I forget things. When I was a kid, I would ride my bike to school, and then forget to ride it home. Often, I wouldn’t realize I had left my bike until the next morning when I went outside to get on it, and it wasn’t there. One time I forgot two days in a row, and someone from the school brought the bike into the courtyard so it wouldn’t get stolen. Now, I loved my bike, but apparently it was not, let’s say “cool.” Your bike was supposed to be a Huffy and it was supposed to be pink. Mine was a yellow banana seat bike decorated with sunshines and rainbows.
When we walked to lunch, my classmates couldn’t help but notice the bright yellow banana seat in the courtyard, and they started laughing and pointing, “Ooooh look! Someone left their bike in here!” Then I said . . . “oh yea, look, someone left their bike in here.” I was mortified. I thought about it all day. My bike was on display for the whole school to see. Did they think I parked it there? What kind of a weirdo would do that? Probably, the same kind of weirdo that rides a sunshine and rainbow banana seat bike.
I decided that I would wait for everyone to leave school, and then I would get my bike and ride home, and drive it straight to the nearest dumpster. I sat on the curb on the side of school. I could see my bike, but I tried not to make eye contact. Finally, almost everyone was gone. All the walkers and bike riders had gone home, and the line of parents’ cars had meandered back onto Osprey Avenue. There was just one little girl left. “Where is your ride?” I asked. She didn’t know.
“Late, I guess.” She said. We sat in silence. “Are you waiting for your mom?” She asked.
“Umm, yes. She is always late, she probably won’t be here for a long time.” I said.
“I wonder whose bike that is?” She asked.
I was getting really tired. I needed a snack. I looked at the girl; I didn’t know her. Maybe I would never see her again. I said, “Actually, that is my bike!” and I ran over to it, jumped on, and rode right past her, almost clipping her backpack. She probably thought I was a psycho. I didn’t care, though. I was free! I rode home as fast as I could, parked my bike safely in the back of the house and went inside to eat my feelings.
For Christmas that same year I got a portable radio that strapped onto my bike’s handlebars. It also had an alarm. You pushed a button on the top and it blared a loud horn, similar to what you would hear if a tsunami was approaching. I rode to school trying to listen to a radio station, but there was a lot of static, so mainly I spent most of my cruising time adjusting the dial (did I mention there were no helmets back then?) The teacher who worked the bike pen told me I better put the radio in my bag or it might get stolen. This thing was huge—like the size of a small television, heavy and red. I took it off my handlebars and put it in my backpack. During class I reached into my bag to get out my folder, and I made the alarm go off. My teacher thought it was a fire alarm, so she started to line people up to go out the door. I wanted to just get in line and get the hell out of there, but I had to admit that it was my new bike radio. I pulled it out of my bag, but it took me an incredibly long time to figure out how to turn it off. Some of the kids in the class started crying. She took my new bike radio, switched it off and put it on her desk for the rest of the day. I found that to be embarrassing.
One last thing. There was a man who worked the crosswalk that I took each day on my way to school on my banana seat bike with the giant red radio/community-wide alarm system. He had a bumper sticker that read, “Retired. No job. No Bills. No Money.” I felt really bad for him; he seemed like a great guy. One day I tried to give him a dollar.