Seven days ago, at this very moment, I was barely conscious from pain. A shell of myself, I had turned on the BBC series Life Story, which would be followed by Life. The illness lasted long enough for me to “watch” these magnificent displays of entertainment back to back without interruption. I imagine I am not alone when I reveal David Attenborough’s voice soothes nigh unequivocally. I have only known one other voice that has inspired such an effect in me. The pain wasn’t going to leave me for another twelve hours, so the marathon run of nature documentaries provided a mix of natural sounds, beautiful music, and a soothing voice swaddling me with an auditory blanket to ease my sufferings. This sickness wouldn’t end up being the most traumatic event of the last seven days.
Saturday morning, after a great time at Georges Majestic Lounge videoing The Silvershakers CD release event Friday night, the bicycle I had borrowed from a friend 36 hours earlier was stolen from my front porch. A gray Giant, 21 speed with street tires on it. An engaged bike lock tells me that it was an inside job as there are a few people who knew my bike lock combination. I don’t have any proof of who it was, and unfortunately the list of suspects would all have to be pretty close to me—extremely unnerving.
I am not saying I would have rather had the sickness come back to torture me, but if offered a choice, yes: please don’t steal my friend’s bike. I love to ride and would have used it daily. Now it is gone, and rather than toss and turn about who did it, I have decided a different course of action. Border closing.
My house is usually a very open space. I had been helping a friend on hard times via garage couch. I had to ask him to leave. My home was being used as a daily office for another project partner. The office is temporarily closed. This isn’t really to protect my stuff per se. I am not often overly materialistic and protecting my possessions does nothing to inspire me behaviorally, although I do love my books, drums, and bicycles (when I am able to have them, which has been diminishing the last few years upsettingly).
I mean, a few books have disappeared over the last five years. The drums are spread pretty thin these days, but I still have all the core parts. Those things mentioned, the total bicycle embargo going on at my house is beyond disturbing though. It’s been a year since I returned the last bike I borrowed, and a few people have tried to bring some rickety, almost unusable bi-wheels over, which is kind. Yet, we all know a truth: there are thousands of bikes in thousands of garages right now that almost never get used. Some cost over $1000 dollars and have never been ridden except for up and down the street a couple of times. This drives me crazy because, I know I don’t have any idea of the real numbers and thousands probably just covers the NWA area. The really-real truth is there are probably tens of thousands of bad-ass bikes hanging in garages that are just one spring cleaning from being sold on Craig’s List to another household that will likely hang it uselessly from their garage wall. Ah, the ridiculous addiction our culture has to future garbage is as close to mass madness as we need to get.
This is the reason I become more and more minimalist. To think that I have stuff, that never gets used, that would change the quality of life for another is frankly embarrassing. This inspires me to 1) use as much of my stuff on a regular basis as I can, and 2) give a way as much stuff as I can that I know will never be used. I don’t mind trashing something, but if I can donate it to a person, not a Salvation Army or Goodwill that will try to sell it but a living breathing person that may be like me and unable to purchase these goods, I will. I can’t buy a bike right now. Not even a
twenty-dollar one. Yet, I would use and maintain one with selfless joy. Keeping a bike in good condition is reward enough for me. Obviously the thief doesn’t respect me or bikes at that level. In all likelihood, they don’t have much self-respect either, also sad.
At least I have gotten to write about it. Not much of a payoff, but it’s one I happily accept. While that person may be out looking for the next score, I am here, cultivating my love of writing and communicating. Appreciative of all that I have, and hoping someday soon I can again feel the torque of a crank arm, reverberations of a shifting gear, and wind in my face.