And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
1 Cor. 12:26
I found this letter on the ground outside our door this morning.
You and I have been acquaintances for a long time now. The last six months or so we’?ve spent a lot of time together, and I’?ve come to respect you for your perseverance and persistence. We work well together in all conditions, and I respect you for taking me out even in the extreme cold, wet, or other miserable weather. Heck, we’?ve made it 1,305 miles together — that’?s a real accomplishment.
I’?ve worked hard for you, because I respect you, and if sometimes when the cold gets to me and keeps me from shifting, I know you understand. Your gears and mechanisms seem to work slower in the cold, too. Generally you take care of me like a good friend should, and you even found a way to rinse me off in sub-freezing weather when salt crusted my gears, slowing us down. (I like it when you bring me indoors for the night — it’?s warmer, and besides, sometimes I think I see wild animals out there. Once I saw four deer… Oh, you were there for that.)
Lately, though, I’?ve felt neglected. Where for the last six months we went out diligently together, the last couple weeks you’?ve left me standing by myself when you go off to work. It’?s lonely here without you. Once it snowed, and you weren’?t there to brush me off, so I became drifted with snow until you came home and brought me inside to melt off.
I was very happy when, yesterday, we took off together in the morning as usual. But I just haven’?t been able to perform as well as I know I could. I don’?t want to say you’?ve been neglecting me, but Katie, there’?s rust on my chain. My big gear has orange teeth from the rust. Dirt and salt have crusted and corroded my workings until I squeak from the struggle of turning. Please, please, please, if you value our relationship — and I know you do — clean me off and lube me up. A little love and I’?ll be yours forever.
Sure enough, when I really looked at it, I saw that my poor bike looked unloved and rusted. So this evening I took warm water, a toothbrush, and a rag to the chain and gears to give it a good scrubbing. Now my bike, inside near the shoe-heater at the bottom of our stairs, is drying off so I can re-Teflon lube it up. Because if I was a pet owner who treated my dog as poorly as I treated my bike, Peta would be all over my case.