way too tired to say what I wanted to say when I gave it to you.  I remember when I was still working in San Francisco and someone gave me a copy of Moving Target.  I had been dating this guy in SF named Dave St.Germaine, who moved back to DC.  So, I’m reading this zine from London and there was a story from DC about a cops vs. couriers race that Dave had won.  (I think this was either before the list serv or more likely before I know about the list serv.)  I couldn’t get over the feeling of learning about this race that took place in DC by reading a zine produced in London.  What an impact!!  It made me want to help out on Voice of Da, which I did, and why later I helped start CYCHO in Philly.  While I am sure that other people helped on Moving Target, you were just this person that embodied helping messengers…

…I know that the way you feel about it and the way I see you are two different things, but everyone needs an inspiration and you know now that you were mine.  But I’m sure I’m not the only one.  You are always quick to pat others on the back, I just wanted to appauld your efforts for once.

Anyway, there’s another interesting story I want to share with you.  When Thomas Meredith died there was a gathering in South Park.  I didn’t want to go because I was still a rookie and I didn’t really know Thomas that well, so I sort of felt that going would be disrespectful.  But my friend wanted to go and didn’t want to go alone and after much whining I agreed to accompany him.  I remember feeling overwhelmed, all of those people, sad people, and the cops were there talking to us, saying they were going to try to figure it out, and there was yelling and anger, and then Marcus started playing guitar and I was paralyzed.

People just stopped and just started singing.  And he looked at me straight in the eyes and sang and of course I’m a rookie and don’t even know about L Sid much less the words to their songs, so I just stared back.  But it was surreal, the light coming through the trees, this guy on a guitar,  and a park full of sad people singing to their dead friend.  The next day a friend of mine named Jonathon spent the entire day pulling the contacts off of the back of MUNI buses in his own tribute to Thomas.

That night we were sitting in this bar, The Drunk Tank, when Jonathon just gets up and sprints out the door.  I had no idea what he was doing, but he comes back in, arms raised above his head and yells “33!” (or some such number).  Everyone realizes that he has de-railed his 33rd MUNI bus.  Big cheers from the bar patrons and I’m just amazed by the sense of community I feel.

What was it?  Two years later?  I go into work, I’m dispatching for Flash, and on my way in I hear that Marcus was found dead in a park.  I’m staring out the window at the rain and I’m just crushed.  One of the riders comes in the office and asks me if I heard about my friend dying.  I tell him I’ve already heard about Marcus and he says no, not Marcus, Jonathon.  He had crashed on his motorcycle the night before and died.  I couldn’t believe it.  My mind went back to the day that Thomas died and how these two guys in their own completely different ways showed me community and now they were both dead.  Wow.

Anyway, these guys are gone and I will never be able to tell them how much they inspired me to create a sense of community.  So, that was sort of the reason behind the award for you.  I’m sure our award comes not just from Philly, or me, but from lots of other messengers all over the world.  Thank you.

  1. su-ellen said:

    Drunk? Yes. Deserve the award? Most definately.


  2. I learnt today that Wendy passed earlier this month. She was a special person, and attention to what she had to say about stuff was amply repaid.


  3. Ben Thompson said:

    RIP Wendy.
    You were a good housemate and a great friend.


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