...on planet earth is not pond-scum or mold or some single-celled fungus. It is the bicycle thief. Or in this case, the guy who stole part of my bicycle.
My bike looked so sad there on the sidewalk, missing the rear wheel.
Now... I'm not the most emotional guy in the world. I might actually be one of the least. And for the most part, I'm pretty positive. No matter what's going on, I tend to put a positive spin on it in some way. For example, let's say I'm rushing to catch the subway and I get to the platform just as my train is pulling away... frustrating of course, but in those moments, I immediately think something along the lines of: "Well, I'll bet there's a good reason why I missed that train, like maybe I'll run into an old friend of mine who I haven't seen in years on the next train, or, if I had actually gotten onto that train, maybe I would've gotten sneezed on by some wretchedly ill passenger and caught a horrible flu. So, I am therefore pleased and thankful that I missed the train and must now wait 20 minutes on a hot subway platform that reeks of urine while a crazy drunk man yells incoherently at his invisible tormentors." Yes sir. Nothing fazes ol' Dr. Brainwave.
But when I saw half my bike stolen, I experienced an intense spike of negative emotion, probably for the first time in over 10 years. It subsided quickly, but for a brief moment I became psychotically enraged.
I was mad at the thief, obviously. But ultimately I was probably angrier at myself. The seat post and both wheels on that bike were quick-release, and I was only in the habit of locking the frame, front wheel and seat. Somehow, I convinced myself that removing the rear wheel would be too cumbersome to bother with. Holy crap was that a delusion. Of course someone's gonna come and fuck with a bike that hasn't moved in a few days, especially if a removable part of it is unprotected! What kind of idiot am I?
But what do you do when you realize that the target of your murderous rage is your own stupidity/laziness?
Thankfully I was able to quickly calm myself down with this special technique I've developed, which I call "Suppressing anger into a little ball of internal stress that will one day turn into the tumor that kills me." Just kidding. I think I punched a brick wall.
One funny -- sort of -- thing about this was that I'd been locking my bike up that exact same way on the street in front of my own apartment in Hell's Kitchen for MONTHS with no problems whatsoever. Among other things, Hell's Kitchen is, for those who don't know, the neighborhood which spawned the crack epidemic of the late '80's. It has gentrified a lot over the almost 13 years I've lived there, but compared to my brother's block on the clean, expensive, "safe" Upper East Side, my Hell's Kitchen block is a bit of what the real-estate agents call, "a shithole." Months of bike parking in gritty Hell's Kitchen with no problems in the slightest, and then rear wheel stolen after a few rainy days in the fancy neighborhood. So, at least the experience gave me yet one more reason (there are many) to dislike the Upper East Side. (No offense, Dave. I'll still come visit you.)
I unlocked the bike and dragged its incomplete carcass into my brother's building, grabbed the rest of my stuff, and took the subway home with the rest of the non-bike-riders. So painful.