Imperfection of the Perfect: Predicament on Drève Rechelle

January 6, 2010
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I arose like always. Always late in the day, always frigid, always drowsy, always famished, always procrastinating homework, always ready to hang out with friends for the day, or what is left of it, just like every Saturday in Belgium. I was in sixth grade at the time and I was in the best state of my life. I was one of the tallest, strongest, charismatic, fastest, coolest, most popular kid in my grade. My life was opulent I was happy and living in Europe. My sister was a freshman with a lot of senior friends to keep the bullies in line so no threats or beatings were issued on me.
Habitually Saturdays were lethargic and relaxing, but this one was going to be fast-paced and unnerving. I got the foreseen call from one of my many groups of friends asking me to rendezvous downtown with them. I said I would call them back after I asked my mom if I had anything planned, I didn’t, I called Arnaud back and said I would meet him at 7:00 downtown. I stole some money for food and some shopping money, hopped up onto my bike and went full speed downtown.
I was a little early so I stopped by at a bike jump park to see if my friend Kasper was there and go off some jumps until my friends called me to join them. He was there with some of his friends: Jun, Vivien, Geraldine, and Benoit. I was there for about five minutes until they started lighting cigarettes and I decided it was time to go meet my other friends. The French kids in my grade think it is fun to smoke. They tried to tempt me a lot so I learned when it was time to leave once the lighters came out. After I was back on the road the call came and I was to meet them at the mall’s cinema.
It jetted to the mall’s entrance locked my bike, it only took me two short minutes to get there, when I arrived my guy friends were there, we watched Le Dernier Legion or The Last Legion. It was a terrible movie in my opinion. My girlfriend was supposed to meet us there but never showed up, but what really happened was they went to the 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, and 6:00 showings waiting for me this led to a not so happy Sunday full of name calling and apologies. After we decided to walk around the tunnels of the mall and shop and get some candy. Once things slowed down, and shops started closing we started back to my bike and everyone else’s rides. As soon as I got to my bike my brother pulled around the corner on his bike, this isn’t going to be good, he said “Connor it’s time for dinner mom has been trying to call you!” in Europe everyone ate at the earliest 8:00. Most restaurants opened at 7:00, but the ovens weren’t fired up and ready to go until 8:00. Also the waiters wouldn’t linger, like in America they didn’t turn the tables and kick people out they kept you there for hours. After hearing that comment I whipped out my phone oh dang, she called me four times. I got my phone two months ago. It was my first phone and the rules were strict: no sending texts, phone off at 8:30, no calling over the limit, NO missing calls from my parents or family, and your phone on and with you at all times expect when you are home and sleeping. I was done for. I said goodnight to my friends and gave them all bises, the French cheek kisses. Then I flew off with my brother homebound.
On our way home we stopped at the Deli Traiteur (a local marketplace) and the patisserie. I got a cherry coke, two crunchy bars and Haribo cherries, a delicious candy with lots of sugar made like gummy bears but a little harder. Since my brother didn’t want anything he rode home. I came out of the store and picked up my bike and started to walk down the road.
Across the road I spotted a big burly man digging into the open hood of his slick bright yellow porche. He had a black film of sweat covering his tree trunk arms from the gasoline of the engine. He glared over at me suspiciously. The cherries in my mouth were losing the battle against my taste buds to contain their sugar. He smirked, waved and then bellowed “Bonjour, Tu peux aide moi avec ma voiture?”
He was asking me to come help him with his car. I could almost tell that he was thinking that I was a stupid kid who was going to fall into his deceitful web. I wasn’t, since I had only been taking a year’s worth of French classes. I was taken by surprise when the calm rhythmus French accent leaked out between my completely American lips. ‘Non, désole je ne peux pas.’ Meaning no, sorry I cannot. That was easy enough. I turned around seeing that no one was around on the street no one to call for help. In the back ground a heard some shuffles and then some loud clicks increasing in volume. I turned back towards the man he was a lot closer now and still coming. He was sprinting towards me! I was now filled with enough adrenaline and hopped over the whole bike onto the bike’s seat. I hit the pedals so hard that the chain almost popped off the track and the tires squealed and I rocketed forward. Blinded with fear I steered myself straight towards my school.
Since it was a humid sweltering day the concierges had opened all the entrance doors, I was really lucky, I actually went straight through the double doors. Out a second double door entrance. Into the courtyard, through the prison like gates blocking the road from our school. Onto back roads until I arrived home. Hustling inside, I locked all the doors. Closed all the windows and took my post at my window looking outside, keeping watch. I was safe. Of course when I came to school on Monday I was sent straight to the principal’s office. I explained my case to them, but they thought my decision to go through the school was not a wise one and I had two detentions. I don’t know if going through the school helped me out run the frightful man. The real more self-absorbed you are the more likely you are to get frightened or hurt. This is because you are in your own serene perfect world where no one can touch you. When something does your reaction is to be mortified and taken away by the experience. Respecting yourself and others having self-esteem is good to an extent, and then it gets annoying and breaks away the connections to your family and friends, never doubt yourself, but don’t go around belting out all your achievement and flawlessness. I am a “recovering jerk” as Randy Pausch says in The Last Lecture. A person who is trying to become a respectable person to others.

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