The Parking Gods Have Spoken. But I'm Not Hiding
At my new job, I found a pretty nice parking spot in the rear of the building. Its nestled in a some-what corner right by the back entrance to the mall that occupies floors B1 through 4. That’s not important. The building has both underground parking and above ground parking - I am above ground. I’ve been parking in this spot for the last … 2 months. In fact, I started parking at this spot on the suggestion of one of the parking lot security guards. (I think I was parking in a pay spot for a week or so before they told me to move) Every day I say hello to the guards. They smile back and say hello. I had a nice free solution to the parking question. Or so I thought. This little story starts on Wednesday of this week. It’s a typical gloomy day in Beijing. 5:30 rolls around and its time to leave. I needed to do some shopping in the Sanlitun area before going to dinner with a friend, (we’ll call him “Dr. Bushwacker”, although he’s not in the story at all and won’t be mentioned later in the story). A colleague of mine also wanted to go to the Sanlitun area so I planned to give her a ride on the bike. We exit the building and its slightly drizzling. If you know anything about Beijing weather, its unpredictable. At any point it could turn into a rain storm, although this is rare. So we decided to take a taxi. If, after dinner, it was dry, I’d take a taxi back to the office and drive home. I did that. I get to the bike, it’s after 11:30pm. My sidecar wheel is flat! “Hmmm…”, I thought. “Perhaps I drove over a nail on the way to work today…". I proceeded to change the tire, albeit in pitch black, only with a little light emitting from one of the glass doors of the building. 10 minutes later, I was on my way home. Thursday. During the day, the (what I am told) Building Management manages to track me down by calling our receptionist, who then forwards the call to our team assistant. My team assistant told me they told her “we cannot guarantee the safety of the motorbike as he is parking in a free area. He should buy a proper spot”. Now. I am thinking “hmmm…” Nah, the flat happened once, it was surely an accident. My department is in the Siemens Real Estate business group and one of our colleagues is responsible for all parking matters. Unfortunately, she was in training all day so I couldn’t talk to her about my options. I planned to talk to her on Friday (that’s today). Fast forward to the end of the day - it’s 5:30 or so. I finish up at work, pack up, and go downstairs to collect my bike. To my surprise/astonishment, my front AND rear tires have no air in them. “Ok”, I thought… “This is no coincidence. Someone must have let the air out of my tires!” (as there were no noticeable puncture holes. My rear tire has one of those black twist caps (photo here) - none of the other tires have it. I thought “what the heck” and twisted it off. Some asshole put a pebble (also in the photo I just linked to) which would cause the inner pin to depress while the cap was on, thus causing the air to run out. Someone DEFINITELY did this. The “bao an”, or security guard who just stands by my bike all day (he is guarding the door) obviously did nothing, or he did it himself. I THOUGHT this would be a nice safe spot with a security guard there all day. I guess not. Come to think of it, “Dr. Bushwacker” makes his way back into my story. He has a rather black/white opinion on “bao an’s”. He thinks they are the lowest form of life on earth. I am beginning to agree. Any way, so, now I have 3 tires with no air. So I can’t even think about changing them. Lucky for me there is a motorbike repair shop near the office. I get into the cab to go to the shop. With my limited Chinese and excessive use of hand motions, I get them to take me back to my bike and proceed to fix my problem. I went ahead and had the inner tubes replaced (he, being the salesmen, convinced me) as they could be damaged by the weight of the bike. Any way…. My boss suggested I come to the office by taxi today. I thought about it. But, no. I’m sorry. I am not giving up. I will complain, through the facility manager, of this situation. If they don’t want me to park there, TELL ME. Don’t do this bullshit and think they’ll get away with it. They probably will, unfortunately. As protection, I brought my tire pump today and I plan to check back periodically to see if/when this occurs again. I’ll also work on securing a proper parking spot today - hopefully underground. Will keep you all informed. Check my flickr site for photos of the incident.