There was a report on the news this morning about people breaking into SUV’s, stealing the back row of seats, and re-selling them on the internet for up to $1000 a set. Since the seats typically don’t have any identifying numbers or marks on them, it’s rare that folks are reunited with their original seats – there’s no way to prove it to the police, even if the police recover the seats from the thieves before they hit the internet. This story comes on the tail of my own story of theft – my bike seat was taken yesterday, during daylight hours, while the bike was parked on a highly trafficked corner. This has led me to two equally disturbing questions:
- What jerk steals just a bike seat? I mean, really? When my old seat wore out (and that one was really nice and comfortable, and never got stolen), I literally went into the bike store and said, “I need the cheapest saddle you have that will get me from point A to B.” So some crook out there has stolen a really crappy seat, just to make my life more annoying.
- On a very busy sidewalk, in the daytime, how can someone steal a seat without someone noticing? And why are people so afraid of saying something when they see something weird like that?
To speak to the second point I’ll mention that I was driving early this morning and experienced some of the most startling examples of road rage and ridiculousness that I have seen in a long while. Tailgating, weaving, skidding to a stop… Last night I was stopped several cars back from a stop sign. There was a lot of cross traffic and it was taking a while to get through. A big boxy blue Ion squeezed past me and the other cars on the left, on what was definitively a one-lane road, blew the stop sign, skidded around the corner to the left, jerked to a halt, and then – the most amazing part – the back door opened and a little girl got out. THAT WAS SOME PARENT DROPPING THEIR KID OFF!! And then this morning, a cautious driver from out of town having trouble navigating the city bus ahead, tailgated and honked at repeatedly by a big white truck. “Calm down, friend,” I said to the air. “We’re all going to work. You can wait a moment for the bus.” When I had a chance to catch up to him, after the out-of-stater turned and the bus went ahead, I honked at him – my attempt at saying something – but he was indifferent.
Now I know a bunch of folks will just say, “well, the driving is just Massachusetts,” and “the stealing is just what happens in the city.” But why does it have to be that way? What if we all stood up for the kind of life we wanted? What if we DID say something if we saw something? Worker’s unions do it when they band together to change working conditions. Why can’t normal people do it to improve social conditions? Would a thief feel any sense of guilt if while they were wrenching a bike seat off someone came up and said, “hey, what are you doing? I think you should stop that.”
I’m going to try it anyway.