I dont have a lot of faith in the world as it is at the moment, so something as small ish as a personal theft throws me like a lifestage breakdown. I fell against the churchyard railings, crumpled under stinging eyes and disbeleif, crying wildly like May 2009 on the kitchen floor. Passersby passed by and I realised how we don't really care about each other. Was it instinctive to feel this bad about being robbed of what was mine, or was it more instinctive in fact to hunt and procure goods to further oneself. In short, was I the more intelligent one here, or were they?
I walked out of Waitrose pretty smug, with a bag full of bargains. Then, a moment of incredulity where, is this real, am I in a film, am I outside Waitrose, am I in a dream, am I in my life, are my eyes broken, there's a bit missing from my bike? Silver Thomson 27.2 by 330 (swoon) seatpost and an inherited Brooks Honey Team Pro S Saddle. Did I leave them in the supermarket next to the deli counter with the friendly boy with a lisp, no he doesn't have a freezer full of meat because they're not allowed to buy anything before the end of the day! No. I didn't take it off. I popped in for some Seville oranges and popped out with discounted meat minus £180 worth of parts.
Shit? Fuck? What the fuck? God (heavy on the 'oh')? An unfamiliar exclamation. I noticed the Big Issue seller, noticed his collection of spent d-locks, felt suspicisous towards him, having seen his Search For the Forgotten Pound amonsgt the trolleys fifteen minutes earlier. Had I not given my last pound to Street Smart in Giant Robot, I would've given it to him, I'd thought. Perhaps then he would've 'kept an eye on' my transport. I never give to charity, and apparently today I gave to totally the wrong charity, double misplaced philanthropy. Damn Steven Fry.
I calmly asked Big Issue if he saw anything, spied his teeth, we conversed but I wasn't there, he hadn't seen. I needed humanity, compassion, generosity, that list. A guy with stripes and a St John bag unlocked his bike, it looked worthy of a survey, how long was yours here, I asked, playing petty detective. He was warm but I wasted time. A security guard took my enquiry as a woman on her way out confessed to seeing two guys with my goods walking That Way five minutes ago. A Hunt. I hoiked the heavy meat into my back, damning its misbalance, clipped in and tried not to topple backwards. Two rib steaks, two plaice fillets, oranges, apples and a whole duck (with giblets). Fucking meat. No longer winnings but a weighty reminder of loss.
Now, fixed, no saddle, plus meat, on ballet calves, and slight mania, equals difficult. I talked myself down as I found left foot, don't sit down, he'd said, don't sit down, I thought. I headed That Way. Then it turned into two. I took one and felt my chances halve. I shouted at strangers, amazed by my own power. Those days you really melt into a crowd? It's because you want to. The day you want to be heard they're listening before you've realised you're talking. I scanned bodies, those in twos, chose small roads, not the City, why would you go to the City if you had to steal? I got off at the graveyard, passed couples and a man, a woman with a dog. Jarred bars into bars and collapsed next to stones.
Serves me right for being a greedy middle class fucker who wants two batches of homemade organic thick cut marmalade, right? If only the woman hadn't wrestled her child into my way en route to the citrus section, perhaps I hadn't seen the half price birds? If I hadn't fondled the light, dry fruit, old objects dying in the crate, the last of the crop, wondering if I could get results from substandard ingredients (they're so fucking light! There can't be any juice in there!) If only I hadn't asked deli boy for the smaller piece of plaice, I like the light skin, not orange speckled, is it one half of the same fish? If only I'd have missed the 26day matured rib steaks, re-queued up for them behind a guy wanting 3 ribs that had to be chopped from a rack. Had I not checked the back of the chocolate packets for percentages and impurities, calculating their grams per pound, speculated on my strength for abstention when there's 400g of temptation in my baking cupboard.
I trekked my calves to Brick Lane on a fruitless mission. The carbon copies riled my anger, though it felt good to have a plain emotion for once, this equals that, rather than a boring story of why I'm this or why I'm that. You take my shit and I'm really upset actually. It's the way we get through days, making automatic decisions based on past evidences. If I do this, I'm safe, if I do that, I'm in danger. Growing up we build our morals and beliefs around us like chicken wire cages of papier mache, delicate structures we put in place to make our sense. Things once complicated become learned, and we nurture our basis of what is Good and True. My day was beautiful thus far. Why does it so often turn?
Moral implications aside, and despite involving the police, more to honor the existential role of the Waitrose security staff than anything, what makes the tears come is the attachment. Some things age and develop a patina of love, become a metaphor for time, merging with us to the point where (I am you, You are me etc etc). Money is merely figures, but miles of saddle time grow a personal history with which we exchange and merge. It's like your house being robbed, I told him, only not so bad obviously. A bike is a strange beast. If you really love it, really love it, it sits somewhere between family heirloom and blood relative. You hurt my bike, well I'd rather take a wound where red literally comes. It's like that.
I've slept on it. I'm not happy about the botched replacement, or troubling Islington police with a trifle occurrence (a hundred pounds, for a saddle, yes, sir). It doesn't 'serve me right', I'm not accepting your heartless attempt at empathy with a mirrored experience, I shalln't adjust my moral graph in totality. The images of the lost goods are burned on my brain, glowing stronger almost than their literalness. The Platonic ideal lifts them to a place they never quite touched in reality, where, after the shine wore off, these bits of machinery had become quite invisible. The replacement B17 S will be here by Friday. It's black with black rails and is going to look pretty cool, probably better. I wont replace the post, the frivolity is through. Three years is a good innings, and change is always best.