A Rural Texas Kid On A Bike
I don’t know his name, but over the course of the Skeeter Boat Owner’s Tournament, this kid wandered around riding his bike. The bike looked fierce, and it was clear the kid enjoyed riding it.
But at one point I looked up,and he was doing circles in my greenscreen photobooth area. Hmmm. Probably not a good idea, and I had to say something.
I was super nice, partly because I’d seen the kid a lot over the course of the two days, and partly because, while I didn’t want him doing circles in my photo area, I thought it was cool he was riding his bike. It flashed me back to my own childhood, and riding my three speeder with the banana seat all over my suburban neighborhood.
So while I told him it’d be better if he didn’t ride in the photo area, I also asked if he wanted a picture taken with his bike.
“Well, I’m not part of the contest,” he replied shyly.
“That’s ok,” I said, “it doesn’t matter.”
Enthusiastically, he posed. He picked the background of the entrance to the event grounds, and when we printed the photo for him, his eyes lit up.
“This is really neat,” he said. Those were his exact words. I remember because I haven’t heard anybody say something was “neat” in a long time.
My assistant — who was only a little older than Bike Kid — asked if he’d like to text message or email the photo.
“I don’t remember my email,” the kid replied, “and my phone is disconnected.”
So Nick, my assistant, handed him the print.
The kid wandered off, looking at the photo and muttering to himself. The bike rolled along next to him as he plodded in the Texas heat.
I didn’t think any more of it until it was time to pack up and close.
I looked up, and there was Bike Kid.
Now let me back up. It’d been an 11 hour shooting day, from 8 am in the morning until 7 pm that night. A storm rolled through, and so we had to scramble to shut everything down. It blew over, and within 10 minutes of shutting down, it was time to set back up. At mid-day, the temperature was 100. It was slightly cooler in the tent, but sweat rolled down my back, my assistant’s back, and everybody else’s back. It was day two of a two day shoot. The temperature day one? A slightly cooler 96. No storm. No breeze, either.
It was so humid in the morning of the second day, that when I set up and took my test shot, I couldn’t understand why it looked like mud. I’d forgotten (because of COVID it’s been a while!) that when you go from a artic-air conditioned room to near 100 percent humidity, the camera fogs up just like your sunglasses. It takes a few minutes to clear.
All that serves as background for looking up, at closing, as I’m packing up, and seeing Bike Kid staring at me.
“Do you do any video on your phone?” He asked. I hemmed and hawed, trying to figure out how to get rid of him without being rude.
“Can I show you something?”
I nearly through a rock at him. All I wanted to do was pack up and get into the cool arctic air motel room, followed by a shower and a dinner of fried everything. It is Texas.
“Well, I’m trying to get packed up…”
“It’ll only take a minute.”
Reluctantly, I handed him my phone, camera on.
He poked it a few times.
“You can toggle through different resolutions on video, did you know that?”
I didn’t know that.
“Oh, you have an iPhone SE,” a note of disapproval entering his voice, “that’s kinda old. But if you upgrade to a 13 or so you’ll get even higher (I think he said 7K) resolution.”
Two things. First, he was showing me something I didn’t know. And second, this kid, who had no cell phone, recognized mine by sight. More accurately, a kid who’s cell phone had been disconnected, was showing me something I didn’t know.
I told him it was super neat, what he was showing me, chuckling to myself. And, it was.
It also reminded me that kids, even those out in the middle of Nowhere, TX, are amazingly smart.
Of course I debated to myself if he was Autistic. Or OCD, or something.
I also wonder what he’ll be doing in 20 years. My guess is working for Apple and living in Santa Clara, CA. Wouldn’t that be neat.