Image from a Bygone Era: A Story of Olden Times and How I Could Totally Rob a Child

By: Jacob Lewis

I was driving down the street on an errand when I saw two children riding their scooters on the sidewalk. They weren’t much older than Athena, maybe 8 or 9 years old. As I stopped at a red light at the entrance to the I-5 freeway onramp they scooted in front of me and onto the overpass towards the University District. I watched them ride away and was immediately overcome with two different reactions to this image.

First, was the feeling of watching something from a bygone era; the idea of young children let out to ride around the neighborhood unsupervised. They had the freedom to go anywhere and do anything they wanted, and they seemed completely unaware of the potential evils the world could throw in their path. Maybe their parents had different ideas about supervision? Maybe they just didn’t care? Maybe they remembered doing this from their childhood and didn’t think they should rob their children of the chance to control their playtime destiny. The idea of this freedom still existing was both enlightening and terrifying.

Second, I could totally take those kids’ scooters. No parents. No adult supervision. I’m way bigger than them and I have a car and easy freeway access. I could jump out, knock them over, grab the scooters and be a mile away before the children recovered, or any of the onlookers managed reconcile what they had just witnessed. The only thing stopping me was the decision of whether or not this is something I wanted to do today. My choice separated the children from a delightful weekend and an event that would eventually cause them to lose all faith in the goodness of humanity. I realized, that in a little way, this might be what a god feels like.

When the light turned green I knew I had a choice to make. I chose to continue on my errand and leave it up to someone else to shatter the children’s perception of the immortality of childhood and unchallenged belief that they are inoculated from the evils of this world. Besides, unlike them, I have a job and I can buy my own scooters. Way better ones too.

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