$5, 5 Years, and 5,000 Miles

Lavender tassels graced the handlebars of my ancient Trek hybrid bicycle for the last five years.  Studley picked them up on a whim, and presented them to me as part of a birthday present, thinking they would be a fine addition to my goofy-assed ride.

And they were perfect.  A reminder that it is dangerous to take oneself too seriously.  For me, and those i have encountered as i become increasingly visible as a cycling advocate in my little corner of Earth.

Conversation starters at monthly community rides, those cheap plastic streamers were my small means of making bicycling accessible to those who were intimidated by the spandex-clad racing crowd.

My constant cycling companions, the little purple streamers would sometimes wrap around my wrists when we’d encounter a tough headwind.  Caressing me, as if to say “There, there, darlin’… Every little thing, gonna be alright!”

me and my tassels

We had just finished a tasty breakfast at a favorite summer haunt, and were returning to the bike rack when i noticed something wrong.

daisyfae:  What the fuck?  Do you see it?

Studley:  What?

daisyfae:  Do you see it?  My bike?  DO YOU SEE IT?

Studley:  Yeah.  What?  The tassels…. SHIT!

daisyfae:  They’re gone!  Someone took them… SOMEONE STOLE MY TASSELS!

fuck you

Gone.  In the hour that it took for us to grab lunch, someone passing apparently decided that the tassels no longer belonged on my bicycle, and removed them.  Five dollars worth of plastic that simply could not be ignored.  Not the bike computer.  Not my crazy frame-based lighting peripherals. Not the tool kit in the trunk. My god damned tassels.

Over the course of the past five years, and five thousand miles, i have left that bike all over this fair city.  Chained to bike racks, in “bad” neighborhoods.  Attached to the car late at night.  The tassels have been ignored.  Until this day…

Seeing my de-tasseled bicycle, i was over-powered by a disproportionate degree of rage.  Who would do this?  Why would someone do this?  Would the thief love the tassels, or simply play with them for a moment and discard them?

Hitting the trail and heading home, i was overcome by tears and anger.  i gave into the beast and hammered the ride home…

Studley:  I know you’re pissed — go on, i’ll catch up at some point.  Besides, I’ve got the keys to the car!  You’ll have to wait!


Eventually i succumbed to the heat and exhaustion and slowed down.  Still angry, bewildered, and in no small way heartbroken.  Caught myself looking along the path for a glimpse of my beloved flair – possibly toyed with and discarded.

Allowing myself to be consumed by anger only for the ride home, i had decided that there would be new tassels.  i made plans for a stop at the discount store on my way out for the evening.

Howling with indignation as we completed the ride…

You can steal my tassels, but you shall NOT quench my whimsy, you thieving motherfucker!

57 thoughts on “$5, 5 Years, and 5,000 Miles

  1. Know the feeling. The week The Boyo died somebody stole my crummy, falling apart backpack off my wheelchair. It had my tablet in it, an Amtrak ticket with one more ride to Bellingham, and a skein of expensive Merino-silk yarn. Everything else had been replaced, except the yarn. My favorite color, too, dammit. Hope you get some good, new tassels, in some shocking color.

    • Holy crap. Insult to injury. Maybe it’s just easier for us to focus on the smaller atrocities… and realize that if we can’t get our brains around the little stuff, then we have no hope of getting our minds through the big ones. The tassels are replaced – but it’s not the same. i’m on the prowl for an identical pair – because that’s the bigger “Fuck You!” to the thief…

  2. I’ve been down that trail, howling like a spoiled brat and not caring one jot. And some time later I came to realise that the howling, the indignation,the fury…all balled into something necessary and important. It grounded me. (And I’d still feel like decking the thieving sonofabitch if I caught him!)

    • i’ve shaken it off – mostly. spending far too much brain-space trying to figure out the psychological profile of the ‘perp’. best i’ve come up with? spoiled suburban teenaged girl, in the little hippie village where we had lunch to smoke some weed with her entitled pals… saw the tassels, decided to be cool and swipe them in front of her friends. i hope that someday she has a complete meltdown in very expensive therapy – feeling like the worst, most vile human being EVER for trying to steal my joy…

  3. Most of my stuff is “just stuff.” However, I do have a bunch of worthless stuff that is invaluable.

    The last Vanilla Coke…my PhD lab mates scoured all of Cambridge to give it to me for my birthday, It’s poised on a shelf in its place of honor in my livingroom. (Vanilla Coke has since been reintroduced, but this was a really awesome gift then.

    My battered Nike shoes with the glow-in-the-dark lace on the left foot….when I put it in, I thought I would soon have to put aside frivolity and grow up–HA! Didn’t have to!

