My bicycle disappeared on the very day the police executed their Bicycle Clinic bust.
I couldn't believe it was gone. I looked in the same place for it over and over, convinced somehow I just hadn't seen it. The first step is definitely denial.
Next comes self-?recrimination. Why did I buy an expensive bike? Till now I've been smart enough to wheel along on crappy jalopies with crates tied to them - great lumbering truck-?like bikes. But with a torn meniscus tormenting my knee, I sprung for my first decent machine: an aluminum- frame Trek 720 that took minimum pedalling for a maximum of motion.
No, I didn't scrimp on the lock - I was stupider than that. I took it outside and then ran back in the house for my helmet just as the phone rang. Five minutes later my precious had vanished.
That left me to roil in the next stage: the double whammy of fear combined with its evil twin, anger. Someone was watching me, stalking my every move, waiting for this bike. An evil imprecation seems to rise up from the earth, a curse on the thief: "May your intestines tangle in your spokes and every pedal thrust twist them tighter."
Being at heart a non-violent kind of Rottweiler, I try to suppress my malefic thoughts. Should I let the person who stole my bicycle also steal my humanity?
And anyway, what if some of those cheap bikes I bought were stolen and I didn't know. Would my own curse apply to me?
I'm told by police that I'm welcome to make my way down to their warehouse to see if my beloved is there.
One sweltering bus ride and one long walk later, I finally find my way to the liberated two-?wheeler treasure trove. Indeed, there are about 200 upended bikes for me to inspect. Mine is not among them.
Then I notice three other vast rooms crammed with the latest haul - at least 1,500 bicycles. How many bike thieves can there be in this city?
Unfortunately, I can't go in because these have to be processed first. "May every step double your journey. May you never arrive."
The final stage really has to be letting go. Some people never do this. Their vanished Pee-?wee Herman hybrid haunts them every day for the rest of their lives. I won't let that happen. I'll call on my inner Gandhi and stop all this spite. Like, do I really want every bicycle thief in this city getting a 10-year case of athlete's arse?
Hell, I live on a stolen continent. I'm a member in good standing of a kleptocracy. What goes around comes around, as they say in bicycle land. I have to wish them well, or at least wish them passive-?aggressive well - which is to say I just hope they get what they deserve.