Twas the night of the monday before christmas, and I was making my way home from Amsterdam, where I saw a quite awesome performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummernight’s Dream by Het Nationaal Toneel. Unfortunately for me, the train—a so-called Sprinter, which is ironically the slowest kind of train we got in The Netherlands—was invaded by a kindergarten’s worth of annoying and obnoxiously loud adolescents just before departure. Finally, an hour later, I arrived at Amersfoort Central Station. That’s when the fun started.
Twas the still of the night of the monday before christmas, and the clocks were striking one. I made my way to where I parked my bike that morning, and it’s not there. So I started looking for it. I looked here, I looked there, I looked every damn where, but crapdammit, it’s gone. Either the people who are responsible for removing wrongly parked bikes and the wrecks of their abandoned kinsmen got a little overzealous and took it, or somebody else did. Illegally. Like a thief in the night, so to speak. Either way: it’s now quarter past one, wet slush is falling from the sky, the streets are slippery and I have to walk twenty to thirty minutes to get home because my bike’s gone. Joy to the world, and good will towards men, and all that.
So, what-d’ya-do? For the next few days I improvised to and from the station. And then I thought I might as well pay De Opstap—the department of legal bike removal, if you will—a visit. Because, you know, if my bike isn’t stolen, it might just be there. And if it isn’t, they sell the bikes that aren’t claimed by their owners. Problem solved either way.
As it turns out, De Opstap is open from monday to friday when I’m at work, and between 10 and 12 am on saturdays. So last friday I tried to call ’em to see if they would be open the next day, it being the day before christmas and all. Guess what? No one took my call. So I slept in on saturday. Today, on what some people tend to call Derde Kerstdag, I happened to have a day off, so I tried calling them again. Because, you know, it’s between christmas and new year and they might just be closed. Nothing. But seeing that I had to arrange a bike sooner rather than later, I went there anyway.
Now, imagine a stretched out industrial park. Imagine the remotest corner of that industrial park. Then imagine that there’s just two buses coming anywhere near that remote, desolate corner. Yep. That’s indeed the most logical place to send people who currently, for whatever reason, don’t have a bike at their disposal. And that’s where I ended up this afternoon. Only to find that, big surprise, they were closed. For three weeks. See ya in january, y’all.
Crapdammit it all to hell.
How difficult can it be to set up an answering machine with a simple message saying,
Hey, don’t bother stopping by, we’re closed.? You know what’s even easier? Put it on your website. Along with other useful bits of information, like
yes, we sell bikes, and you should bring cash cause we don’t take plastic. But they don’t even have a website. Which, in the year of our lord 2011, is a pretty big #EPICFAIL with a side of failsauce.
Having wasted enough time already, I walked all the way to a bus top, waited, thought of some nice things to say about this total cluster-fuck, failed miserably, waited some more and got on a bus to the station. Once I got there, I decided to have one more quick look for my bike before hitting up some bike shops on the way home to see if they got some acceptable second hand bikes.
And lo, and behold, for verily, I sayeth unto thee: and so it came to pass that, look, there, not quite in a ray of light that shone down from the heavens, without an host of angels thundering a deep and booming tadhaaaaaahhhhhh and most certainly absolutely nowhere near the place where I left it a week ago, there stood my bike, in all it’s undersized and beat up glory.
It’s a freakin’ miracle.