The Biker’s Eye and the Mailbox

May 5, 2011
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I was a stud-like little lamb at the age of five, and already on my way to impressing girls I thought I liked. I performed feats that would make them like me more or think I was cool. This is the true story of how I tried to impress a girl by looking cool on a bicycle but failed miserably.

On a damp and dark day in the town of Howell located in the eastern most county of New Jersey, I attempted to ride the dominating machine of transportation a child used. It was the day I learned to ride a bicycle.

The day was a Monday; this Monday was special. I woke up, went to school, came home, did homework, and then it happened, Mom and Dad took me to the front yard and I learned the ways of the great and almighty bicycle; that was my plan anyway. I felt two feelings that day; one of pure angst and nervousness, and another of happiness and excitement. I don’t think it was ever possible for me to wake up that joyous and excited about a Monday since Christmas had been on a Monday. I was so thrilled and felt so proud of myself that I was going to learn to ride a bicycle; it was time I finally learned and I would now have something else to impress the girls around the neighborhood with. I had watched a BMX show on TV and that made me imagine doing these extreme moves and tricks while 100 feet in the air thinking, “ I am the king.”

I woke up that morning and took care of my morning necessities like brushing and scrubbing my five year old set of fangs. Then I scurried my little body downstairs to throw a nice warm bagel in my face, enough to catch the taste once or twice. I cleared my mess at the breakfast table and off I went to school. I was the talk of kindergarten; everyone knew me and I knew everyone because the word about my upcoming event was so worth sharing with a fellow classmate.

“He’s so cool,” the kids would say, and I would sit back in all my glory and enjoy.

I loved the enjoyment of watching all of the other kids spread the news about me riding the bike around the class like telephone operators. School went by like a breeze.

I walked home from the bus stop right outside my house with my older brother; he was somewhat happy for me, simply because I had something to be happy about. Our brotherhood bond is important to us and our Italian family. Anyway, the neighbor girl who I thought was cuter than anything I could imagine in my five-year-old world was walking with us. I explained to her the events that would take place that night and she seemed thrilled. Then in the blink of an eye she questioned, “May I watch?” Those three words were where my plans began to fail miserably.

“You want to watch me?” I squabbled back.

“Yeah, I hope you do good,” she responded.

This conversation went through my little head and as darkness overcame the sun. It was almost time. I had never really been scared to impress a girl I liked, until this very moment. I finished dinner; my dad asked “You ready, Chris?”

I looked at him with the most stern and determined look and nodded. I was ready to take on the two wheeled challenge.

We made our way outside and onto the driveway where my dad disassembled the training wheels and turned it into a real bike. I was one step closer. He put the bike down on the wheel side, applied the kick stand, and told me to go get it. I peeked toward the neighbor’s house to see if I could find my audience; no one in attendance. I climbed atop the mountain bike with my dad holding the back. He pushed while I worked the pedals and steered.

“Keep your eyes forward and don’t take your hands of the handlebars,” my dad pointed out.

That entire set of directions went in one ear and straight out the other. I had other things to worry about; however, none of them involved the neighbor girl.

“ Ok Dad,” was my simple response.

He asked if I was ready, and once I gave him the okay, he began to push. I felt like a plane speeding down the runway about ready to take off for my trip across the world. It happened. The neighbor girl appeared at her window and as I approached her front yard she shouted, “ Hi, Chris!” I was less concerned with the fact that I was now riding alone for the first time with no training wheels or help; my only thought at the time was to say “Hi” back and impress her. I went against my dad’s rules on this one. I took my left hand off the bars and turned my entire little body on the bike in the slowest fashion possible.

“Hi Amanda!”

I thought she would melt over that. I was in love at five. Eventually I remembered I was on a bicycle but by the time I was able to turn my face around, SLAM! I rode my bike into Amanda’s mailbox, nearly uprooting the thing from the ground. I cried, loudly. I thought I had everything in place, and everything was where it should’ve been and then this had to happen. I don’t seeing her reaction, but it probably would’ve made the gash over my lip even more painful than it already was. I trudged into the house to be cleaned by my parents.

When my face was cleaned of blood and tears, they looked at me and asked, “There is always tomorrow?”

With a hockey-style toothless grin, I said, “Sure why not.” I was hot stuff because I now had a scar over my lip and I thought chicks dug scars. My mom was concerned about my safety but, my dad thought I was the coolest thing since he learned how to record their favorite show, Third Watch, on tape. He kept asking what was going through my head and why I had turned on the bike. My only response was a shoulder shrug and an “I don’t know” in a mumbled tone.

I went to sleep feeling like an accomplished failure because I had ridden my bicycle for the very first time, but I had hit the mailbox of the girl who I was trying to impress. I didn’t know how things were going to happen and what was going to happen, I just knew that not much good could come out of this.

The next morning I made my way to the bus stop hoping and praying everything would be okay. Amanda was there with a smile on her face, the way she always looked. She turned to me and I froze.
“That was really cool” and “my mailbox punched you in the face,” were the only things she could muster up to say. I didn’t know if I should be embarrassed or thrilled because of her reaction. I waited some more.

“I thought the mailbox was put farther down.” I tried hard to play it off, but it was hard to mask the mistake I had made. She told me it was okay and really funny and then gave me a kiss on the cheek. I boarded the bus and the rest was history.

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