9.17 The Bike Cage
The next few blogs will be transcripts of the latest season of Storytime with Paul Dore. Storytime is a short adrenaline shot of a podcast straight to the mind, heart or sometimes the funny bone, wherever that is located. For this season, each episode is a live recording from the monthly event Stories We Don't Tell. With the release of season three of the podcast, I'll be posting the transcripts here on the blog.
Last year I wrote a three-part story that made me question the world and my place in it. Since then, I’ve had three experiences that fit under this same category. So, this is sort of a sequel. These stories are all about rules: following the rules, breaking them and so on. To quickly refresh your memory, last year’s stories were about someone wearing the same unusual shirt as me, getting yelled at while skating at an outdoor rink and people misunderstanding the concept of emergency sirens. Now for this year’s very different stories.
#3 The Bike Cage
I can be judgmental. I don’t suffer fools lightly. But I try to be patient. [sigh]
I live in a condo building and my bike is held in a cage with everyone else’s bike down in the parking garage. Residents register their bikes and we each get a key for the padlock on the front gate. The fence and gate are made up of small mesh-like squares - about this big.
I was going out for one of my epic rides and knew that my tires needed pumping up. I brought my bike pump down into the cage and was inflating the tires when a man and woman approached. He might, in modern vernacular, be what one might call a ‘bro’. He marched right up to me and said: “Do you have a tool that could loosen my bike seat?” I’m not usually the kind of guy that you look at and say: Now that guy. That guy is a person who carries an array of specialized tools. When I replied in the negative, he said, “I just asked because you had a bike pump.” Which, okay, sort of a stretch, but one that I understood.
He left the bike cage and I watched as he proceeded to close the gate and put the padlock on, essentially locking me inside. Well, not essentially, like actually locking me inside. I said, “No, please, don’t do that.” He said, “Why not?” I walked over to the gate. “You see, if you lock the gate, I am locked inside and can’t get out.” He looked at me with blank eyes and said, “But, you have a key.” After a pause, “Yes, but as you can see, I can’t reach through and unlock the gate from the inside.” I stuck my fingers through the cage to display my inability to reach the lock.
He continued, “But it’s the rules. I have to lock the gate.” I looked to his companion for help. I assumed this was his girlfriend and that this display of confusion must have been a big part of their relationship. She was distracted by her phone, ignoring both of us. She was just probably glad that someone else had to deal with him.
Then I imagined him just leaving me there, locked in the cage. This was the fall and people weren’t biking as much. The cage was in the parking lot and so cell phone reception was spotty. I couldn’t even call for help.
… there was so much more that I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to meet that special someone and grow old with them. I just finished writing a new book. I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to have kids, but maybe, like everyone tells me, I just haven’t met the right person yet. Instead, my life would be cut short - it might be months until my body was found, all shriveled after slowly dying of starvation.
But then he just shrugged, unlocked the gate and walked away. What I learned, and what I hoped the bro learned, was that in some situations, it is sometimes okay to break the rules.