Somebody stole my bike. My trusty sidekick, my ride, my wheels, my friend. Gone. It was so sudden, and so unexpected. I had ridden it to the mall, just a kilometer from our house, and left it at the almost-usual-spot. I usually parked my bike next to the hotel bikes, but since there were only a few bikes closer to the main door, I decided to leave it there.
I went, got changed, walked around the gym, and walked out 35 minutes later.
And just twenty minutes later, I had gone through all five stages of grief.
9:30 pm. Denial
I walked out of the mall and got to the place where I expected to see my buddy. The spot was empty. The same old black bike that had been there before was still there but where my white Apollo was supposed to be, there was just an empty space.
Instead of thinking that my bike had been stolen, I slapped my forehead. Silly me. I must have left it somewhere else, I thought.
How could I forget such a thing, though? Weird. Could I have got confused with the days? Maybe I had parked it here yesterday…
“Oh, now I know. Those kids I saw being rowdy on the escalator earlier. They had a strange look on their faces when I stopped to stare at them from the bottom of the stairs. Aaaah, now I know. They have moved my bike. What a prank,” I muttered to myself as I walked around the bike park.
“Good one, guys. Good one. I bet it’s behind the dumpster.”
“Somebody stole my bike!” I yelled into the phone before anyone had even answered.
“Hello?” said Wife.
“My bike! It’s gone. Somebody’s stolen my bike. Those sonsabitches!”
We went back and forth a couple of times like that while I walked back and forth outside the mall. Around the bike park once again, around the library, to the alley between the library and the mall, turning around, turning around again, and just as I was about to turn around a third time, to go back to the mall, I was stopped by a man.
“Are you lost?”
“No. I’M ANGRY!”
The man looked confused.
“Somebody stole my bike,” I said.
I walked back to the spot where I had left my Apollo just 45 minutes earlier. A cable used to attach bikes to the stand was lying on ground. The black bike that was still there was locked to the stand.
“Why didn’t I do that? Had I locked it to the stand, they wouldn’t have been able to take it. Better yet, had I never gone to the gym, my bike wouldn’t have been here, and it wouldn’t have got stolen,” I said to myself again.
I hadn’t really even wanted to go to the gym, but during the evening, I had changed my mind. And then I had changed it back. And then I again. It had gone on like that for a good twenty minutes, until I had had to rush out and take the bike if I wanted to get to the gym at all.
I decided never to go to the gym again.
With a little bit of anger left in my body, I decided to call on Universe’s help. Well, you know all those stories of people losing something, and then tweeting about it, and getting their phones/bikes/wallets back in an hour or so? That was my plan. I would tweet about my loss, my 629 Tweeps would rush to my aid, and we’d all look back at this and laugh.
“Ok, Twitter. Stolen bike in Sollentuna. Disappeared 15 mins ago. Get to work, social media. /Sad and Angry”.
Still in rage, I walked to the train station, expecting to see a man in a mask carry a white bike up the stairs. And the more I thought about it, the more real it began to sound, so I started to run because I didn’t want to miss him.
Nobody carried a bike anywhere. I walked through the underpass, to the other side of the tracks – having decided that that’s where the masked man was – but didn’t catch the thief. My run turned into a walk, and my walked into a slow walk as I kicked rocks on the ground.
Why me? Why my bike? Of all the bikes there, why mine?
Because it was the best and the coolest, of course.
And now I’d never see it again.
I walked to the police station that was just around the corner, ready to report a theft. While I didn’t have forensic evidence from the crime scene, the trail was fresh. Surely the police could get on the case.
The police station was dark, and empty, but the door was open. I walked in, and imagined going through a binder full of mug shots – although I obviously hadn’t been an eye witness – but instead was greeted by a blinking light for “799”. The last queue number they had served (and protected) that day.
I left the police station, walked back to the mall, walked back inside the mall – maybe the kids’ prank had been even better that I thought and the bike was parked next to the cheese shop? – and then walked home.
I remembered the first time my bike got stolen. It was the blue “Cross”, with the banana seat. That had been stolen from our apartment building. They had broken in through the bike storage entrance. Dad even found marks on the lock.
I thought back to that autumn day when my moped was stolen from our front yard. I had been out playing hockey all day, in a tournament, and when I got back, the moped was gone. They had stolen it in broad daylight. And I hadn’t even been 15 so I hadn’t got to ride that moped much.
And I remembered the bikes that disappeared from under our bedroom window six years ago.
I never got them them back.
I’d never get my Apollo back.
I came home and Wife gave me a hug.
“Those bastards!” she said.
“I know, but what can you do.”
“File a report with the police.”
“I was there but the station was closed. But I will … I guess.”
Wife said she’d keep an eye on the local Internet site where people buy and sell their possessions. I was going to do the same. And if my bike showed up, we’d go there, and buy the bike, with a police. Maybe with an undercover cop.
I went into my little office to check Twitter. There were no retweets but I saw that I had got a reply.
It was from a colleague in Vancouver. He wrote: “Just buy a new one.”
I sighed, and then typed a reply.