This is a story about Karma. It was a lovely late April day at Temple. The birds were chirping, the buds on trees were blossoming and students plodded around like zombies with circles the size of Glad garbage bags under their eyes. I forgot to mention that amid the beauty of spring, an impending doom was near – final exams.
As I walked around Temple’s fine campus, I suddenly spotted Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton lying on the pavement. Whoa. No, this wasn’t me hallucinating from studying American history all night. I had just found $15 on the ground!
I thought to myself, ‘How is it possible to find money on a college campus? Nobody has any money and if they do, they certainly don’t go throwing it on the ground.’ So what else could I do but snatch the two bills off the ground and shove them into my pocket?
You’re probably thinking, ‘Okay Biker Chick, what the bleep does this got to do with bikes?’ Well, calm down my friend, I’m getting to it. As I headed home, completely thrilled at the treasure in my pocket, I contemplated what I might purchase. Food? Perhaps. A gift for a friend? No way, lame-o. Some sweet pegs or shocks for my ride? Hmm. The possibilities were infinite.
As I skipped happily toward my bike, I felt something was amiss. From afar, my bike looked quite peculiar. When I came closer, my heart nearly fell out of my chest cavity and splattered onto the ground. Someone had stolen the back wheel.
The rim, the brakes and the tires … they were all gone. Those crooked politicians had tricked me. I had always believed they were out to dupe innocent citizens.
Now the question remains: if I hadn’t been so greedy and selfish by picking up someone else’s lost $15, would my wheel still be there? I should’ve paid more attention in IH to the Buddhism lectures. Damn that concept of Karma. Right away, I knew what I’d be spending $15 on – with another $70 added to that.
After I wallowed in self-pity for a week or two, I decided that I couldn’t live without riding my bike. I called store after store, only to hear that wheels cost about $120 or more. I traveled to West Philadelphia to scope out some bike stores.
I came across Firehouse Bicycles, a co-op owned by dirty, grizzly punks. While the slackers may have been slow, frighteningly unhygienic and toothless, they sure were some nice folks. I bought a brand new wheel for $85, compared to one that would have been $40 more.
I could’ve just bought another used bike for that amount of money. But I felt a kinship with the bike I had. I couldn’t just let it sit there where I left it, a dismembered heap of metal that passerby just ignored instead of ogled over.
If thieves have stolen parts of your beloved bike, I recommend you head over to Firehouse Bikes at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue to pick up some new pieces. Bring some soap for the hippies and punks that work there. I will discuss more fun with thieves in Part 2.
Ellen Minsavage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.