for The Tech, following a recent rash of stolen bicycles on campus

Dear John,

I’ve met a man. A big, strong man who came to me in the night. He’s a mysterious man who works quickly and secretively. It’s exciting – intoxicating. He cut the chains that bound me. He showed me what it is to be free.

I’m tired of being used, driven directions I don’t want to go, locked up all day, noticed only when something’s gone wrong. Although I squeak my discontent every day, and let out a tired groan when you mount me, you never cared. My complaints are, at best, annoyances you no longer have time for.

Do you remember our joy? When I was young and fast we shot together down roads, the wind screaming at us, astonished by our speed. We listened to ourselves purr. You tucked in close and leaned into every curve. What I realize now is we were so busy flying we never understood we were going downhill.

The man, the new one, pays attention to me. He could have had whoever he wanted. The grounds are ripe for picking, but he chose me. Aging. Not so pretty any more. Not shining gaudily in the bright sun. But still I have enough to attract at least one pair of eyes around here. Not that you ever noticed.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just spinning and spinning and spinning. But winding up back at the same old places. I try to find solitude in the companionship of those other neglected souls chained up like me, but that is no way to live.

Every few months we said we’d start again. I’d get totally pumped up. But the pressure is too high. I don’t think I can hold it all in and you never even notice. You never say a word to me, unless it’s a curse. My enthusiasm goes flat, and soon I’m completely deflated again.

He lifted me up, that new man. When I was in his arms I rose high up, above all the others. I was looking down on them and felt their jealousy. He began to ride me. We rolled off together towards a new beginning

Oh sure, John, it wasn’t all bad. We had some good screws, you and I. It may have been the only thing holding me together. But you never took the time to lube me up. That hurt (on the inside.)

Honestly, I don’t know if you ever truly loved me. For your sake I hope not, because now I am gone.

Regretfully Yours,

A Caltech Bicycle


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