“But I like my old bell!” She whimpers. “It’s purple.”
“Your old bell is broken, and I couldn’t find another purple bell.” I’m tightening the nut on the little plastic clamp that attaches a brand new black-and-silver bicycle bell to her handle bars. She’s been riding a two-wheeler for a couple years now, but occasionally takes a tumble. The most recent of these encounters with the pavement saw casualties that included a scraped knee, a road-rashed elbow, and a little purple bell that was crushed beyond simple repair. “This new bell is a little bit more sturdy and shouldn’t break as easily as the last two.” I add.
“I don’t want a new bell.” She pleads. “Can’t I just keep the purple one?”
She is holding the corpse of her purple bell in her hands, turning it over and over, inspecting it. “So?” She shrugs.
“It doesn’t work.”
She tries pushing the lever that would, under ideal circumstances, make it ring a loud and clear chime heard across the neighbourhood. The plastic bit is squeezed between the mangled metal parts and the same lever grudgingly gives a few millimetres emitting a gurgle of frail metallic clinks before sticking in the new position and refusing to move any further. “So?”
“You need a bell that works.”
“You’ve been riding a bike for two years now?” I stop my work and look at her. “You know what a bell is for, right?”
“To tell people I’m coming?” She suggests, hesitating.
“Yeah.” I sigh. “I don’t want you to hurt someone, okay?”