The BikeLight Saga

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Shedding a light on justice. An autobiographical short story.

Submitted: July 25, 2013

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Submitted: July 25, 2013

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This summer, I am living on Martha’s Vineyard using the public transportation system and riding a borrowed bicycle. After my first night at work when riding my bike home through the dark streets of Vineyard Haven, I quickly realized I would need help to see. I have trouble balancing as it is, and with the added element of holding my phone light out in front of me my transportation method proved to be quite dangerous.

But really guys. I’m no good at riding a bike, as evidenced by my frequent falling.

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Come to find out later that they were actually Romanians and that I’m just culturally ignorant, but that’s another story.

For the safety of myself (and Martha’s Vineyard pedestrians in general), I invested in a grey Avenir Urban One Watt Headlight. It proved to be an excellent purchase, as it helped to me avoid hitting skunks on at least two occasions within the first week of use.

One evening I decided to ride the bus into Oak Bluffs for a delicious alcoholic beverage. When I got to the stand next to the bus stop where I usually lock up my bike, I realized I had forgotten my lock. I worriedly parked anyway, hoping nothing would happen to it. I had a strange feeling and debated returning home to fetch the lock, but the temptation of a dirty banana at Nancy’s was too much to convince myself to go back. I risked it, and went to Oak Bluffs without locking up my bike.\"\"

As I returned I was thrilled to see my bike was sitting safely in it’s place. I mounted the bike to begin my route home. I reached to turn on my light to guide me through the dark night. I reached to no avail. My hand was greeted by nothing but the moist Vineyard air.  Sadness fell upon me. What kind of person takes a bike light? I tried to look on the bright side.

I comforted myself with thoughts of a needy old lady being lost and seeing the light took it because she needed it to make it home safely and save a kitten or something like that. It made me feel better.

 

Two days later I park at my usual spot. I scan the bikes for a similar light, because I had a feeling. I saw at the end of the rack, EXACTLY where I had been parked when the crime was committed, a bike wearing none other than a GREY AVENIR URBAN ONE WATT HEADLIGHT! I knew in my heart of hearts this was my light. It had to be.

I commenced upon a stake out (and immediately tweeted about it).

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As I waited patiently by the bike, planning my questions for the suspect, I texted friends and tweeted in order to get advice. I had many ideas:


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This went on for a while. (Many thanks and sorry to my friend, Jacob York.)

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I even resorted to Facebook messaging my friend on the Vineyard Haven police force. He suggested filing a report. “No, that would be ridiculous.” I thought. Clearly my ideas were much more sane.

The stake out made me hungry, so I went to get a slice of pizza from Porto’s. Realizing I was 10 cents short for the kind I wanted (whole wheat margarita with spinach), a kind stranger in line gave me a quarter so that I didn’t have to settle for regular pepperoni pizza. After being treated with such kindness, I needed to take a break and reconsider my course of action.

Risking that the bike would be gone upon my return, I decided to go to Oak Bluffs to get another dirty banana and think.

As I sat at Nancy’s watching the ESPYs and wondering, “What even kinds of sports awards do you vote on? Best fitted baseball pants?” I tried to focus on my problem at hand. I was struggling between doing the “right thing” and not knowing what the “right thing” was. If I were to take this bike light, I personally would be karmically even, right? An eye for an eye, a light for a light.  But what if this isn’t my light and I take it? Can I do this? Can I steal a potentially (although most likely NOT) innocent stranger’s one source of light in these dark nights?

“Nay,” I said “Nay!” If I am not 100% sure this is indeed my bike light, how can I possibly inflict the same pain upon an innocent stranger that I had experienced just two days before? Especially after being treated with such kindness at the pizza shop! I shall give this Vineyard street youth the chance to do the right thing! I will leave a note (and instagram it of course).


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I waited.

My note didn’t move for about a day. Realizing that if this was indeed a stolen light, it may be very embarrassing for this person to call me. I provided another option:

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Again, I waited.

30 more hours passed.

During a break at work I looked at my phone to see I had a missed call and a voicemail from an unknown number. I listened to the voicemail. It began with “Hey I just got this message on my bike…”

IT WAS HIM. It was the bike light thief! Here is the rest of the official transcript of said voicemail:

\"\"“… Uuhh, I didn’t know whose light it was it was sitting there on the ground. And it was kinda like underneath my tire. So I was like, ‘I dunno whose light it was’ and it was at nighttime so ya know, ‘fuck it. Maybe someone just didn’t want it or somethin’ and I tried it out and it worked… Umm apparently if it’s yours you can have it. Uuhmm… Give me a call, I think. [Pause] I didn’t read this bag cause… Hang on. [Lengthy pause.] Uuhh… ‘You can put it here. Leave it under the bushes.’ [pause]. Okay I’ll just do that.”

As you can see he claims to have found it “on the ground”. Think what you want. Either way, he told me he would leave it under the bush. I thought I should call him back to thank him. He clearly didn’t want to talk to me. I thanked him, apologizedfor the dramatics, and told him to have a great day. He mostly just tried to get me off of the phone.

Obviously I had to update my 5 followers who were closely following the story.

When I got back to Vineyard Haven after work, my light was indeed in the bushes! Justice was served.

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Now, I remove the bike light from its stand except for at night when I’m using it. Why? Partially because I don’t want to lose it again, and partially because I’m afraid that guy will see it and I don’t ever want him to know who I am because AWKWARD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2020 Kathryn David. All rights reserved.

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