The man in the driveway was a little non-plussed so I asked him if he was the one who took it, and explained that I had another bike, and that I would give Red Bike to him if he had taken it because he needed it, because I had tried so hard to give it up after it was taken. I'm still crying, you understand, while I'm explaining this.
He quickly explained that this was his mother's house, and he and his wife were spiffing up the yard before she came back from a long trip, and had found the bike in the yard. The neighbors had shortly come over to explain that they found the bike, the morning after it was stolen or roundabout, and were afraid someone had knocked the old lady off of it and done something terrible to her. Somebody is watching too much Law and Order. But they called the cops (too bad I didn't, I might have gotten it back sooner, since I can identify it; que sera.)
The cops somehow determined that no foul play had occurred and pushed the bike up against the house. The nice couple (the wife of whom used to own Cycles 360) thought it looked like a cherished bike, since it had lights and panniers on it, and stuff in the panniers, put it back against the house and hoped for the best. They've both had cycles stolen, so they knew what it felt like. The husband even rode it back to the house with me and met Hope, and saw the house. They were sooooooo amazing, and I just love that even after I gave it up completely to whoever had needed it badly enough to take it from my porch, it found me again.
I guess I should admit it wasn't locked up. It was just sitting on my porch. With the porch light on, and the bike sitting about a foot from the front door. A bike I ride every day. A bike that obviously, someone cares about enough to cover with personal touches. It is NOT yellow. I assumed a drunk had taken it, because Hope and I had been up watching cable about a foot from it until about midnight the night before it was taken. I seriously wondered if I should call the police and report it missing, just in case someone got killed on it or committed a crime on it. It can be easily traced back to me, you know. Not if someone wanted to keep it, but if it was involved in a criminal investigation (Pung! Pung! Where's Jerry Orbach? Who's watching too much Law and Order, now?)
I was initially concerned that the drunk who had taken it would discover several blocks away that it was too much bike for them. It's almost too much bike for me, and I've been riding it for ten years. TEN. YEARS. No wonder I was crying when I found it. I was afraid they would get really hurt trying to ride it. Not that I would be held liable (which I'm sure I would have been--"If you'd only locked it up, I could still walk!") but that I would feel terrible for the person who got hurt, not that it was my fault. Stealing is nasty, especially stealing bikes. If you don't want anyone to take anything of yours (even if it's not under lock and key) you just shouldn't take anything that doesn't belong to you. I try to live by that, kind of like I try not to rape anyone or murder anyone or commit vehicular manslaughter. Because I wouldn't want anyone to do it to me. Not that I'm perfect, my commitment to trying not to do these things is contingent on my humanity.
How funny, then, to find it semi-crashed (there was no obvious damage, but if you know me you know how I ride it--it wouldn't be obvious amongst all the daily wear) not two blocks from my house. Hope will even tell you, when she woke up and looked out the window and yelled, "Where the hell is your bike!" I ran out in my nightgown, barefoot, and walked a lot of the streets in our neighborhood. I was totally convinced I would find it nearby. I could feel it calling me to come get it. I just didn't walk down the right street. Then we had a car to use for two weeks, and I was trying SO HARD to let that bike go. I thought it was some bad karma I was burning off for being a bitch, or for stealing things when I was younger. I was trying so hard to pray that the person who took it would have a rich, happy, blessed life with it or without it, from here on out.
I'm still trying, you know? No matter who took it, I still wish that for them. Even more since they fell off the damn bike, or decided it was too much trouble to ride home. Whenever I want to damn someone to hell or send them bad karma or wish that they would get what they deserve or die of some horrible, wasting disease, I try to turn it around and wish for god to bless them so much that their lives become a vehicle for joyful change for everyone around them. That they receive the blessings of life so strongly that they can't help but change and become a catalyst to spread it to everyone around them. That their problems melt before them with divine grace and allow them to be the person they deserve to be, spreading love and happiness everywhere they go. How can I do anything else? It's what I want for myself and the people I love.
Not a pushy, evil kind of change, but a joyous, blessed, beautiful change that works by showing what life can be if you have love, and know that the universe needs and loves you because you are you. Not effortless, but full of the best kind of effort. The kind that helps form you into who you were truly meant to be, the kind that rewards itself. The kind that changes the world, and lets you meet Oprah.
Not that I didn't initially wish for the seat (My brand new, $20 seat!) to fall off while they were riding and the asshole get what they so richly deserved. I'm not by a long shot anywhere near perfect. It probably took me a week or two of practicing (and a lot of love from my friends and family) to really commit to the "I hope you use it in good health, and that it transforms your life into a cornucopia of delight" camp. Probably more like two.
I was so astonished to find it, that I kept trying to give it back to the couple who found it. I told you I offered it to the man, thinking maybe he had taken it and needed it. Shit, I can't tell, just by looking at people, who is well-off and who might need my help and forbearance. No more than anyone else can tell, just by looking at you or me. And it might have been time for me to give it up, I told them that. I said, "I worked so hard to forgive the person who had taken it, and to wish it a good next life! I had really given it up!" That was when the husband offered to ride it home with me, so I wouldn't have to come back (a little over a block) to get it back!
I don't know what the conclusion of this post is. Life is beautiful and wonderful things happen. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Don't take bikes that don't belong to you. But if someone takes yours, try to think about the terrible life circumstances that would have to occur before you would take one. I know people who don't have a hard time in life take bikes, too. I know that people make a living, sometimes, stealing bikes. I'm not stupid. But for god's sake, let's be kind to one another. For my sake, let's.
I can't handle a world where we don't, because, you know, I'm sensitive. I can't live in a "devil take the hindmost" world, because that would leave out the people who are not only the most annoying and time-consuming, but who need the most help to get along in our world. Let's give people the benefit of the doubt. Let's assume that no one thinks that he or she is being evil, or would take the actions they are taking if they had the wide view. People who do antisocial things like stealing usually can justify it, some way, just like everyone else tries to justify what they do. They have a reason, most of the time. It doesn't excuse them, but it is a reason, and if you think you wouldn't do the same thing in that person's circumstances, I want to be on the drugs they have you on.