Leave The City

trek4300A bike went missing today. My bike, the lock snapped on Salt Lake’s Main Street that never lacks for people.

Yet, nobody saw it, or at least none of the do-nothing, meth-addicted homeless who have put downtown Salt Lake under siege admitted to have seen the bike disappear.

Barring a miracle of either stupidity or laziness, the bike is now gone forever, leaving me to either hike it to TRAX or pay for parking that is two blocks away.  Notice I don’t hold any hope for the cops to find my bike, since it’s under $1,000 and they apparently cannot be bothered.  Which is, you know, understandable since they having to actually investigate downtown crime might lead to a scratch on their own mountain bikes or a dent in their personal scooters.

I took pride in riding my bike every day, I enjoyed the small dash of exercise and the 15 minutes of semi-fresh morning and night, andI enjoyed time to think outside of home and office. I enjoyed not driving, not parking, not running needless small errands simply because I had a car.

This theft comes on the heels of our neighbor having the connector on his hose stolen. Slashed with a knife, and gone. Not the hose, just the end of the hose. Previously, we have had solar lights and a bird bath stolen from our front yard, which is close to downtown. In fact, every day there are dozens of crimes like this: missing bikes, stolen stereos, forged checks.  All petty crimes with small bills that draw zero attention from actual investigators. Reporting a crime like this is almost as effective as reporting computer problems to a call center in Bangalore.

Walking home tonight, I carried the snapped bike lock. Why? It had no purpose. The cops, as I said, didn’t care for evidence. Obviously, the lock is useless even if the bike is found. Except every time I went to throw it away, or even put it in my backpack, I could not loosen my grip. Maybe I hoped to fix it, or realize it was a joke, or stumble across the thief and beat them senseless.

I don’t want to loathe the city, hate its populace, despise its cops. Except I do, at least right now, and every time something like this happens the loathing erodes my soul a little deeper, stretches my anger a little further.

Constant petty crimes undermine my faith in the overall abilities of the police. Even worse, they undermine my faith in humanity. When I walk along Main Street tomorrow, I don’t want to look at the regulars sitting at the chess tables and on the planters and think, “Fucking meth heads. Give me my bike!”  I don’t want to glare at the police officers, or spit at the pawn shops where my bike may be sitting, or growl at the skateboarding youth. At night, I don’t want to think that every single person walking past is potentially going to steal lawn ornaments, break into my car, or worse, break into my house. I don’t want to wonder if I need more locks, thicker windows, or burglar alarms. I don’t want to wonder, every time I do something, am I protected well enough? Is locking my bike next to a dozen other bikes safe? Or should I have two locks, maybe each costing $100 instead of one that only cost $20? Maybe I should carry the bike to my office?

I don’t want feel that way, except I do. Common sense tells me that my frustrations are not valid. My compassion tells me that not every homeless person is a meth addict, that not every person on Main Street is homeless. Experience teaches me that the easiest to blame are generally the least likely to have actually committed the crime. Frankly, none of it matters.

After all, somebody stole my bike.

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