This I Believe

Daniel - Oxford, Connecticut
Entered on May 25, 2007

For as long as I can remember I have wanted a dirt bike. It might have been since birth. Possibly it could have started when my friend up the street got a quad. Personally I believe i was born twisting my right wrist and making engine noises but that’s (slightly) irrelevant. By the time I was in fourth grade u decided I had to have a dirt bike no matter what it took. I looked around to see what a bike cost and to my dismay there were none available in my price range (that would be fifty dollars or less). At that age I worked day in and day out doing chores endlessly for five dollars a week in allowance. That adds up (slowly) to twenty dollars a month. My friend’s shiny new blue quad cost $1800.

Some people might have been discouraged by this situation. Luckily, I was never all that bright. For three years I barely spent a dime. My friends went to the movies and I went to television. In school i heard my friends talk about the movies they saw and watched as my neighbor limped around from his quad fighting back against his abuse. By seventh grade I had saved up nearly three hundred dollars. My parents eventually realized what having a bike meant to me and agreed to match whatever I could pay. I searched the local papers and bargain news with a passion for a few weeks before I saw a bike I could afford. It was old, not very shiny and it had bright pink shocks on the back of the bike. That same day I saw the bike we went and got it. It was not a shiny blue, brand new quad but it was still everything I imagined it would be. It was loud, wonderfully smelly, and it moved. I rode it up and down my dirt driveway until I knew every inch of it — the bike and the driveway. My hands must have soon gone numb since the weather was turning cold at the time but I don’t recall noticing. I had everything I had dreamt of.

At roughly the same time as this I began to notice a few things about my neighbor’s quad. It did not seem so shiny anymore even though it was only a few years old, much younger than my bike. A lot of the parts were bent or broken and there always seemed to be a flat tire somewhere on it. It sat outside all alone and uncovered in the rain. The dirt on it was months old and quickly turning to rust. None of this bothered my friend. It was just a toy to him. If it broke someone would have it fixed for him. Or he might just get a brand new one.

This is not to say my bike was perfect. There were a few times where I might not have had time to wash it after I rode it because it was too dark to see the end of my nose, never mind dirt. I did the best I could, however. My bike got the best possible treatment I could provide for it. I took care never to crash it becaue there was no extra money for parts in my pocket. I still didn’t have much money to go to the movies but i no longer ever wanted to. I had something far better.

I’ve grown a few feet since those days and I’ve gotten newer and better and bigger bikes. I even got got a quad. I had to wait for my next bike even when it was long overdue because I had to save my money again. The smart thing to do would have been to sell my first bike to pay for the second. Perhaps you’ve guessed this by now but that bike is still sitting in my driveway. And I still smile every time i see it and think of all I went to through to get it, and then all I went through on it. Sometimes I wonder if my neighbor smiles when he sees what’s left of his quad in the back of his yard.