Yesterday, my bike got stollen, and I am still so very sad. It happened in Manhattan when my boyfriend Dan and I had stopped for a break from the heat. We had just started in on our ice cream cones when he looked over my shoulder to check on the bikes. Mine was brand new, bought for me by him for my birthday. I had just landed a new job and was about to go on vacation when we went on our first ride together. I remember thinking, as I was riding through Brooklyn behind him, “I am so, so happy.” I felt much the same while we were eating ice cream and making each other laugh until he shot up abruptly and said, “Your bike is gone.” We’d been inside for not even 5 minutes.
There’s a strange feeling that comes when something of yours gets taken. Suddenly, you don’t feel safe anywhere. Everyone is out to get you. I’ve felt like this a few times in New York lately. Another time was a few months ago when someone groped me on the subway platform. I don’t know who it was, as they were well practiced at grabbing and then evading, and the not knowing almost made it worse. I could not confront this person, give them a piece of my mind, so I was left to stew in my own anger and bewilderment. On top of that, I felt as though it could happen again at any time. The rest of the day, every person I passed on the subway was a predator, and I felt horribly vulnerable and naked.
New York hasn’t been very good to me lately, or at least it feels that way. But this bike thing has been a serious exercise in letting go. It’s so silly to be attached to a two-wheeled hunk of metal the way I was. I think I feel a little bit like I got robbed of a very happy moment of my life, which was represented by that red bike. I look at it and I think, “That’s MINE.” Everything about it is mine. It was a symbol of my being a real, independent New Yorker, having my own mode of transportation and learning my way around the city.
I can’t tell if I’m sad because I miss the bike, or because I feel robbed—literally. But I have to remember that a moment is not represented by the objects in it. A memory can’t be stolen from me. And I still love this city, even when its people abuse me.
The NYPD? They’ve been amazing. They have a DETECTIVE on the case. I don’t know why. Bikes are stolen all the time and they’re rarely found. But he called me personally on my cell phone this morning and let me tell him, in more detail than he could have possibly needed, what happened. For all its flaws, the New York Police Department has always come through for me. And when I was crying on the ground like a fool outside the gelato place yesterday, a woman stopped and offered me some water. When I tried to give it back, she insisted I keep it to stay cool.
I guess what I’m saying is, there is more good in this city than bad. New York, I could never stay mad at you.
(Sorry for the rant)