Fortunately my back brake is tight, tight as in works well enough that I can skid without too much trying. Also I was fortunate in not having been moving very quickly when I hit my front brake which suddenly wasn't really working in a way that was even a little bit helpful.
It probably wasn't really nice or proper of me to refer to the kid as a sack of shit, but either one or both of his parents are a sack of shit for letting him play with my bike.
Entering the restaurant where I work through the front door you pass between our bar area to the left and a separate dining room on the right. Continue through and you reach the courtyard which is essentially fenced off inside the greater room, separating it from two walkways on the outer edges of the room. These walking areas lead to the doors that lead to the stairways that lead to the condos on the floors above. Continue your walk from the front door to end in the kitchen, where we have more dining, but if I start talking about the tourists I might start to rant a little.
Only one of the two doors to the upper living areas is used often, so the walkway leading to the less used door has become parking for those of us who ride our bikes to work.
At some point today, as I was moving between the kitchen and somewhere else in the restaurant, there was a family seated in the courtyard. Only the parents were actually seated at the moment I walked through. The two young girls and young boy that were also part of the party were in the less used walkway. While the girls admired the horrid painting of crap that takes up nearly a twenty by thirty foot area of the wall there the boy could be seen fucking with my bike.
I have no proof that the kid fucked with my brakes. One of my pads on the front was loose when I left, and I didn't know this till I was pedaling away and tried to use the brakes. I tend to use the front brake more for control and the back for stopping or to slow myself more quickly. In a sense I kinda rely on them a lot.
And it's not as if the kid was off somewhere, unattended and unwatched. The parents were seated at a table facing the exact direction of my bike and their kid and were not more than five feet away. Looking at their child would have confirmed that his bike was not in fact the one leaning against the divider fence and that he was in fact fucking with a bike not his own.
Perhaps they just didn't realize that the machine their child was treating as his own is in fact my main mode of transportation, much like their car is for them. Maybe they just don't realize how dirty my bike probably is. And it's not that it's so dirty so much as that I ride on regular ol' city streets where anything can and likely does go. Bikes also hold potential dangers for small children, not the least of which is that they could easily pull the bike over on themselves.
Maybe the kid didn't loosen my brake pad, but it was working when I arrived in the morning, and it wasn't working when I left. I easily found and fixed the problem, but that didn't really help when I first attempted to use that brake and it wasn't really there suddenly.
My front brake works, but it isn't as tight as the back. The back is my stopping brake or my sudden need to decrease speed brake. My front is a more delicate sort of control of speed. That doesn't make it any less essential, but it also doesn't make it the point.
So, I saw the kid fucking with my bike, and I wanted to approach the parents and say something. I'm also a restaurant employee and have been trained for years to not piss off the customer. I also know how some parents can be when approached about something their kid is doing but should not be doing. It's almost as if you're questioning their entire ability to parent as well as the general goodness of the children.
And I'm still not sure what I should have done. Perhaps the simplest thing would have been to push my way into their little zone and remove my bike. There are a couple of places I could have moved it to, and without having talked at all other than to excuse myself there'd be no reason for the parents to turn douche, though some people never need a valid reason.
The best idea really would be for people to control their kids and teach them that fucking with other people's stuff is really never cool. They aren't special, and my bike should be understood to be off limits. More than anything, the fact that parents didn't already get this idea is just baffling to me. And that's part of my reluctance to say or do anything. What can you really say or do to people like this?
p.s. Is the post title an homage or just a coincidence that made me think of this?