Friday, 20 June 2014

'Equivalent Exchange'

Yesterday was quite the crappy day. I had just one day to study for an exam [not my fault, I wasn't procrastinating... oh wait I was]. As I went outside to get on my bike, to study on the campus, I noticed my bike had vanished into thin air. Gone, nowhere to be found. I noticed an empty spot in the hedge where I used to put my bike, incidentally the closest to the road. I did have it locked but the thief or thieves probably dragged it away: lifting the back wheel just a centimeter from the ground would've been enough to walk around with it. And I thought I lived in a safe neighbourhood.

It was the day before the exam, and I had barely studied. I had to get to the campus somehow, since that's the only place where I'm really motivated to study [because what else is there to do on campus besides picking one's nose?]. Luckily I had a spare bicycle, as all true Dutchmen do. But here's the thing: I used to have a spare bike as good as a new one, complete with brakes and lights. But just last Sunday I swapped it with my brother's old an crappy one, you know, because "I never use my spare bike anyway" I mentioned. So now I had to go to campus on this crappy old bike without lights and barely any brakes. Note: by 'barely' I mean, I would come to a standstill quicker by praying than by actually using the damn brake!

Halfway on my route to campus I nearly killed a pigeon. I've seen quite a few pigeons in the city, and they usually fly away when you get close. Well, I know they do when you want to get close. This pigeon that was sitting in the middle of my cycling lane must've been able to read my mind, because I really did not want to get close to this mo'fo'. I couldn't avoid this lazy mo'fo' pigeon either, because cycling lanes are usually pretty damn narrow. It only just flew away in time: it was a matter of milliseconds before I'd hit that mo'fo' and I couldn't even care less about the creature but I absolutely didn't want to break my spare bike too. Turns out, I could just as well have hit that lazy ass pigeon since a couple of meters later the only brake the bike kinda had broke down out of nothingness [seriously Fate, is this how you're going to break my bike anyway? Couldn't you have come up with something a little more creative than a 'sudden breakdown'..?]. So I had to walk the last part of the route to campus. I might be crazy, but I'm not "ooh let me just ride my bike through the crowd without any brakes at all"-crazy.

Surprisingly, I actually made it to campus a little later. I was expecting a meteorite to pierce my head right as I was nearing the campus, but I guess I had built up plenty of karma now [speaking of which, wouldn't you say karma is an awful lot like the idea of Equivalent Exchange?]. That isn't to say that I was actually motivated to study, that afternoon. I had to check 'Marktplaats' for second-hand bikes hoping that mine would pop up, but that was to no avail. Then I was planning how to get back home with a broken bike, but the only solution I could come up with was to fix the bike or walk back home [why oh whyyy do I have to live on the other side of the city]. In the end I managed to study a little, and apparently fixing the bike's brake was as simple as shoving a cylindric end of a cable back into a hole [... that's what she said?].

When I made it home on this crappy bike, I had to find a cheap second-hand bike as quickly as possible to replace my stolen one. My brother helped me find one that was cheap and nearby, so I decided to check this bike out. The thing is, the owner asked €25 for the bike but I didn't have any €5 bills. The only nearby ATM was inside a supermarket, but by the time I realised it was 5 minutes before closing time [ohaidere drama, haven't seen you in a while - oh wait I have WHEN MY FRIGGIN BIKE WAS STOLEN and I NEARLY KILLED A PIGEON and MY SPARE BIKE'S BRAKES BROKE] [I'm coming up with tongue twisters like there's no tomorrow]. So I ran to the store and got there just in time. But guess what: the ATM couldn't dispense €5 bills - only a multiple of €20 ones [fffffuuuuuu]. Then I remembered, "couldn't people ask for extra money when they pay for their groceries using a card?". I quickly grabbed a can of energy drink just to have something to pay for, but it turned out they couldn't give me €5 bills either this late. "That'll be 40 cents", the cashier added politely. What do I have now? No money, no time and a can of energy drink that I didn't even want in the first place!

Things usually work out in some way or another. The cashier told me I could go to a different counter where they would be able to hand me a €5 bill. In the meantime the guy selling the bike had apparently sent me an email if I was still going to look at his bike. I was planning on going straight to him now, but I had a now empty can and no trash bins in the vicinity. I'm not careless about the environment, so I decided to head back home anyway just to throw the can away to then finally go to the bike. But just as I got there [it's always the same]... I got a text from my dad. He sent me an image, followed by a message: "How do you like your new bike? I just bought it for you!".

Time for a reality check again. I just got a new bike apparently, and I have €25 cash in my pockets. Do I really still need to buy that cheap, crappy second-hand one? I guess not then. So I cancelled the meeting. I know what you're thinking though: "everything turned out perfectly in the end, except that he now has an extra €25 in his pocket". Well guess what - my dad was looking for repair parts for one of his own bikes for a while now and he had found a very similar bike to his in Groningen just today. For €25. And I was the only one still at Groningen able to buy it for him.

So yes, really everything turned out perfectly in the end.


lol jk just read the damn thing

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