Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On Thieves and the Generosity of Strangers

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you how I was excited to soup my bicycle up a bit once I picked it up from its spring tuneup? I had purchased a special seat and special handlebar tape and looked forward to the weather getting just warm enough to make the riding experience enjoyable?

Well, that story took a (what should be unusual but seems to be usual) turn yesterday.

Yesterday, I snuck away from work on my lunch hour to pick up my bicycle from the shop. It has been ready since Friday, but given my weekend of singing hours and hours of Bach, I didn't have the proper chance to pick it up. So, yesterday was my day and I excitedly retrieved it. Upon entry into the bicycle shop I realized I didn't have the key to my U lock with me so I decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a secondary lock anyway. I stood and looked over the locks, trying to justify paying $60 for the cheapest U lock, but opted for a temporary $20 chain lock until I got home to switch out. I was already spending $100 on maintenance so the $20 option seemed much smarter.

Fast forward to 6:15pm when I parked my bicycle inside the front fence at Musical Chairs. This is essentially a home, and I parked it in the yard and used my chain lock to lock it through both the front and back wheel of the bicycle. Patting myself on the back for getting back on and admiring how good it feels to ride in the spring time, I didn't even consider my situation a security concern.

At 8:45pm I left our adult student gathering, where the students we teach who fall into the adult category get together, drink wine, and make music for each other. It is really a lovely evening. When I walked outside, my bicycle was gone. In 2.5 hours and in the midst of a house full of people, someone had managed to snip the lock and get inside the front yard to take my bicycle.

My reaction is really only to laugh. It is absolutely absurd that my bicycle would be stolen. This is number 4 for me in less than 5 years and although I'm incredibly disappointed, I've learned that there is literally nothing one can do in these sort of situations and I've written many blogs about this matter to prove it! (I've had a few things stolen before...)

But then this morning, I was walking along thinking how having things stolen is particularly strange when interacting with others, because so many people around me genuinely will feel bad for me about this loss. They will tell me they are very sorry for this and I will absolutely appreciate their sympathy, but none of us can bring this THING back... so, how can I handle these conversations?

That being said, I opened up an email this morning that really surprised and altered my somewhat somber state of mind. A gentleman from the event last night offering me a bicycle. A perfect stranger, really. Now, I don't know that this bicycle will work for me as I'm a tall fella, but the generosity and kindness struck me in a unique way.

For however selfish we all can be, there are those who manage to rise above that and let generosity take control. I can only hope I am one of those people.

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