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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Is Personal dignity Overrated?

Pure Profit or Pedaling to the Poorhouse? 
 I have been known to go to fairly extreme lengths in order to save a buck or two. Today I’d estimate that I went about two miles or so to save 1€, at least I will save that much when I make the return trip. Thus far I have only saved .50€. I haven’t really saved anything if you want to get technical; it’s more like I have made a 50 cent inroad into recovering money that I have already spent. I need to make 79 more round trips (plus my return trip today) to the library in order to break even on my investment.

I’m talking about the new clown/folding bike that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I picked it up because I don’t like leaving my nice cycle-cross bike locked up around town for any length of time, like the hours I spend in the library almost every weekday. It costs me about 1€ on the metro for a round trip to the library so 80 trips will pay for the clown bike. After that it’s just pure profit—assuming that I live through 79.5 more of these urban safaris on the world’s most awkward two-wheeler. I've never ridden an ostrich with one leg longer than the other, but after this bike I think that I know what that must be like.

Today I was so exhausted from the effort necessary to keep this unruly little machine in a straight line that I had to stop midway for a coffee break at a nice little café near the Torres de Serrano. The coffee cost 1€ so I think that means that I am down .50€ so far, but I’ll break even again on the way home. I already feel like I am a slave to this pipsqueak of a bike. Maybe someone will do me a favor and steal it although this would mean that I'd have to walk back and forth to the library for however many days are still needed to pay the balance.

I also figured that I could ride this downtown at night when I go out because the metro doesn’t go into the old section of the city. After test riding it I imagine that after a few drinks it would be safer for me to drive a school bus full of screaming kids than try to keep the rubber on the pavement on this little terror. I never realized that saving money could be this perilous.

No one else seems to notice me because folding bikes are very common here, but I still feel like a dork riding this thing. My self-esteem would probably improve if I were to get rid of this joke in order to ride a Big Wheel to the library in the morning. Can you put a price tag on personal dignity, and if so, do you think that I could have held out for more than the 80€ this bike put me back? Maybe I’ll just go with it and buy a red nose and an orange wig. I can make balloon animals as I try to keep from getting run over by buses and mopeds. Available for birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs.

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