Otis, top right, in his more active days
At approximately 1:42pm, en route to a Hot Docs screening, my bike — affectionately named Otis — screeched a final “ca-chunk” and refused to transport me anywhere past Spadina and Sullivan.
Of course, I’m being a little melodramatic here. I’m sure if I had actually gotten it repaired and tuned up two years ago, it wouldn’t have come to this sad end so early. But honestly, I didn’t have the stomach to shell out more money to repair the damn thing than it cost to ride away on ($55). I mean, seriously. Would you?
In my heart, I knew this end would happen, and I knew it would happen this year. The battle wounds began early, almost as soon as I rode it off the lot. First came the brake cables, then the ill-functioning gears, then the front wheel. The back wheel burst ceremoniously after a trek down to the Leslie Spit, and the brake pads started crumbling soonafter. It soon evolved into its current tattered mess, its old beauty hidden behind various textures of duct tape.
But I have to say these quirks have made me love it more. Ever since I was a child I had a hard time owning nice things. The nicer things I had, the more upset I would become when they were gone. Take, for example, my beautiful Apricot Strawberry Shortcake doll and my brightly coloured Mickey Mouse towel that I left in the Simcoe Swimming Pool locker room. The latter, in fact, still pains me to this day.
These blatant flaws gave me firm confidence that no one would take Otis away from me. I knew I would adapt to love him, despite his quirks. He was mine. All mine.
He’s dead, and I’m… well, I’m kind of sad. And it’s made me realize that it doesn’t matter how beautiful or how ugly it is: my heart still breaks when I have to let go and move on.
And now that this new bike chapter is nigh, I’m realizing that I have to be a little more discriminate, find something I am truly in love with rather than taking whatever cheap thing that rolls my way. I want to invest in something a little more reliable, nurture it, take it in for a tune-up once in a while, make it last.
Hmm. Sounds oddly like my perspective on relationships. Slowly but surely, methinks I am growing up.
New, beautiful bike: here I come.
(After thought: Heck, who am I kidding! I am clearly a cheapskate, and any prices above $100 makes me choke. Garage sale, here I come.)