Opinion: It’s a ‘me-first’ world

Thursday, October 7, 2010

  • Life for my daughter just got a little more complicated and a little less friendly after her bike was stolen.

    Life for my daughter just got a little more complicated and a little less friendly after her bike was stolen.

Written by Myra Leyden

If you recall, Monday night it poured with rain. The thief’s wet footprints were still on the concrete floor. They left behind their broken bike—I suppose as a token of their appreciation.

We had only moved in to our new rental house two days before the theft. Welcome the neighbourhood.

Last summer, when we lived in Family Student Housing, someone stole my really old, really rusty Schwinn bicycle. I am a sole support parent and fulltime grad student, so money was tight and I couldn’t afford to get myself a replacement bike. Plus we don’t own a car, so we depend on our bikes for getting around town and grocery shopping. It was a devastating loss.

I posted a letter to the editor on thecannon.ca and received many supportive emails. Three weeks and twelve hours after my Schwinn was stolen, I found it parked at the university library and it remains with me today.

Now my daughter’s bike was a birthday gift (in July) from her Big Sister. It is the same model as her Big Sister’s bike. It was a truly generous gift.

My daughter is usually vigilant about locking her bike up, especially after going through the impact of the theft of my bike last year. But as I mentioned, we had moved two days before and things were in disarray and our routine disrupted, so it escaped her attention. Her regret is palpable.

I’m still a grad student, still a sole support parent, still don’t own a car and still broke. So we won’t be able to replace her lovely bike anytime soon. Life for my daughter just got a little more complicated and a little less friendly.

My daughter is a kind, generous person. She is helpful, thoughtful and frugal. She never asks for things, like iPods, or has to have the latest fashion. When she needs new shoes, she worries about the cost, so imagine how far out of reach replacing her bike seems to her. This breaks my heart.

It seems we live in a ‘me-first’ world. Just listen to the way people talk. “Me and so-and-so” is a common turn of phrase today. I taught my daughter to say “so-and-so and I” – grammatically correct but totally out of fashion. Maybe that’s why someone stole her bike when their bike broke—me first.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question

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  1. Posted by: Montgomery on Jan 5, 2011 @ 5:26pm

    Growing up I had a similar conscience as your daughter. Children share the tragedies and sufferings of their parents. But that is nothing over which to despair; they constitute experiences that enrich the soul, not degrade it. She has a remarkably level-head for her age. In ten years I'm willing to bet that neither she nor you would have had it any other way. That you portray yourself and your daughter beyond the me-world, and project your voice to those of a similar constitution, is only a testament to its falsity.

    I certainly sympathize, though. Good luck to you and your daughter!

  2. Posted by: Local Affairs Commissioner on Mar 14, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    Hi, Myra!

    It may be a little late, but as we're coming up on cycling weather, I thought I'd let you know that you can build a bike at the Bike Centre out of recycled parts, or with some new parts for quite cheap!

    If you have any questions about the Bike Centre or want to know more, please contact [email protected] or myself at [email protected]

    Either way, we're a great, empowering resource with free recycled parts, tools and new parts that we sell at cost. You and your daughter are cordially invited to work on your bikes at the Centre at any time! There's even a time set aside each week for woman- and trans-identified folks. We have manuals, tools, and space that come at no cost whatsoever to use and wonderfully helpful and friendly volunteers.

    Hope to see you there some time!
    Anastasia Z. (Local Affairs Commissioner and proud supervisor of the Bike Centre)

  3. Posted by: Peter119 on Apr 10, 2011 @ 9:02pm

    I can relate to your situation. I had several bikes stolen from my family when I was younger. I have had my wallet stolen from a YMCA locker. And people try to scam me on a daily basis - illegally or legally. What I try to do is be a force for unselfishness. I gave away my older mountain bike last year, instead of selling it, maybe that will be good karma. I am honest and friendly and polite. Like the first response, I think this negative experience will be a learning experience for your daughter. She is being raised properly, and this will show her that stealing and cheating have consequences.

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