and another bike bites the dust

My bike was stolen today. Along with the basket, bike chain and child seat. What most bothers me, other than having lost my primary means of transport, is that they came inside the building to take it. Someone from one of the offices downstairs left the main door conveniently propped open for the thief to come right in and take it.

I hadn’t seen the door propped open in months, probably because as soon as I moved in I started nagging everyone to PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR! You might think I’m annoying and uptight, and you would probably be correct, but I seem to have things taken from me fairly frequently: since we moved to this town I’ve had three bikes stolen and been burglarized once. So could we please not leave the main door WIDE open? I honestly do not think it is too much to ask. Especially with the multitudes of misguided strangers who seem to have confused our entrance for a smokers’ lounge.

True story: this afternoon, when I returned home from school, on foot, sadly, as my bike had already been stolen, there was a man in the entrance about to light a huge hand-rolled … we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and call it a cigarette.

Buongiorno,” I said to him. “You may have noticed that this is not a smoking lounge. This is the entrance to a building. I realize that it is convenient place for you to smoke, but all day long people come here to smoke and the smoke goes in through that window over there and it fills the stairway and it is so terribly unpleasant. Please go somewhere else.”

He took it out of his mouth and shouted, “But it’s tobacco! TOBACCO! TO-BAC-CO!!” as he pointed at the unusually large and cone-shaped, hand-rolled cigarette.

I tried not to laugh.

“That’s fine. I don’t care what it is. Just don’t do it here.”

“Where are you from?”

“Where am I from? Are you serious? I live here and I am asking you to please go somewhere else to smoke your TOBACCO.”

After that he left.

Another time – true story! – I was leaving the building and as I go through the door I almost bump into a typical older Italian couple, dressed up in their fancy Sunday clothes the way typical older Italian couples do when they go “into town”. The man was snooping around the entrance, peering inside the building, while the woman had lifted her glasses up to her forehead so she could get a better look at the names on the buzzers.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“No,” the woman said, “We’re just having a look around.”

Oh, yes. Of course you are.

“Are you looking for anyone in particular?” I asked.

“No,” the woman said, “We are just nosing about.”

Well then, that explains everything. Carry on!

I’m not accusing any of these people of stealing my bike, but I do wish we could keep the door closed so my next one won’t be stolen. And so we won’t soon be finding cigarette butts inside the building, rather than just covering the ground outside the door, and the fancy couple snug in my bed, having found it just right, after trying out the other two.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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6 Responses to and another bike bites the dust

  1. Gil says:

    So sorry to hear about all of this abuse! You couldn’t make this up if you stayed awake for days thinking it up!

  2. meredith says:

    Sorry about your bike…again 😦

  3. k_sam says:

    THREE bikes stolen? That is crazy! Who steals a bike with a child’s seat and a basket on it??

  4. Mauryn says:

    Jeez, that’s annoying. Is there any way you could chain lock your (future) bike to something? Or attach a polite little sign to the door reminding people to CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR!?

  5. Michele J says:

    Ah shitsticks. If it makes you feel any better, I’m on my 4th bike in Germany. Any chance of your renter’s insurance covering at least part of it? Ours did, but you may have a hard time if the bike was not physically locked to something in the stairwell. Keep your eyes peeled around town, maybe you’ll run across it again.

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