    Lavender tassels…priceless.

    • i was kinda addicted to that stuff too… sounds like it got you through grad school! here’s a secret — did you kinow that you can add vanilla extract to coke and it tastes almost the same? another secret? add vodka to vanilla coke and it’ll get you drunk! i’m just a fountain of knowledge tonight, ain’t i?

      i have no jewels. no expensive artwork. no fancy watches. but i might cut a stranger over a clipping from a newspaper, or the Fischer-Price Circus that i played with as a little critter… or a cheap bit of plastic that rode around with me on the bike for a few years… that worthless stuff is gold.

  4. I so hope that some one cuts that oxygen thief’s supply off. Painful hemmorhoids to him/her.
    Can you tell that I too have been there? Grieved and angered over the loss of a financially valueless trinket with symbolism and emotional value that makes the Mona Lisa look like a cheap trinket.

    • Pretty clear that this isn’t uncommon… i wish i could be more evolved and let go of ‘stuff’ – even small stuff with purely emotional value. But not in this lifetime!

    • Suspect it was more selfish than mean or vindictive. But i’ll never know… we did suspect everyone we passed on the ride home, and it was harder to smile and say ‘hi’ to other riders.

      i like that pic too, despite the giant ass and dimpled thighs, that part of the regional bike trail is one of my favorite sections…

  5. HUman nature is undefinable. I still remember when my beach bag was stolen. All it had in it was grungy old sneakers and my retainers. Loss of those at that time meant that 7 years down the road I got to pay for expensive orthodontia… Nothing in that bag did the thief one whit of good.

    glad you shook it off. It is interesting to me that they took the whimsy and not the more expensive accoutrements of riding.

    • i haven’t been robbed of anything of substantial value before, but i can almost understand that a little better – someone wants/needs something they can’t afford, or want to sell. those tiny atrocities, though. make no sense…

      can’t say i’m entirely over it. i’m not that evolved…

  6. some places do have video cameras…I’ve been amazed and delighted at how some folks have been able to find thieves and other evil-doers. [remember the suburbanite whose neighbors were throwing things into their yard and sticking chewing gum on their fence?!]

    • interesting idea — i suppose i could call the police in the small, hippie village where it happened and see if they do have surveillance on that particlar bike rack. i sort of doubt it, though. hippies are notoriously anti-surveillance camera….

  7. Yay! That’s the spirit! Don’t give up on whimsy! Did you get some new tassels yet?
    I think your lavender-coloured tassels disappeared so you would go and get some new ones. And who knows what delights might be in store … maybe even better tassels! Maybe with glitter! 🙂

  8. Now that, is truly pathetic. To steal a pair of tassels from a bike is about as low as you can possibly go. It’s almost as bad as someone stealing an autorgraphed origami duck off of someone’s window sill (was my daughter’s and it happened at my job).

    • hi, G.B. Thanks for stopping by! Stealing the origami duck was obviously sheer jealousy – and was terribly rude! And at work? Worst part of that theft is knowing that the thief is someone that you likely encounter every day! i’d have put up a notice offering a reward for information leading to the identification of the thief…

  9. How DARE they!!! I hope this heinous crime is published nationwide that the FBI pour all there resources into it and that the perpetrators are brought to justice soon. Outrageous!

    • i know! right? oh, yeah… i might have over-reacted just a tiny bit. the rage is mellowing, but i still shake my head a bit. the new tassels are in place, and i find myself wondering if the thief will be using the old ones – or has just tossed them away…

  10. The things people take are so weird. I’m sorry this happened to you, how maddening!

    Also, I can’t get an email to you for some reason so I just want you to know I”m thinking of you in overtime these weeks. Lots of changes coming your way, and they aren’t very easy ones to take I’m sure. Love to you from me.

    • You’ve been through a far more barbaric theft — so i’ll just quit whining about this one and move on! Thanks for the good thoughts – just sent an e-mail. Not yet ready to pull together my thoughts on the big change ahead – but it’ll happen whether i’m ready or not! Thanks again!

  11. If a girl’s going to go through some big changes, she needs her tassels.

    I only hope that the thief becomes as attatched to them as you were, and hasn’t simply discarded them already.

    • For what lies ahead, i simply need to keep moving fast – and the tassels are necessary to track my speed! Agree that the violation somehow becomes less egregious if the thief swiped them because of a compelling tassel lust – and is making sweet, sweet, plastic love to them as i type this…

  12. The Fuckin Bastards! I echoed that rage when someone broke my car antenna to take a Disney figure of Goofy hanging on for dear life. BTW, are you now bicycling with your ‘multi-use’ tassels?

