Life Back East

I am an East coaster, if you haven’t yet figured that out. This I am certain of. For starters I have always been a good runner. I guess everything I said earlier wasn’t a complete lie. I blame stray dogs and intense P.E. coaches. Growing up, I rarely found myself seriously ill. Except for the common cold, I was a pretty healthy kid. I knocked on wood a lot while growing up. My mother and father were both born and raised on the East coast. They’re pretty old. Really old to be honest. My dad just turned 74 and my mother is sitting at a sexy 66 years of age. Even with reconstructed knees she gets around better than some of my out of shape friends. If all holds true, then I have a long life ahead of me. Currently, I live on the West coast. Yeah yeah yeah, I know I am pretty audacious. After all that talk about the inferiority of West coasters, I now reside on enemy territory. Well hey, it wasn’t by choice.  Nevertheless, I lived in the suburbs of Bristol, Pennsylvania. That’s as East coast as it gets! Geographically, I grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia.  But I still claim Philly. It sounds more ‘gangsta’. Playing basketball with my friends in the neighborhood and pulling stolen bikes out of the forest(woods) was where I spent the bulk of my time. Yes, you read that last line correctly. I spent 90% of my time playing basketball and retrieving stolen bikes. Sadly, 8% of my time went towards school and the remaining 2% was dedicated to miscellaneous endeavors. You can clearly see when and where my imbalanced life took root. For 16 years I lived in these outskirts and never once did my parents pay for a bike. They never had to. The neighborhood woods provided my friends and I with an ample supply of ‘hot’ goods. If a free bike is available why pass on it. It takes a very special eye to differentiate between stolen items and purchased ones. After school, myself, Pierre and Wesley ( two of my good friends) would hustle home, change out of our uniforms, (we all attended catholic school) and approach our parents. The trickiest part was getting the ‘ok’ from our parents to let us go outside and play before doing our homework. I remember Wesley always being the first one to show up at my door on his stolen bike. Wait a minute, perhaps I should clarify that we never stole any of the items that were found in the woods. Someone else held up the bike store and dragged all those items there by hand. It wasn’t until the latter stages of my East coast life that I realized the danger that the items in the woods possessed. Myself nor the lot realized that members of local gangs stored their stolen goods in the woods for safe keeping. It’s frightening to think that at anytime our leisurely stroll into the woods had a strong possibility of landing us in some hot water. Now at the ripened age of thirty, I laugh when reminiscing on the thoughtless sans consequential life that I lived.

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