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April 17, 2017
By Angela Choksi, Barrington
A wise man once told me, “Be sure to collect experiences instead of material things.” Last Summer, I decided to go on a little adventure, and so I set off on a bike ride outside my neighborhood, with no phone, to prevent any distracting text messages or notifications, and no idea of where I was heading. It was a beautiful sunny day, which is really quite rare in Chicago, and the warm glow of the sun caressed my face while the calming breeze stroked my loose curls. The green trees swayed from right to left as if they were waving and smiling at me. I heard Sparrows chirping, saw a unique Red-Winged Blackbird fly right past me, witnessed little children biking, and some of them hilariously tumbling into the green meadow around us. I felt alive at that moment, and so happy that I felt like nothing in the world could bother me again. Of course, within 5 minutes, the thought of me having to take the ACT later that year did help dampen the mood, but I couldn’t help but get over that debbie-downer of a thought quick as I saw a little boy enjoying his popsicle that had tastefully stained his entire face and arms in a myriad of rainbow colors with a cheeky grin on his face while his mother chastised him.
After biking for about a half hour, when I decided to go back home, I realized that I didn’t know the way back, or where exactly I was. With no phone or another means of communication, I couldn’t even call anyone to come and pick me up. In a frantic frenzy, I asked the one family that was walking along the sidewalk of where I was if they had any idea of how to get to my home address. Unfortunately, they didn’t. I was in some sort of a forested area or preserve, filled with thick shrubbery and a tangled foliage that I had never been near before, hence, not many people were around there. Scared and losing my common sense the way an open tap loses water, I resolved to bike in one direction, hoping that I would come across civilization again. After a while, I did come across a neighborhood where I asked another woman if she could give me directions to my home, but she seemed to be in a hurry, and neglected to help me. Losing hope very quickly, and my feet burning up from all that riding, for it had been about an hour since I had left my house, biking continuously, I sat down on a patch of grass to rest for a bit, and catch my breath.
As I sat there, I noticed a unique yellow flower with 5 petals, and a gorgeous purple center that was unlike anything I had ever witnessed before. The flower smelled sweeter than perfume, and emanated a golden glow that rivaled that of the sun. I was so enthralled by it’s beauty that I didn’t even notice a young woman standing beside me, trying to find out if I was alright. Apparently she saw me sitting there, looking at what seemed to be nothing, since the flower was so tiny, while she was out on her walk. As I snapped out of my awe, I explained to the woman what had happened, and if she could help me out. With a genuine smile on her face, she put in my address on her phone’s GPS and told me that my home was about 10 miles away from where we were. Judging from the disillusioned look on my face, she kindly asked me if I would like a ride there in her car. Heeding every parent’s advice to their child to not trust strangers, I politely declined but she wouldn’t take no for an answer because she could tell how tired I was.
I was at a terrible crossroads, accept her offer and disobey the first piece of advice almost every parent gives their child when they go outside, or give in to my aching body screaming at me to allow her to give me a ride, much like the quintessential angel and devil situation. Finally, I gave in and accepted because she seemed nice and helpful. She invited me into her home for a glass of water while she got her keys, and then came the most difficult part that I was surely not expecting- Trying to fit my bicycle into her minivan, which was a much more challenging act than I would have thought. We tried moving the back seats around to make more room, trying to wiggle the bike a little here, and jiggle it a little there just to try and fit it into the trunk. Finally, after about 15 minutes of sweaty struggling, the bike gave in and fit. While sitting shotgun, I remained silent and alert the entire trip, cautious of every turn and movement the woman made out of fear of an unforsaken event, and not trusting her fully. I did not even let my guard down and groove when Katy Perry’s “Roar” came on the radio. I finally let out a sigh of relief only when we turned and entered my neighborhood.
As we approached my house, my parents and grandparents were all out on the lawn, distraughtly talking on the phone, as they were afraid of what had happened to me since it had been around 2 hours since I had left on what was supposed to be just a 45 minute bike ride. They had tried calling my phone many times, and supposedly were about to go on a hunt for me just as we returned home. The joy on their faces to see me seemed more genuine and more monumental than my own as I saw the chocolate-brown and off-white exterior of my home. We all zealously thanked the woman who helped me get back home, and whose name I didn’t yet know. Needless to say, my mom made me promise to take my phone with me no matter where I went from then on, and eve installed an app on it that allowed me to send an SOS signal to my parents if I needed help or if anything went wrong. And of course, the app allowed my parents to track me and my phone anywhere, and at any time. In retrospect, going on that ride without a phone or keeping track of what direction I was going in was a terrible idea, although the morning did turn out to be more eventful, and resulted in a great story to tell, than I could ever have imagined.
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