    • Broke an antenna for a plastic toy? That’s beyond Goofy! Grrrr…. i’m riding with new tassels, but i don’t like them as much. Will keep looking for a replacement set… one can never have too many, you know!

  13. Awfie wee robbing bastards, let’s hope that karma revisits them and your tassels end up choking them cold and dangling free from their rotten ring-pieces.

    Great ass by the way, perhaps I can take your mind of things with a long slow back rub under a warm shower? We could play hide the loofer, hunt the soap and my own favourite version of underwater diving.

    • Would make a great sci-fi bit, wouldn’t it? “Revenge of the Lavendar Tassels”…

      So you like a hefty backside? Not for the lightweight gents, that’s for sure! i will take you up on that offer of a shower… and you better bring a snorkel…

  14. You feel violated, don’t you? That’s how I felt last Christmas when someone broke into a storage unit we’d rented prior to moving to our new house. They made off with the bags that had all my Christmas ornaments and decorations—things my kids had made 40 years ago, old “Shiny Brite” ornaments my (now deceased) in-laws had given me and just generally stuff that had held intense sentimental value for me that can’t be replaced. They’d ripped open the bags first and left one that just had the outside lights for the house, so they knew what they were taking. My son-in-law is a police officer and he said they were probably looking for anything they could sell for drug money. I know most of it was tossed aside somewhere. I could get all new ornaments, but like your bike tassels that have been with you throughout all your adventures, it isn’t the same. My sympathies, dearie.

    • Hello TTTP–just to chime in here—that’s a terrible act of theft and I’m very sorry on your behalf. And I don’t really understand how much old homemade decorations are going to fetch if exchanged for money to buy meth or coke or something. It’s just very puzzling what some people will steal, almost out of idle curiosity, without the slightest thought for the way that the sentiment and emotional cost to the person robbed far exceeds any monetary value.

      I’ve got an ancient artificial tree and decorations that we made that date from even before my children were born and I’d be utterly upset if someone did that to me. My commiserations.

      • Thank you! I appreciate your comment, 1looby. I have some photos I took of our Christmas tree a couple of years ago, so I can still look back at those even if I don’t have the real thing. There were a few old glass ornaments that belonged to my mother (who, ironically, died just before Christmas) that the thieves probably could sell to someone, but it was losing the silly kid-made ones that hit me the hardest. (My “kids” are 47 and 41.) What is the value of a bell made out of a Styrofoam cup and a painted paper Santa with a cotton ball beard? Priceless.

    • That is BEYOND DESPICABLE! i can’t imagine that sort of thinking… and i would be horrified as well. Makes my stupid tassel theft pale in comparison. i’d be devastated. Bastards… It may sound like a dumb idea, but perhaps at the next family gathering you can get your adult children to sit down at a craft table and spend a little time with the glitter and paste. Not that they would ever be the same, but sort of symbolically taking it back from the thievin’ bastards… Grrr…

      • Hi daisyfae—I didn’t intend to hijack your post like this, but I felt a kindred connection to the outrage you experienced at having something stolen that had real meaning for you. I like your suggestion about the craft table. 🙂 My daughter did surprise me with a bag full of ornaments that I’d given her when I downsized our Christmas tree to a small artificial one years ago. It was very sweet and thoughtful of her. I’m still undecided whether or not I’ll get a new tree this year. In the meantime, I’m thinking of going whole hog on Halloween. There’s a six-foot outdoor spider I’ve got my eye on…

        • You didn’t hijack at all, Sister! i would have been absolutely devastated by such a theft – and you’ve reminded me (again) that i need to can the damn whining sometimes! Your daughter is a gem for that sweet gift – and i also love the idea of claiming halloween! A pretty good holiday when you get to wear costumes and eat candy!

    • while i am happy to have streamers on the handle bars, i find myself thinking of the lost streamers. clearly, i am in need of therapy… why do i waste any of my brain space on cheap plastic tassels?

  15. I try to imagine that it was a stripper down on her luck, or someone else with a more dire need than yours. Because if I allow myself to think it’s asshole kids who ripped them off for shits and giggles and threw them in the creek, I might kill somebody. Whoever it is, they should stand in awe of your whimsy.

    • hadn’t thought of the ‘stripper’ angle — but i like it. somehow it helps to think that they were stolen out of need, rather than entitlement… but i doubt it. a couple of weeks later and i’m still gently tormented by the thought of the old tassels being discarded after being toyed with for a brief moment of entertainment.

      i probably need medication….

  16. I have a theory. Many, many years ago, before your time, most people hated long hair on men. They thought it was sinful. I’m thinking some old, old, old person came along and got confused…

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