It wasn’t supposed to rain today. I’m not the only person who thought that. Not one person on the street had an umbrella. It didn’t just rain. It stormed. Runners were soaked. Commuters were miserable. I was in my car listening to Betty Who and getting nostalgic about my childhood.
(After I pulled into a parking lot and waited out the heaviest of the rain, duh.)
As I slowly made my way through traffic, I saw two girls on bikes and suddenly I wished I were on a bike. I used to love riding my bike in the rain, through puddles, watching the water rise on either side of me. I used to love walking barefoot in the rain, wading through warm puddles then feeling the asphalt hard under my feet.
I’m not afraid of storms, in theory. And if I’m safe at home and in for good, I love a good storm. I love the shape of lightning and the crack of thunder. I like the way the world looks electric against gray skies. When I was a kid, my mom would sit us outside to watch the storms. We’d run to the beach when one started, to see the lightning fight the waves. I loved being in a car and watching the windshield wipers throw drops from the glass. But now I sit in parking lots and worry I won’t get home. This fear of rain began in adulthood, as many things do. Things that were never scary to me as a child are now the most terrifying. Snow. Wind. Rain. Most of the elements, I guess. I am most myself near water as long as I don’t have to go in it. And even though I love the sun, I am terrified it will kill me.
And I guess it wasn’t so much the bike riding I was missing as just the general feeling of innocence. Not watching the news and anticipating the end of the world. There’s a possible big change coming at the day job and I miss the security of going to school every day. Even if I failed, I still had a place to go. I miss having someone to fix the things I can’t, helping figure out problems that seemed so huge and life changing.
I’m sure it’s different now. Innocence is lost through the use of social media. Google can fix or solve anything. I didn’t have the most stable home growing up, but there was still a sense of security in childhood. The ability to imagine yourself out of where you were, onto bigger and better things. That’s lost in adulthood. I can still imagine bigger and better things but they seem a lot farther away. The need to be responsible to ensure my survival casually ruins my daydreams.
Not really sure what my point is/was. Maybe coming to terms with the fact that I am now An Old. Missing innocence. Missing when the worst that could happen when I drove in rain was a skinned knee and not a head-on collision. When the big day-to-day changes were who your teachers would be and worrying about whether your friends would be in your classes.
I guess I miss when I used to WANT to be an adult because now I am one and it’s not what I thought it would be. It’s fine. Just different.
Now who wants to bike through some puddles?