Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 33
Hey, that's my bike!Krider's son takes the long, somber walk home
BY ROB KRIDER
Last week, my son’s childhood innocence was ripped from his little boyhood soul. To be more specific, his bicycle was ripped from the bike rack at school. His two-wheeler was stolen from him by some rotten dudes, thus changing his outlook on society forever.
My son’s bike was his mode of transportation, and it was a symbol of his freedom. This is America; nobody likes to lose his freedom.
I knew how my son felt, because I, too, had been there. I had my bicycle stolen twice when I was a kid. Strangely, it was the same bicycle, stolen two separate times. My bike was recovered after the first theft when the kid who stole it mistakenly rode it into the bicycle repair shop where I was employed. Apparently some of the parts I had on the bike weren’t to his liking, so he wanted to make a few modifications. I told him I needed to look in the back to see if what he wanted was in stock, and from there I called the police department. He went to juvenile hall, and I got my bike back. It was a great moment of justice—only to be overshadowed a few months later when the bike was swiped from me again about two miles from home. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than the sad, slow, lonely walk home after some vandal stole your bicycle. That is a very long, somber walk. During that walk, there is time to reflect, to cry a bit when nobody is looking, and to think of revenge on the people who took the bike. My son had that sad walk last week.
The hardest part about watching my son lose his innocence was knowing the whole thing was partially my fault. I could have prevented the vile act, but for unknown reasons, I didn’t. My son went to school on a normal day, riding his super cool, flat black custom Huntington Beach brand beach cruiser with bright yellow wheels. He loved his bicycle; it defined his style and personality. Mistake No. 1: My first error was buying him something nice that stood out so that others would want to take it from him.
Like a good boy, my son wears his helmet when he rides, and he locks his bike up to the bike rack every day. At the end of this particular normal school day, when he wanted to leave, he found that some practical joker added a second bike lock to the rack. He was stuck. My son called me, frustrated he couldn’t ride his bike home because it was double locked. I told him to find someone at the school, and they would probably have the janitor cut the lock off. Wrong. The janitor had left for the day, so the school said, “Check in with us in the morning, and he can cut it off then.” Mistake No. 2: I thought the school would help.
I drove to the campus to assess the situation, and, sure enough, my son’s super cool beach cruiser had been double locked to the rack. The lock the practical jokers used was a monster that would take me six hours and three hacksaw blades to cut through. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to cut through the lock, I made the foreboding remark: “The guy who put that lock on it will probably come back and steal your yellow wheels late tonight.” Mistake No. 3: If I really thought that could happen, then I should have brought my sleeping bag and camped out with the beach cruiser.
The next day I dropped my son off at school only to find out I was right; the practical joker wasn’t a practical joker at all, but a calculating thief. Only they didn’t take my son’s yellow wheels. They took off their lock, cut our lock, and stole the whole bike. Goodbye beach cruiser, goodbye my son’s trusting personality. My kid was very upset, for obvious reasons; he had been specifically targeted, and his school, his dad, and society did absolutely nothing to prevent it. All in all, it was a bad day at our house.
When we got home, my wife, whom I love, didn’t make me feel any better about the situation: “If you knew they were going to come back and steal it, why didn’t you cut their lock off?”
“I don’t know, maybe because I have some foolish faith in society that the whole thing was just a prank and not an evil conspiracy to steal our son’s bicycle. I want to think that people are good and not assume they are out to harm us.”
“Why would you think that? You’ve told me the story a thousand times about how your bike was stolen when you were a kid. Blah, blah, blah, and you cried all the way home. You shouldn’t have let it happen to our son.”
“First of all, you haven’t heard the story a thousand times—maybe a hundred times, tops. And sorry if I did repeat the story a few times too many; you have to understand it was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me. Somebody took my bicycle and I had to … .”
“I know, I know. You had to walk all the way home. Crying.”
“Yes, I cried. It was very sad.”
“You cried over your bicycle, but I’ve never seen you cry over me.”
“Well, if I could ride you and you were my only means of transportation to get to 7-11 for a Slurpee and someone stole you, then I would cry.”
“You’re going to compare me to a Slurpee?”
“Slurpees taste good?”
“You’re an idiot. Go buy our son a new bicycle so he can get to school.”
“He’s almost 16 years old. I’ll buy him a new bicycle; it’s going to be called a Ford Mustang.”
Rob is patrolling the streets looking for his boy’s beach cruiser. He’s armed with a cell phone camera and a bad attitude.