Great autobiographical story on Kuro5hin this morning, telling the tale of a Toronto programmer who quit his coding job to become a bicycle messenger:
There are a number of reasons why the courier life was particularly attractive to this budding young programmer. Part of it was of course standard Office Space fantasy. But there was more. Gibson and Stephenson had taught me that the messenger, the mailman, was a vital romantic figure. The soldier of the information age.
Some parts sound quite appealing:
I think I may be the only courier who even knows what PHB means; the concept would be so foreign to their experience. The people in charge are almost exclusively ex-couriers themselves and they have neither the power nor the inclination to peer over your shoulder as you work. Your only obligation is to get the packages where they have to be when they have to be there. So long as you do that, no one cares what else you do. And if you don’t do it, you don’t get paid. That simple.
Other parts less so:
A certain brash courier from another company who liked to refer to himself as “The Fastest Messenger in Toronto” (and he may well have been, arrogance aside) once told me that he didn’t wear a helmet because having a safety net makes you reckless and that if you are fast enough, you don’t fall. The next week, he went through the back window of an SUV that stopped suddenly and spent two weeks in the hospital. I don’t know a single courier who has worked the job for more than a year and not been hit at least once.
Don’t miss the diary sections at the end of the article, either.