I Love Bikes But Bikes Don't Love Me

I Love Bikes But Bikes Don't Love Me

Just a girl wishing she found her bike and the culprit who broke her second one.
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Since I have been back at school, I have endured three separate and isolated incidents involving my bicycle. As of today, I have come to a sad conclusion the world doesn’t want me to own a bike. I am unsure as to why. Does the universe know how much I love my bike that it feels the need to teach me a lesson and take it away?

Back in September, an intellectual locked their bike up to mine. By intellectual, I mean dumb ass. This is where my problems began. I had to cut off a wire connected to my breaks and walk my baby over to the shop to get it fixed. Fortunately, it was a quick and cheap fiasco. Little did I know the grief this bike would cause me.

In October, that beautiful bike I had waited months for was stolen out of my parking garage. I learned one thing on that day.

Trust no one.

Just kidding, I already had trust issues. I surprisingly handled the situation calmly. My parents will attest to it. My mom continuously told me how proud she was that I didn’t have a melt down. To be honest, I was patting myself on the back for it as well. I filed a police report and left it up to fate

Well, fate hates me because the bike is still no where to be found.

Stolen bicycles here at Charleston is a separate issue in it and of itself, but I won't touch on that right now.

After coming to terms with the loss of my bike, I decided to buy myself a new one and boy was I proud. I was ready to take the streets by storm. The first one I had was a professional cycle. My dad used to make bicycle parts, and he had credit at a store. Cue the army green, low handle, speed racer bike. It's safe to say I felt like a true badass.

But this new yellow bike...with brown wheels, seats and purple accents...my god I was in heaven. I thought I was so cute riding around in my new cruiser. Screw the old bike; I’ve got myself a new one that was perfect for me.

My friends and family laugh about how much I love my cruiser, it's an apparent obsession that I have.

Living on a major street with a long driveway my entire life, I was never allowed to bike from place to place. It wasn’t safe, and I was too young. The fact that a bike can get me somewhere so quickly when my little legs take forever to take me places was a miracle. No more breaking a sweat while walking to class, I get to feel the wonderful breeze as I peddle away.

Well, not anymore!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17th was supposed to be a good day.

I usually get coffee before class. Unfortunately, the line was out the door, so I had to settle for the water bottle I had in my book bag. Now, if anyone knows me understands that class without coffee is the equivalent of me without sleep. If my last article gave you any indication, I have an addiction to naps.

Moving on,

You can understand my anguish when I opted to head to class without my iced caramel latte. So, the morning started off with a bump, but I knew it was going to look up.

My second class was canceled, and I figured I’d grab a coffee after class. "Whatever, Sydney," I thought. "I can roll with the punches."

Wrong.

Through the ally between Jimmy Johns and Jacks Cafe, I go, and I see my poor dead baby treated with such immense inconsideration.

Cue *Hands flying above head* “Oh. my. god.”

My bike was run over.

Flipped upside down, clearly rammed into by a truck

A girl came up to me “Are you okay? Do you need anything? I wish I could help, that is so horrible.”

I wonder what I looked like from an outsiders perspective.

I call my mom as tears are beginning to form.

Don’t cry, it’s just a bike. Remember how proud she was when you handled the other situation.

Screw it.

Tears start coming.

“Well, at least you weren’t on it,” she said.

“If I were on it, it wouldn't have gotten hit!”

(I apparently have too much faith in my biking abilities, considering I don’t have an athletic bone in my body)

A Jimmy Johns’ employee rushes out; he can tell I am extremely distraught. He tells me that there is a camera right above and public safety can help me. I thank him for his kindness, flip over my bike, lock it back up and clench my fists. Off I go, huffing and puffing, and the only thought that raced through my mind was “I could get there much faster if I were on my bike, God Dammit.”

Long story short about my time at public safety, I am now friends with the Sergeant. We plan to find the culprit; it is only a matter of time. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, I’m coming to raise hell.

In a city where there are so many students, residents and tourists biking, you would think there would be better precautions put in place. I plan to get rich off of a bike safety initiative; you heard it here first.

Moral of the story: The world doesn’t want me to own a bike.

My sunshine is currently in an induced coma, sleeping quite uncomfortably in my trunk, anxiously awaiting surgery—that will be paid for by the animal that carelessly broke my bike in the first place.

