The Re-learned Stealing Lesson


In the 37 years I’ve been on this planet, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten out of bed and dressed so fast as when I heard those words from my roommate last night. One might think that being woken up by someone beating a metal trash can and blaring Welcome to the Jungle by Gun and Roses would. At mini-bootcamp that was expected.

I was not expecting it at 10:30pm last night as I had just drifted off to dreamtime.

The dynamics of my new hood are this: There’s a light rail station about a block and a half down the alley. Which has turned it into the undesignated highway for pedestrians of all sorts. For some strange reason, it is also oddly high in vehicle traffic. Pretty much all of our neighbors park behind their homes but there seems to be extra traffic. Why, I’m not quite sure yet, but my old instincts say it has to do with either stealing or dumpster diving. There’s a school right across the street, so I always hope that it keeps some of the hood traffic more behaved. On the overall, the hood isn’t the best, it is so-called “up and coming” with a mix of peeps. I think a big drug bust went down on Sunday just a few blocks from me. I heard gun shots and my roommate said there were a bunch of unmarked cars blocking off a large section of the street. Did it scare me? No. I’ve lived in similar hoods in NYC.

Which is why this is the re-learned stealing lesson.

I know better than to leave things out. I admit…I got careless. Sloppy. I trusted just a little too much.

She leads a charmed life, this one.

She leads a charmed life, this one.

I had a strange feeling yesterday when I looked at my beer bike that something was going to happen to it. Now, there were 5 bikes on the back porch. One was busted but with some really nice parts on it(not locked), a Schwinn from 1975 U-locked to a ladies Trek, a cruiser with back baskets(not locked), and the ever awesome beer bike(front tire locked to the frame). My 6th bike was in the house, the blue Azuki from the 1970’s. The beer bike has been making strange sounds so I wasn’t riding it until I could get a moment to bring it to the Denver Bicycle Cafe for some stand time.

Of course that feeling was stronger when I came home mid-day to some weirdos in the alley. Since there is alot of pedestrian traffic, I usually just take note of the person(s) and go on my biking way. But these two…there was something pretty shifty about them. Part of it was because I actually noticed them. That’s usually a good sign for me to not trust someone. The lady was maybe 5’6″, thin, strawberry blonde ratty hair, wider jaw line, maybe in her late 40s or early 50’s with the wear and tear of years of street life. The guy was harder to see since he was crouched down looking into one of grocery bags he had. He was wearing a trucker cap, was definitely shorter than the woman but not by much and had sort of a mixed ethnic look leaning to a tan complexion. My brain said they were doing something to the garage door they had stopped next to, but my eyes saw a man looking into his grocery bag and a woman waiting.  I should always listen to my brain.

I went to bed early. My roommate stayed up.

She had one light on in the living room. There was a noise of something moving/shifting. She looked for Asia (the cat) but saw her lounging on the floor. She turned her head to the kitchen window at the back of our house to see someone in our backyard fumbling with a bike. She ran for the window, slammed her hand on it, opened the back door SCREAMED at the perpetrator (who fumbled even more with the bike at the back gate), and that’s where this story began. The whole transaction was seconds.

“Do we have a bat?”

“Yeah, I think it’s in the laundry room. I think he might have left your bike in the alley. Was it locked up?”

“Front wheel to the frame.”

“Let’s go see…”

My roommate is someone you don’t screw with. I always joke that she’s strong like a small pony but she is. And when she’s pissed, you better pray she’s not pissed at you.

We go out to the alley pumped on adrenaline, bat in her able hands. I was tempted to grab my favorite kitchen knife, but I know better than to bring “a knife to a potential gun fight.” Not that I would have shanked the person, but much more of a safety blanket for walking out into the night when someone was just on my back porch. Again, I know better than that which is why I didn’t.

Let me tell you ladies, there is nothing more important in situations like this than to know you’ve taken a shit ton of self-defense classes where the instructor has a scary padded man actually attack you. If you take a class and they don’t do that, you’re getting cheated the ability to actually use your skills in real-time and that is a HUGE disservice.

It’s not easy to run with a bike on your shoulders.

The beer bike was two houses down the alley.

In my imaginative little mind, it was like picking up a downed man in a gun fight. One man to provide cover and get your back while you grab your hurt companion from a compromised position. As we walked back into our yard, my eyes were scanning every where for the enemy to jump out.

All the bikes slept inside the house last night. I slept with a knife in my hands. The baseball bat slept next to my roommate’s bedroom door. The front and back doors slept with booby traps. Not long after we had settled into our beds after this adventure, Asia starts this odd cooing. Apparently, she caught a mouse and dropped it…somewhere….

We both agree that last night was the most bizarre night we’ve had in a long time. It’s really quite unsettling that someone would come up on our back porch at 10:30pm, despite the bike stealing. I see a motion detector light on the back porch in the very near future.

**On a side note, if you live in Denver and you see the couple I described, be VERY wary. My roommate saw a very similar if not the same couple behind a previous residence of hers about a year ago when her bicycle was stolen out of her garage. Coincidence? Maybe.  But it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

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