I didn’t hesitate. Putting my left foot on its pedal, I pushed off, raising myself onto the seat. I was freefalling. My brother wasn’t with me; I was alone, an eagle soaring. That’s when it came into view: A pothole the size of a manhole cover. It wasn’t a pothole it was a crater. The tire jammed down hard jarring the high-rise handlebars. I held fast. I had to ride it out. Another pothole and another and another of that forgotten backstreet caused the thrill of my short life to become a nightmare. The handlebars were no longer in my hands, cars were coming straight for me, then the concrete curb and it was over.
I woke up looking at my mother. She was gently calling, almost whispering, my name. As she placed me over her shoulder my head turned to see cars lined down my street. They were at an odd angle that defied the law of gravity. I saw my younger brother standing, unscathed, next to my crumpled bike, his face white with fear. I heard myself crying and telling my mother I was sorry. I remember her white sleeveless blouse was growing a large red spot as she carried me to my room. My room was a carousel. My mother voice; echoes. I slept.
When I awoke it was dark. Had I dreamed my ride? I felt my face. My loosened front teeth said otherwise. But I had done it. I had made the ride. If I had not I think I would have forgotten that red bicycle with its checked banana seat. I would have forgotten how steep the hill was that I lived on. I wouldn’t have remembered my mother wore a sleeveless white blouse that day. Those 60 seconds of life is crystal clear nearly 40 years later. I’m glad I took that ride. I’m glad it happened the way it did.
It is why I came to a small agency in a small market. It’s why we ignore the excuses made for small markets not doing good work. It’s why we work together, planning, creating, and finding new ways to do advertising. It’s why we are together from the beginning to the end of a project. We want the thrill. Will we crash, bloodying our noses? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean we’ll fail. It just might be what it takes to get the job done.