Bike stealer! I'm gonna get you with my shovel!
Posted on June 4, 2010
When Brian told me this morning upon looking outside that our back gate was wide open, I knew that couldn’t be a good thing because it meant someone was in our yard in the night. But when he came back upstairs to report that my bike was gone, I was truly shocked, because it hadn’t even occurred to me that I didn’t lock it up properly yesterday when I came home from work. Stolen! My beautiful turquoise Apollo custom-built by Will as a birthday gift in February….. off in the hands of some asshole who is just going to dump it for $50 in the local pawnshop. So frustrating! And of course it meant I couldn’t ride to work this morning.
Being robbed is such a crazy thing though – this schizo-emotional dance as we move through a variety of emotional states in rapid succession:
- Self-hatred: It doesn’t seem to matter how you get robbed, somehow it always feels like it’s at least partially your own fault. In 1998, I was mugged at knifepoint in a Bank of Montreal bank machine at eight in the morning on my way to work. You would think that’s as blame free as it gets, but still I beat myself up over it – especially after someone at the bank told me that no one should ever use an enclosed bank machine after hours on their own because this was a very common occurrence. Why didn’t I know better? Why didn’t I confront the guy and fight back? What was wrong with me that I just froze up when he demanded my money? Etc. In this case it’s worse because I put my bike in the lockup and then got distracted by the garden and didn’t put the chain around my bike before I went in for dinner. How stupid am I? It’s East Van!
- Anger: Besides being angry at myself, all I could really envision at 6:30 am was going out in the neighbourhood with my big garden shovel and finding the guy who had my bike in his backyard and hitting him with the shovel really hard. I know. That’s not particularly enlighted or like anything I would ever do. But was I ever angry at this faceless stranger-bikestealer! I’m still entertaining lingering fantasies of installing an electric wire at the backgate for future interlopers, or lying in wait over the weekend and then confronting anyone who comes in with the shovel in hand. That fucker took something I love! I want to seriously hurt him. Bad.
- Denial: Maybe I could put up posters and find it. Maybe I could spend the weekend riding around and looking in people’s backyards and find it. Maybe insurance will give me some money for it. Maybe I can find it via Facebook postings. Maybe I’ll just spot it if I look at every bike that passes me. Etc. Etc.
- Acceptance/Gratitude: Which is not exactly where I’ve gotten yet. Acceptance anyways. I’m still holding out some hope that my bike might find my yard again once this asshole who took it realizes that I’m looking for him with my garden shovel…. But if not, I am feeling immensely (and tearily) grateful that my friend Will who built the bike has offered to build me another over the weekend and already has a frame in mind for me. I’m trying to think of a mutually appropriate exchange to make this situation whole…. a gift I can give in return. But at the moment I’m just so very thankful that Brian was so awesome this morning when I cried like a little girl and that Will is so willing to build me another awesome bike and that all sorts of friends have been sympathizing appropriately with my anger and sadness.
How’s the for a fun roller-coaster of a morning? But I’m feeling okay right now because I think I’ve mostly worked through all of the above and Will is working on a new bike for me. Plus I’m getting my new computer at work today so I’ve got that to look forward to. It’s all going to be okay and I might even walk home after work to get my residual frustration out. Bah. Bike stealer!
(PS – My bike is a 1970s Apollo, ladies cruiser, turquoise with a 19-20 inch frame. It’s got a new bike rack on the back and new tires…. Wide handlebars, and gear shifters on the frame (really lovely little vintage levers). It was stolen from William and Slocan in Hastings Sunrise. If you see it in someone’s backyard, please let me know. I really won’t hit them with a shovel. Promise.)
Oh, yes, it’s hard to get happy when your ride evaporates.
Having stolen bikes in my misspent youth, I pray you’ll leave the shovel in the shed. Having had a bike stolen from me on more than a few occasions as an adult, I’m likely to acquit you. Mind you, I have a different relationship with bicycles. For me, a bicycle is, or has been, (i) symbolic independence, (ii) literal release from frequent recurring injuries, (iii) food on the table, (iv) budo bordering on religious revelation. Plus, Elise is worth more than your car.
Now you know why I sometimes locked my bike even when at home.
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