Monologue from a toppled-down bicycle

First, I need you to know that I don’t blame you.

I know you tried your best when you locked me to this post. Or something like your best.

You didn’t mean for me to fall over.

And, yes, I was definitely leaning jauntily against that pillar when we finished our morning commute and you turned your back on me.

Like you do every morning.

And usually I manage to stay upright, proudly and patiently waiting for our return journey as the sun rises and falls above me.

Because that’s my job. I know that.

You go into that building and stay there for hours and hours doing whatever it is you do there. That’s your job.

You do whatever you do and I stand out here like a sentinel, straight up and orderly.

And then we go home.

That’s how it’s supposed to work.

That’s how it usually works.

That’s not how it worked today.

I don’t think I ask for much. Lord knows I’m not like one of those fancy schmancy bicycles that insist on being carried inside and stored far away from the sun and rain in their precious cyclist’s personal storage cabinet.

Not me.

Do you hear me complaining when I have to stay out all day in the rain? Nope, I’m there for you every afternoon just as cheerful as always even if I’m dripping wet. I don’t care that you don’t even wipe me down before popping a plastic bag over my seat, unlocking me, hopping on and launching us into our afternoon commute back home.

Care?!?

Ha, I’m glad you don’t wipe me off! That’s the kind of rough-and-tumble bicycle I am. I’d be embarrassed if you doted over me. Like that time when it was raining too hard and you shuffled me into your office for the night. As if I couldn’t be trusted to stay in my place.

I wish you wouldn’t do that. We can ride through anything, you and me.

Well, that would have been the icing on the cake today. If there’s anything good to salvage from this day, it’s the knowledge that it isn’t raining and you have at last come to release me from this torture.

In a minute, we’ll be soaring down the street, scooching between those smug cars and line-dancing with all the other bicycle commuters passing and falling behind each other at the intersections. I think I like the afternoon ride best – you’re always a bit more relaxed and we get to coast downhill for the last ten minutes.

Plus, my parking spot at home is always there and, you know, it’s designed so that I can’t fall down.

Which brings us back to today.

Is it really too much to ask for you to securely position me when you lock me up in the morning? ‘Cuz in case you were wondering, bicycles don’t enjoy being suspended from their locks. It’s not a comfortable position and it’s not dignified.

I think you know this.

You’d never push me over yourself. I’ve even seen you pick up other bikes when you knocked them while locking me. Which is really nice. A lot of people wouldn’t do that.

I know this from experience.

It’s like you actually understand how humiliating it is to hang awkwardly from a u-lock for half the day.

You know, like I did this afternoon after that jackass colleague of yours nudged me over and just kept on walking without even so much as a glance. Other bikes came by and pitied me. Other cyclists looked down their noses, but they just rode on by and locked up somewhere far away from me as if falling over is contagious and they didn’t want their bikes to touch me.

Maybe you don’t realize how unusual you are in your kindness to other bikes.

Maybe that’s why you don’t always take that extra precaution to make sure that I can withstand the hustle and bustle of your inconsiderate co-workers. You don’t want to think that your fellow humans are so bad.

Which is kinda cute, really. Naive, but cute.

If it wasn’t so horrible to dangle from a u-lock for 3-5 hours, I’d let you live in that fantasy world. It’s not like I enjoy destroying your innocence.

But I feel like I owe it to you. It’s important you understand what it’s like for me.

That’s how relationships work.

Just a little more care – that’s all I’m asking for. Because we’ve got something good here. If you just work on it a bit, I have a feeling we could really go places.

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