Saturday, February 11, 2006

Screaming Sirens, Flashing Lights

Not thirty minutes after my last posting a policeman called me to say he’d been by to check out the bike. My, things have changed since last time I called the police, which was in about 1987 when four drunken boys were clanging up the fire escape of my four storey apartment building, irate because I’d dumped a bucket of water on their heads for making so much racket so late at night. Fortunately, by the time they got to my window they forgot what they were doing and continued on to the roof, where they partied on for three hours, lowering themselves back down well before the police got around to answering my call, four hours later. Next time that happens, I’ll know to tell the police there’s an abandoned bike on my fire escape.

The officer said he’d spent twenty minutes on the phone trying to track down a solution. “Yep, that’s an abandoned bike, alright.” He said if somebody just cut the lock and removed the bike, probably no one would notice. He called the City of Portland Transportation Bureau and talked to somebody named Goode Freed (he was unsure of the spelling). As for the serial number, he said that didn’t help a lot with these cheap bikes, which he says are often given one number per hundred or so. That’s something I didn’t know. He said now that reported the bike to the city, maybe someone will come remove it. If not, maybe the phone company will take an interest in getting the bike off their pole. Of course I’m not about to pursue that option, since I want the pole for my own bike.

(I didn’t tell him that I’d already reported it to the city and all I got was condolences for the bike’s owner and the promise of a bike rack installation that hasn’t materialized.)

Had I known that my police call was going to produce such speedy results, I would have climbed out to talk to him in person. Little did I know that as I was toiling away in my laboratory he was just a few walls, a tunnel, a maze of pipes and a pile of dirt away, inspecting the poor nag. I emerged from the building a few minutes later to find the bike reared up on its front end in an angry whinny of protest at the indignity of the ordeal.


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