I just did something funny

I usually ride my bike to school and when I come home, I park the bike unlocked in the street accessible car port. The key thing: I don’t lock my bike.

This morning I had a meeting with a professor and I left kind of early. I noticed my roommates bike, which he parks next to mine, was gone. This was noticed because he usually leaves the house late in the morning and I thought it weird that he was gone early on a Friday.

Anyway, I got back a couple hours later and the bike was still missing. Thinking the roommate must still be out, I was surprised to see him in the house.

“Oh, no! His bike was stolen.” Were the first thoughts that come to mind. When I lived in the Bay Area, I had my bike stolen in front of my house and I looking back on it now I remember being particularly and surprisingly angry about the incident. So, the idea that his bike was stolen raised some old hackles in me.

After checking with him, though, I discovered that, no, his bike hadn’t been stolen. It was raining yesterday and he he left is bike at school and took the bus home.

Remember how I don’t lock my bike when I park it in front of my house? Well, I had another appointment at school later in the afternoon (my students had a review session for their up-coming final). After, finishing there and returning by bike, I parked it in front of the house and then I locked it.

Why the hell did I lock my bike this afternoon? I had no new information about the trust-worthiness of my neighbors. I didn’t discover the odds of getting one’s bike stolen were higher than expected. The relevant facts did not change, so why did my behavior?

I guess I just did something funny.

1 thought on “I just did something funny”

  1. That’s not that funny, and not hard to rationalize. All things being equal, the risk remains the same, but your aversion changed when you were forced to examine the penalties. A lock reduces the risk at a trivial cost.

    Just wait until you get in the habit, then forget, then realize that you forgot after waking in a cold sweat at 4AM.

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