At 5:29 this morning I awoke to the sound of two successive bangs. I regularly sleep through street noise, car alarms and the whirl of Medevac helicopters landing on a nearby hospital roof. But apparently my unconscious perceived this sound to be closer and "not right." I was alerted awake.
I ran downstairs. Sure enough, the backyard motion-detectable floodlight was on, and the door to my garage open. I switched on a second flood light and saw a man peering up toward me. My door's deadbolt was locked from the inside so I turned and raced to get the key to unlock it. By the time I returned, he was pushing my bicycle down the gangway at the side of my garage to the alley. Feeling safe enough at my distance in the house, I opened the door and bellowed as loud as I could from the depth of my diaphragm: "Leave my bike!"
Startled, he jumped on it, and the heavy, 50-ish man pedaled off...on my hot-pink women's bike.
The 911 operator said the police would look for him straightaway and took my detailed description. Officer Morris arrived 13 minutes later and spent five minutes slowly writing my description: Male, 6'1", medium-to-heavy build, dark-complected, receding hairline with short black hair, dark gray short-sleeved tee and dark pants.
The officer then drove away, returning 15 minutes later, saying the offender was not to be found. "You mean to say you went to look for him now?" I asked politely (but feeling incredulous). "Oh, he had to be two miles out before you went looking--he'd sprinted down the alley when I hollered at him, a good ten minutes before you arrived." I was a bit frustrated that the officers didn't look before coming to my house--as the 911 operator said.
Sad about losing my bicycle: on which I logged thousands upon thousands of miles (documented in my Excel file aptly titled "Bicycling") traveling to and from work--my bond-brokering job in the Loop in the 90s, and just high-tailing it up and down Chicago's lakefront for years and years, from Hollywood Street to the South Shore Cultural-Center and back home.
I'm out an expensive lock and other primped-out accessories; will have to repair the lock on the gate to the back of my property as well as the busted garage door lock, frame and garage wall siding.
The trouble with possessions is that sometimes you have to let go of them.
I, of course, have been musing on this guy for two hours now. I wonder if my words reverberated in my burglar's mind's ear: Leave my bike! I wondered what his mama would think of him now. I wondered if the economy weren't so wrecked, if he'd not have turned to thievery. I wondered if, as a Black man in not-so-post-racial America, he never much had a chance at securing and developing a career to earn livable wages. I wish I had a chance to see him (somehow safely) eye-to-eye today, and ask, "Do you really mean to damage my gate, door, locks and rob me of my beloved bicycle. Is that what you really want to do?"