Friday, November 20, 2009

Today, my bicyle was stolen

My bicycle was stolen off the front porch where I work. I left there to dry after riding to work in the rain. My desk is ten feet from where I left my bike and there's wide and open windows. But I didn't lock my bike and I was grifted besides.

A late-twenties couple emerged from their red minivan and, quick-stepping through the rain, crossed our threshhold to ask if we were a law office. The woman had a bundle of papers in a plastic bag. I said no, this is an architecture firm. As she was leaving, she asked to use the bathroom and asked me to show her where it was, though it was simply down the hall. While I showed her, her accomplice stole my bicycle and put it into their minivan. It wasn't until about 10 minutes after they'd left that I realized what happened. And I felt awful and low.

I called the police and my wife and my insurance in that order. Everyone helped and I'm getting a check soon minus a small deductible. With my bike shop discount, I'll be just fine.

But here's where I'm at now: I have a choice to make in how I interpret this morning. I want these thieves to be caught and punished and I want my bike back unscathed. Kind-of. What I most want back is my sense that I could trust strangers to not steal from me while I am helping them. (That's probably the most frustrating part--that they enlisted my participation in their brazen heist)

So, I've decided that my mistake was in not locking up my bicycle and in not pausing to consider these strangers' requests. What I did right was to treat them with respect and dignity. It was raining, they seemed down on their luck and needed to use the bathroom. I won't lock down my humanity or kindness, maybe just tamp down the naivete a bit.