31 October, 2011
My word. It’s been a while since i’ve updated this.
Anyway, this was quite a traumatic event for me. I honestly had no idea what to do. I guess it’s how a fish feels when it’s out of the water, or whatever simile/metaphor/whatever for ‘having absolutely no idea what to do’ seems appropriate.
It was Friday, 11 October 2011. The trees then had much more leaves than they do now. It was a coldish day and there were clouds in the sky (note: this basically describes every day over the 3 months)
I had an assignment due for one of my subjects. Being the idiotic loath of a man that I am, I left the referencing till the last minute. This seems to be a constant issue among uni students. Why are we so stupid? We constantly say ‘fine, next time, I will tend to the needs of my bibliography whilst writing’ but it never happens. The entirety of my essay is usually merely foreplay before the bibliography. And as we all know, the bigger bibliography, the better. (Sexual innuendos will now cease)
So naturally it took me a while to sum up the courage, strength and libido to satisfy these academic needs. I’m not weird though. I don’t have a footnote fetish. (last one, i promise)
So – an assignment was due. I rode down to the Janskerkoff (don’t hassle the koff) to place my paper within the pigeonhole down there. Of course, I had to print out the assignment before doing any of this. I waddled over to the law library and printed my assignment from one of the computers there.
I went downstairs into the printer room. Here in the Netherlands you require one of these Chipknip things to pay for stuff. It’s basically a bank card with the chip in it. Unfortunately not any old chip off the old block will do, so you either have to use a Dutch bank card or one of these pre-paid chipknip cards from the library.
I had bought one before, but I had been using it to purchase refreshments. EVERYTHING uses these cards. Vending machines, some eating places, photocopiers, printers – the whole kit and caboodle.
Of course, being the fool I am I had just thrown the card into my bag when I last used it. So there I was, sitting on the floor amongst a couple of Dutch peeps unpacking my bag looking for this card. After about 5 minutes I found the card. I cautiously stuck my card into the machine. Took it out for dinner. Told it a funny story. I’m an old-fashioned romantic.
NOOOOOOOOOO. No money on card.
So I paced to the library to buy another card. It took me 10 minutes to find the machine, as they had hidden it around a weird corner. I actually have no idea why there is a corner there. The more I think about it, the more it doesn’t make sense, but Dutch design flaws aside, I got my card. Went upstairs and printed the assignment.
HUZZAH – crisis averted? Oh noooo. Oh no. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
Firstly, I looked at my printed assignment and freaked out for 5 minutes. Some of the pages hadn’t printed. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.
Then I realised it was printed double-sided. FML.
Next, the place where I had to submit the assignment didn’t exist. I walked along the street. I found the building. It was the correct number. But it was locked. There was some sign on the door in ancient Egyptian or Dutch or something, but unfortunately I lack the ability to read these languages. (I later realised I was at COMPLETELY the wrong building *facepalm*)
Having no idea what to do, and with time rapidly running out to submit the assignment, I decided that I would give my paper to my lecturer before the start of class. HAPPINESS. A solution.
I would have to get to the university on the double. I hadn’t had the intention of attending class that day. I wanted to nap and dine in a bucket of KFC.
I walked over to my bike. I’d locked it onto a gate near the church on the main street. It was a good place for a quick stop. I hadn’t locked it up very effectively – I only bothered to lock the front wheel to the gate because of the size of the bars there. Not to mention it was literally the focal point of the entire street. No way I could lose it there.
I went to get out the keys to my lock.
Where are they?
I’m digging through my bag. Praying to Jesus, Allah and everything in between. Cmon. Pleassseee.
I’m going through everything. Books. My Wallet. All the pockets on my bag. Absolutely everything.
Time’s running out. It was then I made a sad decision. I would leave the bike and catch a bus to uni.
I handed in my assignment, but whilst I was sitting through the lecture I couldn’t get the numerous possibilities of the bad things that would happen to my bike out of my head. I would surely have to leave it there if I couldn’t find the keys. Because of the way I had locked it, it would be incredibly easy to steal. A person only needs to remove the front wheel. Furthermore, because I had parked it at such a main point in town I would see this singular wheel every single day when I went to class. It would call for me at night in my dreams, curse me for abandoning it.
As for the rest of the bike, homeless people would do sordid things to it. Gangs would assault it and tag it as their own. It would go through a flurry of changes it hadn’t ever wanted for it or any of its brothers and sisters.
Perhaps it would find a silent, dirty resting place at the bottom of a canal. Slowly decay among the frames of its ancestors.
Knowing that this could all occur because of me was horrible. I mean, I curse my bike, but it’s MY bike. MINE.
After class I took a bus back downtown. The key must have been with me there, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to lock the bike in the first place.
I began retracing my steps until eventually I was back at the library printers in the law library. The place where I searched so desperately for my chipcard.
There, sitting on the floor, untouched, were my bike keys.
‘PAPA,’ I heard them cry in my head, ‘TAKE US WITH YOU!’
I quickly snatched them off the ground and ran outside. There was my bike. I unlocked her and rode home. By ‘home’ I mean KFC. God bless the Colonel. With KFC you can always guarantee a happy ending.
Little did I know at that stage, but darkness was approaching for my bike and I. For below a chain was spinning itself towards destruction and chaos.
All it would leave is darkness.