Here we go again.
Yet another day of scorching sun rays beaming down off my chipped paint. Burning whoever gets stuck with me in the middle of the day. Glitter faded, spokes rolling along the beaten and bruised boardwalk. But I am beaten and bruised. No one cares, no one sees what I go through.
Do you know how many times I have had ice cream drip, drip, drip and DRIP onto me. It is unimaginable the amount of times the shop owner, Greg, had to scrap off the funnel cake powder stuck to my handlebars.
An endless cycle of being dragged out of the shop day in and day out. Wiped clean of the dust and grime left over from yesterday’s customers. No amount of polish or wax can shine over my dents and scratches; battle scars still indented in my spokes and frame, seat torn from endless butts chafing against the pleather exterior of my seat.
They just ride, and ride, and ride, until there is nothing left. Only then do people care, when you are wearing down; when you can’t do what they expected of you or wanted you to do.
It was not always so bad. I was once shiny, new, inviting. I was always the first one picked, and I would have so many customers each day. Some would ask to buy me; some would keep me from sun up to sun down. I was the most rented in the county for two years running, even though that does not really matter anymore.
I remember the day it all went wrong.
It was a perfect day on August 31, 2012. I had not been rented in awhile so Greg took me out of the shack extra early to give me a bright polish; I was feeling damn good. But I just sat out in the sun all day, waiting and waiting (beat) and waiting!
It was close to sunset when a seemingly nice teenage kid rented me. I was all ready to go. He was not peddling too hard, or screeching the breaks, or spilling drinks all over me. But, then he took a sharp left turn, and before I realized what was happening we were in a back alley with kids spraying graffiti and smoking pot. It’s not like I could scream out for help; I am a bike for God’s sake.
Next thing I know we are at a convenience store, and the kid basically throws me to the ground and jumps off in one quick motion, then him and his friends go in. There is shouting and cussing.
The kids all come running out, masks over their heads with money and food in their hands. The kid who rented me tripped over my front tire, his head hitting the pavement with a crack, and he just layed there. His friends kept running.
The police officers revved in a few moments later, with an ambulance right behind him. The store owner, despite getting robbed, helped my renter and tried to stop the blood. And since I was evidence, I got stuck sitting in an old musty police garage for two weeks, before Greg came and picked me up.
I got pretty bruised from those kids riding me, and the officers weren’t exactly gentle. Greg still got me none the less; took me back to the shack and tried to do his best to fix me up enough to be displayed. Everyone still knew that I was “that bike.” It was not my fault though; I got roughed up that day, too. But no cared. No one cried for me.
Now everyday it’s the same story. There is some overweight dad or super hyper-active soccer mom peddling me extremely hard up and down the boardwalk for hours. Screeching my brakes. . .repeatedly! So many years of these dreaded days filled salt water breezes and the endless splats of seagull shit.
That’s always people’s problems. They use each other without realizing the damage they do each and every time. Just chipping, chipping and chipping pieces of me until I am rubbed raw to the frame, to the core of the metal rods that hold me together somehow.
But I am just a boardwalk bike, what do I know?