In 6th grade, my parents decided that I was finally old enough to bike to school, no before-school program this year, I would just ride my bike about 4 miles every morning to school, lock it up, and get on with my day
On the first day of school, I grabbed my backpack, strapped on my helmet, and went on my route. Eventually, I got to a corner, turned, and saw a man, just sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, looking in my direction. My heart dropped. Just keep biking, I thought, eyes straight up. And that’s what I did.
The second day of school came, I woke up, grabbed my backpack, strapped on my helmet, and went on my route. I turned the corner, saw the man, but this time he had something in his hand. I stared long and hard at his hand, and then suddenly realized he was looking straight at me. And I looked right back at him. We looked at each other for about 15 seconds, but it felt like an hour. Eventually, he nodded, and I nodded back. And that’s how it was.
After about 4 months of school, around Christmas time, I’ve seen this man everyday, and everyday we go through the same routine, I turn the corner, see him on the curb, and we nod. It was the day before Christmas break, and I finally got the courage to introduce myself to the man. Hey, I said, my name’s Jacob
He looked right at me, with almost confused eyes, and said, My name’s Dominic.
Dominic smiled. Thank you, he said.
Around Christmas time, the time of giving, I decided I wanted to do something for Dominic, get him a gift. Every morning, he was wrapped with these rags, and always seemed cold, rubbing his hands together and shivering. I told my parents about this, and they had the same idea as me. So the day before Christmas, I was biking with one hand, the other one holding a big bag of blankets, pants, and jackets. I got to my corner, and biked to Dominic, pulled over, and gave him everything in my bag. Here you go man everything’s for you.
Dominic smiled. Thank you
Photo via WallPaperCrafter
outh Dakota. A long way from California, and the people are even different. People aren’t very welcoming of Californians, they say we bring bad things with us. Like we are vermin, or from another planet. I’ve never really understood it to be honest. All I know is to not say you’re from California.
The people in South Dakota seem like they haven’t been affected by outsiders. And that’s good, sometimes. They are welcoming, friendly, and nice to their own people.The people almost operate in cliques, little groups that don’t want others. They stay to themselves, do their job, and go back home. However, if you interrupt them, or try to be nice, they’ll steer you away about as fast as they can. And if you say you’re from California, well, you aren’t for a good ride.
It almost seems like you can’t appreciate other states or people anymore. Anytime an outsider comes in, people have a double take, almost as if they think their world is the only world. Maybe back in the day, before the internet, maybe people would’ve been more friendly. It seems like everyone has a predetermined prejudice you can assume just by looking at someone. That’s what it’s like, in South Dakota, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Washington, everywhere. It’s bad.
Photo via Flickr
The Bowling Alley
On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, I would work at the bowling alley, from 7-12 pm. By that 7, 8, and 9 mark, it was busy, all people like, having a good time in the alleys. But by 10, 11, 12, it was sparse. There was the lone person or so, bowling alone in sea of blinking lights. But, as a teenager who needed money, I applied for that time. It was only me as the employee in the store, because while they were slightly profitable during the late hours, they could only afford one employee to man the maintenance, shoes, balls, and cashier. It wasn’t a hard job, with about 4 customers an hour, it was about as easy as as you could get. However, during the lone hours of the night, it would get creepy. Almost unnerving.
On one Sunday, at about 11:30 pm, there was 1 customer left. An older to middle-aged white dude bowling in lane 7. He was quite good, bowling a 227 in one round. At about 11:50 I told the man, Hey, we’re about to close soon, if you could get your last game in that’d be great.
And he didn’t answer. Didn’t even acknowledge me. He just kept bowling. He finished his game, and started a new one. We closed in about 3 minutes, so I went up to him again and said, We’re closed, please leave.
This time he looked at me, piercing blue eyes. He turned around, and got a strike. I walked back to the break room, hoping I could call a friend so he could help me out. I called my buddy, and he agreed to meet me at the alley in 5 minutes. I hung out in the break room for a few minutes, and then met up with my buddy. We walked in, and he was gone. No car pulling out in the parking lot, no door swinging, just an empty bowling alley. I looked at my buddy, and he looked back at me. I could’ve swore I saw someone in here walking in, he said
I just looked at him. Me too.
And we left without looking back.
Photo via GettyImages
Me and My Yak
I want that one, I said.
My parents looked back at me for a moment, then reached up to the top of the shelf, grabbed the little yak out of the box, and started walking to the cash register.
We got to the cashier and he said, you want that one? What about a tiger or a lion?
My parents looked at my smiling face and said: He wants that one.
As we walked back to the car my mom looked confused–almost as if she was puzzled with my choice–but I was happy just playing with my yak. We got home and I started doing what any 3 year old would do: play with my yak. And I was just as happy as a man who won the lottery. My yak would go on adventures, have battles, and with the help of my parents, go on the sled rides tied to the back of my dog. Me and my yak, the perfect duo.
Photo via iStock Images
The Jumping Contest
We were mountain biking in San Diego, the rich part of town. There were big hills on either side of us, with steep, bumpy paths going down each one.
My dad said: Well, I think it’s about time to head on back, it’s getting close to lunch
Ok, I said, I’m pretty hungry.
We started to head back to the car, but my dad saw a big hill. About 200 ft tall, a big fire-road going down the middle of it, and enough jumps for a kangaroo.
We have to go up that.
I replied: I’m tired, and I really just want some In N Out.
However, I was overruled my my family, and we slowly started to trudge up the hill. Almost immediately, it was too steep, so I hopped off my bike and started walking up the hill. Then there was the stinging nettle. A big handful of it.
My hand hurt, I was tired, and I finally yelled to my dad, almost at the top of the mountain, Can we just turn back around? PLEASE.
You’re almost there, just hurry up and we’ll be back at the car in no time.
So, I persisted, but I was determined that I would show my dad who was boss, who could make it down the fastest. I got up to the top of the mountain, got a quick swig of water, and sped down the mountain before my parents could look back. I was flying, dirt in my eyes, rocks spraying about, and bewildered bikers staring in awe at a 9 year old possibly hitting 30 mph. Then there was a jump. After 5 seconds of flying through the air, I crashed down, on my wrist, in the dirt. Crunch.
My dad slowly got down, stood above me, and said, Next time slow down there.
Photo via Cycling Weekly