I've been riding by myself a lot lately (which is a good thing to learn how to do), meaning i tend to think about stuff a lot, because i have no one to talk to about stuff.
Anyway, so i was riding the burbs loop, on my way home. I was kinda tired, and disoriented from having to wear arm warmers. Despite it being summer, there was a distinct autumnal chill to the air. As i rode along Heidelberg rd, i passed a mother and what i can only assume was her young daughter. Judging by the tears on the kid's face, and her tiny stature, i hazarded a guess that today was her first day of prep. And there she stood, all three feet of her, on the corner of a busy intersection with cars and trucks passing by, desperately clutching the hand of one of the few human beings she had spent any amount of time with in her short life.
I dunno if it was the slight chill to the air, or the intersection, or the girls baggy school dress, or a combination of everything- but i was instantly transported back to my first day of prep. I was a bit young for prep, having not quite turned five.
It was 1994, and i have a vague memory of it being a clear, slightly cool day, just like the one where i saw the girl. Mum got me dressed up in my uniform for Surry Hills Primary, complete with legionnaires hat, and took a photo. I haven't seen it for years, but i know i still have hilarious amounts of puppy fat, and im smiling broadly (something which hasn't changed much).
But i was fucking terrified. Walking to school with Mum, right up Broughton Rd, up to Cantabury Rd, i held mum's hand real tight, and didn't let the fuck go. Standing at the children's crossing, waiting for the nice crossing lady (who's name i can't remember) to blow her whistle, i remember realising that a seriously important chapter of my life had ended, and another was starting. This probably manifested itself in my gripping mum's hand even harder.
Prep is scary. People smell weird, other people's lunches are gross, and whoever learns how to tie their shoe laces first quickly sorts out a pecking order. For the record, i was quite low in that pecking order.
So i was thinking about all this as i watched this little girl sob, as she too realised a big chapter of her life was ending. As i rode away, i realised that, in twenty years time, she would probably have a similar experience to the one i just had, as she looked at some tiny kid (who isn't even a glint in the eye of anyone yet) on their first day of school.
I wouldn't call it a very sophisticated train of thought, or a particularly telling one, but these are the things you think about on morning rides.