Once upon a time, when I lived by myself, I bought myself all manner of things and used them as required.
Then I moved in with xDB and stopped needing most of my things. I sold some and gave lots away. The rest were put in the garage or the cellar or hidden stowed away in boxes.
Recently I moved out and back into a flat of my own. I began buying or being given things to replace what I was missing. I assumed that the things I already had would continue to work as expected.
Nothing is ever as one assumes. This is probably why assumption is something to avoid.
I went out to pick up a stereo system after work this evening.
My old one wasn’t as good as xDB’s and so had been rehoused at work when the ancient radio there decided it had had a good life and wanted to go to wherever good radios go when they die.
When I moved, I no longer had any way of playing music besides my alarm clock, my phone and my laptop. None of the three have spectacular speakers, especially the alarm clock. I’m not especially fussy about these things, but I’m quite happy if I can recognise who’s supposed to be singing or what song is playing.. I suppose I could theoretically take my old stereo back from work but I can’t imagine my colleague working without a radio, so I decided to leave it there and procure a newer one for my flat. Almost 6 months later I still haven’t. It hasn’t fought to the top of the priority list.
While I was browsing the free section of the small ads the other day, I found someone getting rid of a ‘micro stereo system in top working order’. I wrote to say I wanted to pick it up. The seller said it wasn’t free after all and named his price. I said he shouldn’t have put it in the free section if he actually wanted to sell it, but named my maximum and we agreed on a time and place to meet across town.
I decided, possibly foolishly after Wednesday’s adventure, to take my bike with me to save having to make a detour via work to pick it up afterwards.
I got the two trains with no problems. I found lifts and even found somewhere to change my large(ish) banknotes into smaller ones. I reached the designated meeting point at the designated time with the correct money and was feeling very proud of myself.
Even picking up the stereo was no problem. I didn’t want to leave my bike outside, so when the seller suggested he brought it out to save time I readily agreed
The man had packed it very neatly into two carrier bags. It was bigger than expected, and heavier, but I thought that must be a good sign.
One of the carrier bags was plastic, one paper. I’m probably a bit overly cautious but it’s January and the current weather forecast doesn’t make for overly joyful reading. I think potential rain and paper bags are a bad combination (though not as bad as actual rain and paper bags) so I carefully repacked my new speakers into my panier. The subwoofer in its plastic bag hung on my handlebar. It was much too heavy to balance while cycling so I pushed the bike.
The journey back was less simple. There’s a very large station in Berlin where a lot of S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains travel on different levels. It’s a station I usually quite like. I’ve been there a lot and changed trains there many times in many constellations….as a footpassenger. As a passenger with a heavily laden bicycle, stations turn into something quite different. I rode at least 4 lifts and spent a long time trying to find out where each of them were hidden. What takes me a maximum of 5 minutes by foot, took me at least 15 with the bike.
When I could finally see the platform my train was leaving from, but not the lift I needed to get to it, I gave up on the lifts altogether and used the stairs. My bike is fantastic, but it is not a light thing. There is no way I can carry it downstairs onehandedly, so I kept the front wheel in the air and let the back wheel bounce slowly on each step.
Approximately halfway down there was a sudden, strange noise. I looked behind me and saw the panier hanging from one of its clips. I was on the middle of a relatively well used staircase, a I had a subwoofer under one arm, the other hand on the crossbar with my elbow and wrist keeping the handle bars halfway steady. I couldn’t stop, couldn’t adjust my grip of anything, couldn’t even use my knees to push the panier back up to level because it was on the other side of my bike.
The only way out was down. I carried on going.
The second and final clip flew off before we reached the platform. The panier holding the newish stereo fell down and rolled the last few steps. It seems plastic clips aren’t up to being ignored for several years and then bounced.
I walked home with one bag on each side of my handle bars.
And the stereo didn’t even work when I got it home.
Before, I just wanted clearer music, now I also need new paniers.