So the other day we see a person riding out past University and 84, riding a completely white bike, and my wife asks why she keeps seeing bikes like this, just left by the side of the road, uncared for, sometimes with stuff around it, flowers etc, are they memorials?
I go ahead and bring up what happened recently, and how it affects the community, and what the purpose of the all white "Ghost Bike" is about.
I then look closely at the bike the guy's riding, and immediately recognize it. I keep going along our way.
Why, well instead of getting all aggro, I simply chalk it up to memory, and note that, maybe in some way, at least the bike's being used, right, even though in my heart, I'm screaming "defilement".
So, fast forward to today, when I'm coming back in from my local route, that I extended a little bit, and well, what do we have here, but Mr. Person, with his hands all greasy, talking to me as best he could trying to ask for help or money, to get to his work in time.
I look closely at the bike, and without saying or indicating my attitude at this point note, wow, a high end rear wheel, double wall, on a big-box bike intended for 18 speeds, the chain for the 18 speed still on it, jammed up in the shiny XT cassette, with the drive side spokes torn to heck, wheel now taco'd due to the derailleur getting wrapped around clockwise, and into the spokes, tire in good shape, except for the part where he (I imagine) kept riding it while the cheapie side-pull brake went buzza-buzza-buzza-buzza... as he kept riding it even though it needed work.
Try as hard as I could, I could not initially bring myself to help this guy, and in as polite a tone as possible, asked how he'd come to own the bike.
He (stupidly in my eyes) goes into how he and some people had seen this bike, at the side of the road, and decided he needed it more, and merely picked up all the flowers, candles, etc, and took them over to the trash bin and tossed them out, then took the bike home to fix it, picking up some stuff he "found" that would work for him.
I asked if he understood the writing in sharpie, on the bike, and what it stood for.
He replied, "well, maybe, but it's mine now."
Ok, I gotta get going man, I cannot help you, maybe you outta take a little better look into your heart, and perhaps remind yourself why you wear the little piece of jewelry around your neck. Maybe consider going to the local place of worship, and confess what you've told me, because I am concerned that you will have more problems to come. Maybe even consider getting it blessed to prevent the spirits from chasing him.
I tried to be considerate, I tried to identify, I tried to be forgiving, while also being informative...
But when he said, "I do what I have to..." all I saw was a sad, corrupt, poor excuse for an individual, that I was more than willing to accept the fact that I was not gonna help.
So I left the thieving fool who,
1. Took something away that meant so much for our community.
2. Evidently took someone's wheel while it was parked at the university.
3. Held absolutely no remorse for the fact that he was basically caught.
4. Probably would do the same thing all over again.
So, if anybody else runs across this person, and can perhaps find any reason to help him, you're better than me, because all I could hear was the voices of my conscience and karma screaming "Let it go, not yours to fix, he deserves this."
I hope I am not bad in this decision, and hopefully find that others agree.
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