Maybe I'm being trained to dislike my bike because the future has something more dangerous in store (God forbid).

Like me actually getting hit by a car, my Mother's worst fear.

But until that day comes, I’ll be riding off into the sunset.

Well, as soon as I get it repaired.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Fiction: Whitewashed

In a world where racial roles are reversed, a white girl experiences what it's like to be a person of color.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

This piece is inspired by photographer Chris Buck's "Let's Talk About Race" photo essay in O, The Oprah Magazine's May 2017 issue.

The white girl woke up to the sunlight streaming from her window and the distant noises of the television in the background. As she got ready for the long day ahead of her, she reached for her makeup and found her favorite concealer — but discovered, to her dismay, that the container of pale, eggshell-colored liquid was empty. Sighing, she added a mental note to buy more concealer this evening, if she could find the right shade.

As the girl headed down the stairs, the distant noises of the TV became louder and clearer. "Shooting Of White, Unarmed Man By Black Police Officer," blasted the headline. As the newscaster detailed the events of the shooting, the girl felt angry and frustrated. How long would it take, how many shootings before everyone realized that these were not coincidences or mistakes, and that these shootings were a result of preconceived notions about race?

The girl felt a sudden wave of sickness. Without eating breakfast, she headed straight for her car. The radio was on and was describing the shooting of the white male in extreme detail. The girl, her light-colored fingers gripping the steering wheel so that they appeared even whiter, could barely summon the energy to switch the radio knob off.

The girl barely managed the one-hour drive it took to get to her day job at a nail salon. As she entered the shop, she could see the beginnings of a long day — groups of Asian women, clutching their phones to their ears or gossiping to other Asian women in Vietnamese, cluttered the salon and waited for their nails to be done.

The owner of the nail salon, a short, middle-aged white man, greeted the girl. His eyes seemed sad, as if he had also heard the news about the police shooting. He directed her towards her first customer, a Chinese woman who looked like she drove an SUV and had three all-star athletic children. As the girl approached, the woman didn't even acknowledge her; instead, she seemed to be arguing in Cantonese on her phone.

The girl cycled through five customers before her lunch break. She moved to the back corner and opened her lunch box, which contained potato salad and half of a broccoli casserole. As she was digging into her food, she noticed a Vietnamese woman sniffing the air. The woman wrinkled her nose, leaned over to her friend and asked in a loud whisper, "What is that smell?"

The girl was embarrassed, but this wasn't the first time this had happened. She had brought some meatloaf a few weeks ago, and all the customers had stared at her until she moved into the back room of the salon.

After her lunch break, the girl went back to the endless stream of women needing their nails done. Finally, the clock chimed nine o'clock, the final few customers left and the girl was free to leave.

Remembering her promise earlier to buy some more concealer, the girl decided a quick stop to the local drugstore was necessary. She browsed through the aisles, but she couldn't seem to find her perfect shade. Instead, there were rows and rows of brown, yellow and black foundation, but almost no white or lighter-colored makeup. The ones that were closer to white were still too tan and dark for the girl's pale, creamy skin.

As the girl was reminiscing on her bad fortune, she caught ear of an argument a few aisles next to her. "Why are you speaking English? We're in America. There's no official language."

The girl peered over and saw a Hispanic man confronting a white man. The Hispanic man continued on: "Why did your ancestors come over here, two hundred years ago? I mean, you weren't welcome, and you aren't now either. The native Americans should have built a wall to keep you criminals and scoundrels out." With that said, the Hispanic man left the white man in the dust, gaping.

As the white girl drove home, she couldn't stop thinking about the unfairness of the world. Why did she have to live in a world where her every action, her every thought was dictated by the color of her skin? Why did she have to live in a world where preconceived notions of race played the biggest part in determining the future of an individual? Why did she have to live in a world where the phrase "equality and justice for all" were merely words every schoolchild said every morning and then promptly forgot? Why did she live in a world where her status in life and how others perceived her were all based on something that she couldn't control?

In no way is this fiction piece meant to offend or anger anyone. This piece was written solely to open the eyes and minds of everyone, white and non-white, to the struggles people of color face every day, because only through open minds and hearts can we progress as a society.


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