Liz Erk (lizerk) wrote,
Liz Erk

"You with the red bike...!"

As I entered my office building this morning with a coworker, I nearly "went fetal." We passed through the double glass doors and there stood this security guard that was probably about 112 years old. I made eye contact with him and was immediately spun back to June, 1996.

I had been working at an ad agency as an intern and each day I rode my bike to the company's location on Boylston Street in downtown Boston. It was my second full-time CO-OP job and it wasn't the most glamorous... every morning I had to bring up 3 stacks of 15 newspapers, followed by tearing out and making clips of ads from said-newspapers all day long for the accounting department.

Upon arriving at the agency I typically locked my bike to the meter out front. I used a U-lock, as well as cable to ensure that my wheels and seat weren't stolen. Apparently thieves viewed this as more of a "challenge" because after my first month of employment I discovered my bike was often tampered with... one day the U-lock was scratched up, followed by the cable covering getting shredded, then eventually my gear-shift covers were stolen, seat top sliced open, etc., etc.

Being the po' college kid I was, this infuriated me. My bike was a red GT Outpost and it cost me $350. I had worked hard to buy it, so each time I had to replace something on it, my blood boiled. So I asked my manager if I could bring my bike into the office. Without hesitation she said "sure."

So for the remainder of June I rode my bike in, brought it up the elevator and stuck it in my "office." (Which was a joke because it was the mailroom with an impressive desk and chair. Did I mention it was part of my job to sort and deliver the mail? So sad...)

One day in early July I went about my routine and was waiting for the elevator doors to close, when suddenly this hand flew in at the last second to open it back up. I looked up at a VERY pale, very old tall thin man in a black security suit.

"Young lady," he said in a very slow, deliberate manner. "You can not bring that bike into this building."

I just stared at him. Then I said, "Yes, I can. My manager said so." I pressed the "close door" button. (Did I also mention that I was a rude little thing? This was before I learned how to work with different personalities in order to get what I want. Back then I had this "go to hell, all of you, you're not the boss of me" attitude. Okay, I still have it now, but it's a milder version)

Father Time stuck his hand in the door again. "Young lady. Remove that bike."

"No," I insisted. "Not unless my manager tells me to."

This time he let me go up. I told my manager what happened and she laughed. "Well, just ignore him for now. Jack's such a pain in the ass. The fact that he's 'security' is a joke in and of itself."

So for the next 3 days I arrived a few minutes earlier and managed to avoid the security guard. On Monday of the next week he arrived as early as I did. I saw him perched on the stool behind the security desk. "Young lady," he grumbled when he caught sight of me. "You cannot bring that bike in here. I know where you work and I've spoken with your manager."

Rather than argue this time, I wheeled my bike back out and locked it to the meter. When I got upstairs I discovered that he didn't talk to my manager. Instead, he'd spoken to the president of the company! Apparently he watched what floor the elevator stopped at on that first day. There was only one business on the 9th floor.

The president came into my office a few minutes after I brought the papers in. Amused, he told me how Father Time stopped him on his way in that morning. "So," he said. "Just figure out how to get your bike in here without him noticing. I don't think he can really do much."

So for the next month I locked my bike to the meter, went out during Father Time's lunch break and brought the bike in. All was great.

Until one day in late August my lock was tampered with. It was all beaten up and jammed. It took me a good ten minutes until I got it open, then rushed the bike up to my office.

The next morning I got to the office, went to secure the bike to the meter and, of course, couldn't get the lock shut. Father Time was at the desk. The elevator door was standing open. What to do?? I quickly looked around and noticed the "handicapped button." I punched it, the main door slowly swung open, I hopped on my bike, rode it straight through the lobby, into the elevator and then frantically started pressing the 9th floor button. As the doors lazily slid shut I saw Father Time slowly tottering towards me. "You with the red bike..." The doors closed and up I went.

Once I got into my office I ran passed the front desk and shoved my bike into the coat closet. The guy at the front desk who was a little sweet black gay queen shook his head at me. "Girl, what're you up to...?"

I told him about Father Time and he started laughing. 15 minutes later he came into my office.

"Oooh, girl. Father Time came up here lookin' for your ass," he giggled. "I told him I didn't know what he was talking about, that you didn't have your bike today..."

I bought a new lock that afternoon and just sucked it up. The internship ended a week later, so I didn't have to stand it too much longer after that.

This morning as my coworker and I passed Father Time, I quietly told her the story. She laughed and laughed. When we got into the elevator there was a little commotion because 3 people didn't get in for whatever reason, but kept hitting the button, so the doors repeatedly opened back up.

We watched Father Time slowly come towards the elevator, shaking his head. "Young lady," he called out to one of the women. "Stop pressing the button..."

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