This past Sunday while eating lunch across the street from the high school where my church holds service, someone cut the lock on my bike and made off with it.
After lunch, I parted with my wife, who had driven to church that morning. I walked to get my bike which was parked behind a series of bungalows… and it was gone. It wasn’t gone in the sense that I could see evidence of it’s departure: a cut lock, my helmet on the ground, footmarks on the dirt… it was gone in the sense that it was as if it had never been there. The bike, along with all evidence of the crime itself, had been whisked away.
I stood for several minutes trying to understand how I could so vividly remember riding my bike to church that morning when clearly I hadn’t, since my bike wasn’t there. That was how entrenched I was in the idea that my bike doesn’t get stolen. You hear about other people’s bikes getting stolen, but then again, other people’s bikes are not my bike, and it just doesn’t get stolen, it just doesn’t… until it does.
After calling my wife back to come pick me up, seeing her anger (which far surpassed my own emotions, which were mostly still of disbelief), we headed home as she conjured up rather violent scenarios of what she would do if we should happen across the (poor) soul who had made off with my bike. I learned something new and terrifying about my wife that day, and I must say that I liked what I saw. Mama bear don’t tolerate no thief!
As I was home I felt like I should be out there doing something, fighting crime, recovering my generic mass-produced bike somehow. I realized my bike, due to so little use, had no real distict markings or scratches, heck, I couldn’t even pick my bike out of a line-up. I went back to the school alone and walked around for searching for it, perhaps the thief had laid it against one of the walls so they could take a nap after the emotional high that must come from stealing. Nope. Maybe the thief had a change of heart and put the bike back.Nope.
I questioned life.
How was something that was, suddenly something that was not? What else might come and go so quickly? Perhaps my bike was there all along and it was me that had left. How does the mind of a thief work? Was this pre-medidated or opportunistic? Did that matter? What was it, besides the financial loss, that bothered me so much about this theft?
I came to realize that thievery felt like tyranny. It was someone else’s will being imposed upon my possessions, my domain, against my will. Worst of all, it was a tyranny that I didn’t even get a chance to resist, a chance to be brave in the face of, a chance to test my medal, my morales, anything. It was a tyranny that dealt only in shadows, in absence, in naught. The act of thievery so intimately implicates you and so frustratingly excludes you.
Overall, I’m bummed. I was just getting to know that bike. My wife and I named it Larry afterwards, so we had a way to fondly refer to it.
Larry, wherever you are, I miss you buddy.