Monday, February 27, 2006

above and beyond

I was changing trains on my way home from my friend’s house this morning when my phone rang.

“Hello, Ms. Maiya? This is the Higashiyama Police Department.”
My house has burned down. They discovered I’m slightly illegal. Somebody died.
“We found your bicycle by the river at Shijo. Was it stolen?”
Cringing a little, “No, I parked it there.”
“Oh. Okay, we were just calling to make sure it hadn’t been stolen. Sorry to bother you.”
“No problem.”

As I boarded the train, I realized that I should have asked if my bike was still at Shijo. You see, parking your bicycle there is not permitted and the police have the right to take your bike to a far away location and make you pay to get it back. But apparently the police were not taking bikes today, just writing down their serial numbers, looking up the registration, and contacting the interesting sounding ones.

I’m trying to figure out why they might have thought it had been stolen; it was locked and parked in a very public place. Maybe they thought they’d just call the foreigner. Maybe they had nothing better to do.

“Hey guys, it’s a foreigner’s bike.”
“What’s it doing down here with all the other illegally parked bikes?”
“Hmm, you don’t think she knows we don’t tow from this far down the riverbank, do you?”
“No, no. It must have been stolen. Give her a call.”

Whatever the case, I’m glad to know that the Kyoto Police are doing such a thorough job protecting citizens from bike theft.

No comments: