I’m cheating on my favorite shirt.
About a year ago, I splurged on a Colorado flag t-shirt. Living out of state, I had to order the shirt on-line, and I think it ran me somewhere around $25. I realize to many people spending $25 on a shirt is not a big deal and is certainly not considered a splurge. But I take pride in being cheap. If a shirt is not at least 75% off, it’s going back on the rack until it is. By then it will only be available in sizes 2 and 22, will have the hem unraveling, a stain on the front and be two seasons behind the fashion trends- but dammit, it will be cheap!
The $25 was money well spent. I love that shirt. I wear it once or twice a week, every week, and beam with happiness every time I do.
Going through photos for a recent blog, I ran across this picture. I doubt most people pay attention to the small sticker on the frame of the bike, but it always draws my attention.
When I took up cycling, I wasn’t just cheap- I was broke. For the first time in a decade, I was renting an apartment by myself- no roommates to cushion the financial blow. My psyche welcomed the solitude. My pocketbook missed communal living. I had no means to purchase a bike, but a kind friend offered to give me his old one.
The bike had seen better days. The gears stuck when I tried to shift. The tires were worn from adventure. The paint peeled off the frame. Most of all, it wasn’t cute. I know, it’s petty- but it looked like a BOY’S bike. I guess in my heart, I always see myself riding the same bike I rode when I was eight years old- pink, with graceful curves and sloping handlebars. But the price was right. I took it home and willed myself to love it.
My boyfriend (now husband) offered to fix the bike for me. I knew nothing about adjusting gears, lubing brakes or any of the other things he said he would do. I turned the bike over to him and returned to my fortress of solitude.
A few days later, Ben called to say that the bike was ready. I drove to his apartment to give it a test spin.
Ben swore he only used elbow grease, but I believe he wielded a magic wand. The bike glistened in its new found beauty. He painted it silver, but added dashes of a purple fade. The seat was new and cushioned. Best of all, on the front was a sticker- a portrait of a woman with the words “Make Art Not War.”
At the time, I was unfamiliar with the artist, Shepard Fairey, but the slogan fit as if it were written with me in mind. I loved everything about the bike and especially the man who fashioned it to suit my tastes. A freebie transformed into a DIY beauty- nothing could suit me better.
The bike was put out to pasture a couple of years ago- no amount of magic or elbow grease could make it last forever. But in seeing the photograph last week, I got to thinking how much I loved that sticker. I mentioned to my husband that I wanted a shirt with that picture on it. Tada- look what came in the mail. It’s love all over again.