The Tricycle

December 30, 2009

When I was around 2 yrs old – yes, you read that right – I decided that I’ve waited long enough and that it was now time for me to enter the world as a bonafide “test pilot.” How I remember that, you might ask? Keep reading and you’ll understand. Back then it was something more like “Hmmf, what trouble can I get into today?” So without any further delay, I grabbed my sky-blue tricycle and headed up top the driveway to “push the envelope”.

Now to paint the picture here, where we lived at the time was comprised of 12 apartment units, 2 units attached by a common wall, six units on one side, six on the other and a driveway that ran between them. To make it even better, this was all located on a hillside that had, oh, I’d say about a 35-degree angle on it and 50 yards of concrete that ran wide open into the street at the base. At the top of the hill was a parking lot and an area where one could dry clothes on a line. So put simply, as a kid, that’s where I was “allowed” to ride my tricycle – away from the crowds and more importantly, the street.

So on this particular day while my mother was up top hanging clothes, I decided now was the time to find out how fast this little bike of mine could go. So up the hill I went, my little Kid Power tennies diggin’ in hard, my lungs huffin’ and puffin’ in anticipation of how this was all going to unfold. Now at this point I must recount my mothers’ version of the story …

Moms: “There I was, hanging clothes like any other day, and here comes my little son with his tricycle. He brings it to the top of the hill, so I figured he was going to ride around until I was done. I turn my head for a few seconds, literally, then turned back around and HE’S GONE!!!”

Man, that tricycle was cool! Remember back in the day, in my day it was the early ‘70’s, when little bikes and big wheels had peddles that were on the wheels themselves, and when you got to peddling too fast you’d lift your feet off and just watch the peddles go Loco, and at that point all you could do was hang on for dear life and hope you don’t eat it … see where this is going?

So what Moms didn’t see was that once I got to the top, I turned my tricycle around and faced it downward toward the street – have I mentioned that I’m a brain scientist, too? – I then proceeded to sit my little body down, plant my Kid Powers on the peddles and gave it a go …

So down the hill I go flying and within a matter of seconds the peddles are spinning so fast I have to lift my legs off so that they don’t detach!! The street at the bottom of the hill, which seemed so far away when I was at the top, was now fast approaching!!! Hair’s blowing in the wind and my eyes are wide-open because at this point I realize that I didn’t plan this far ahead – how was I going to stop once I got to the bottom? Oops.

So down the hill I go – I make it to the bottom only to exit the driveway and run straight into the street. I go zipping across to the other side – thank God there were no cars at the time – and I run smack-dab into the curb that’s waiting for me, flip over my handle bars and swan-dive/face-plant into the grass lawn near the sidewalk!!

Was I fazed? Absolutely not! We “test pilots” laugh in the face of danger – ha, ha, uh, ha. However, as I’m picking myself up off the grass in total disbelief that I actually survived “the hill”, it so happens that a parking meter attendant had seen the whole thing and had now jumped out of their little cart and was running over to me to make sure I was okay. At the same time, all I could hear was my mother screaming my name as she frantically ran down the hill thinking “what the heck is wrong with you, child!!” It’s at this point that I reverted to what any kid would do if they knew that in seconds they were either going to get the beating of their life or, if they played it right, pull the sympathy card and be pampered for the rest of the day – I CRIED!!

Didn’t work, though – I got smacked for doing something “so foolish” and now that I come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing that tricycle ever again ……