I’m scrapping the thing I was going to send out today in favor of a short story about my morning adventure. It’s only 9:30 am here and already I’ve done enough for one day.
On my way home from my morning walk with my dog Lucy, I saw that the garage door that we share with another tenant was open. Both cars were there, I figured maybe our neighbor was on their way to work and had gone back inside. I told Cass, who immediately reminded me that we store our bikes in there. The door could’ve been open all night for all I know. Fuck. I went back to check and yep, you guessed it, the bikes were gone.
It was the only bike I have ever owned as an adult and Cass’ bike that was originally her mom’s. FUCK. They had been chained and locked to each other, so my first thought was that they couldn’t have gone far. Where calmer minds might have started calling bike shops or posted on NextDoor, my shining east-coast temper kicked in and I hopped in my car. I’m going to find these people and get these fucking bikes back.
After driving around the neighborhood for 20 minutes or so like a maniac, I drive by a pile of trash with a couple of bikes in it under a highway. As I pulled over to get a better look, I saw two men behind a fence taking apart my bike. We made eye contact and I parked a bit ahead of where they were. Holy shit.
What do I do? I’m alone under a highway overpass potentially confronting two strangers who didn’t have a big problem stealing bicycles. This could go south very fast.
I called Cass and we decided I’d offer them money. We just want the bikes back. That had to work. I got out of my car and one of them was already waiting for me at the fence. I calmly asked how much they wanted for the bikes. I just wanted the bikes back. He asked which ones were mine - ugh, yeah dude the two you’re taking apart right in front of me, those ones - and he immediately said we could just have them back. Didn’t even hesitate. He just gave me the bikes back.
They profusely apologized, made up a story about someone bringing them the bikes, “they didn’t know they were stolen”, whatever. They put things back together and handed me the bikes and the locks that were still intact. I was (am) clearly shaken, because I had not expected to be able to get them back without a fight, and the two men just kept apologizing.
I asked if they needed water (it’s going to be 100 degrees today), gave them a gallon that I keep in my car, and waited for Cass to help me get the bikes back home in her car. I was only six blocks from our apartment.
I wish they hadn’t stolen our bikes, but I also wish I didn’t live in a city where people have to resort to that to get by. I wish I could’ve called someone to help me look for them without them potentially committing murder or getting someone deported. I wish I wasn’t still spinning with adrenaline an hour later. But hey, I got the bikes back! Nobody got hurt. It’s fine.
How’s your morning going?
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