And Still The Wheel Turns

My bike is… fixed, thankfully. I figured that a 250 元 ($38) vehicle, made from thin aluminum and depended on for constant transportation would experience its fair share of booms and busts; and let’s just say that the latter has become the more salient of the two. All other previous fallacies were easily disregarded – the unstable seat, the lost reflector and the falling chain – but breaking my handlebar off cleanly is far from ignorable. So I decided to go to the local bike repair “stand” (not shop) to check it out. Within a few moments, they quickly installed a black handlebar for a mere 35 元,  and that’s how my bike came about being fixed. However this entire fiasco had me reflecting on how common people visit these stands, the obvious, and how fixing my bike metaphorically connects to my life, the abstract.

Moments after fixing my bike I rode off feeling concrete, complete and proud enough to finish my other errands. Of course, I questioned the black lacquered bar, slightly marred by rust, as to whether it could truly replace the shinny and silver handlebar, but I reassured myself that it was a matter of efficiency, not perfection. When I finally stopped at the ginormous electronic store (ironically, to replace my broken headphones), I saw all the neighboring bikes with the same black lacquered handlebar juxtaposed to yellow, silver and blue bodies.


Perhaps the saying “misery loves company” is applicable, but I was suddenly relieved to see commonality of bike malfunctions in Shanghai. Clearly these forms of transportation are far from expendable, and with a little work and elbow grease these wheels will still turn. As we have learned, the Chinese don’t play with their efficiency.

Recently, I’ve been granted plenty of time to be pensive and I find the timing of my bike breaking divine. Metaphorically, I am the bike and in order for me to function as a whole, to churn the wheels and move through life, I need functioning parts that suit my needs. But recently I’ve seen that many parts of my life are obsolete and they are my expendables, ready to be casted away to make room for something new. The truth is, my wheels must continue to spin and will do so long as I desire for them to.

I am not naïve enough to assume that these replacements will trump the replaced – the black handlebar and life changes – but there is always something mystical about doing things anew. I’ve been watching plenty of True Blood and one particular quote come to mind: “It’s all about casting off the empty shell of what’s dead and embracing the mysteries of what is yet to come!” These reparations and novelties in my life may not outdo the previous defaults but within that ambiguity lays the beauty – the beauty of difference. To me, it’s like embracing a new cycle, and after doing such, it will be like churning the wheel all over again. Likewise, I may not know what is yet to come but I am sure that it’s better than the half handlebar or the flawed ties from before.

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