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Tales of the City


I will no longer be riding my bicycle. It was stolen on a recent evening in front of the Ralphs market here in Santa Barbara. I am not bothered so much that the bike is gone — it is the details that bother me! I had a strong feeling, as I walked away from where I left my bike, that I had not properly secured it to the railing there, but I fought-off the thought as no more than O.C.D. once again. So I ignored the impulse to go back and check. When I returned, the bike was gone! I expected as much as I approached, and my sense of loss was strangely muted. And my emotions rapidly changed to acceptance.

Now, I am not a person who does not value nice possessions, and the bike was a better than average example of a single-speed sport bike. But riding it in the intense traffic of the city was no longer refreshing. Instead, it was monstrously stressful — not only because of vehicular traffic, but also from other cyclists — and pedestrians too, many of whom totally disregard traffic lights and stop signs. As are we all, I am surrounded by low to moderate level sociopaths who are oblivious to any sense of social propriety.

The next day, I took the bus to the market to get a few things and purchased a 10-ride pass at the Transit Center on my way home. Aside from the slightly limited schedule, this is a better solution to risking death. Or worse: a crippling injury from a traffic accident!

Nevertheless, I am discomfited by the experience.

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