I walked both ways, to and from work today. I usually walk to work pretty reliably, but walking home depends upon how late I get out. The point of this discourse however, is a green English Racer. I first noticed this bike some months ago on my way to work. It was chained to a bike rack outside Whole Foods on 7th Ave, at 25th St. I admired this bike even in its old style as it was a nicely preserved example of the breed.
How Dare I?
I would see this bike every morning moving from one side of the rack to the other as its owner changed the arrangement of the chain altering it slightly from day to day.
One day I noticed that the seat and its post were missing and I began to wonder if my conclusion that the bike was in use was flawed. Or, if I was merely noting the prudence of the owner in removing the seat to prevent its theft.
Over the course of the last few weeks I had pretty much come to the conclusion that the bike had been abandoned. But still I hoped for the best.
I saw the bike this morning and I was saddened. It sat there, futilely awaiting its owner. Hoping to be pedaled into life, obedient, subservient, chained, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Our company party was this evening. We enjoyed over priced food, and overpriced drink. We wandered home, haltingly, with gifts and joy. Reveling in alcohol buzzed minds and reviewing happy thoughts of friends, fun and accomplishment.
But, as I walked to the train, I saw the bike, alone, cold and deserted. There was no hope for the return of its rider and I was saddened. I was sad at the fact that this bike had been left behind by its owner. I was angry that its seat had been stolen, but more so that this was reason enough for its owner to abandon it.
Further along the way I passed some homeless.
They were hunkered down, wrapped in quilts against the cold, silent, not pleading, not begging, silent. Sitting quiet and still just like that bike, equally abandoned, chained by their circumstances in bonds equally visible if less temporal. These were not the professional homeless seen often in the daytime, on the relatively comfortable streets of New York. These were the denizens of the night, dark cloaked and chained to their abandonment through our neglect.
I dropped a dollar in their basket... I dropped three dollars in three baskets that night. Food, booze or drugs, what did it matter? How would their purchases differ from ours at our party? Did it matter? I felt badly about an abandoned bike, yet daily I walk these streets oblivious to the abandoned lives.
How dare we?
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