Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Young & the Stupid

While talking to an old friend yesterday, I was reminded of all the times we shared. Stacy and I knew each other since we were thirteen years old. Back then, I had two quads and one trike. (ATVs) We used to hop on my quad and venture through the thick woods of the Appalachian trails. We were fearless; no thoughts of ‘what if we ran out of gas’, or ‘what if we saw a bear’. We traveled miles and miles to get to nowhere. As soon as the neighborhood kids had seen that I had all these fun toys, I noticed them getting them as well.

When I was around sixteen, my adventures turned into wild parties. Summer nights, we would all gather around this big tower on top of the mountain at 8pm. We then made our way to the sandpits to build a huge bonfire. When the sun went down, it was always fascinating to drive through the woods while our bright headlights showed the way. There were always cases of beer strapped behind our quads. That was a given. We partied till hours of the night. It’s one of the best times I can remember.

On one particular evening, we headed out to a new place to party. We were bored of the same ol’ sandpit and needed different scenery. There was a trail that led into a huge circle. It was a dead end—you can almost say it was a woodsy cul-de-sac. We collected wood and twigs and made our bonfire big and strong. We sat around socializing, as other kids on their ATVs came zooming in for the fun. There were a few big rocks to sit on, as well as these steel pipe-like things coming out of the ground. It must have been a waterline or something.

Hours later, we saw flashing lights and heard loud sirens. We didn’t know what was going on. There must have been a fire brewing somewhere. It sounded like fire engines roaring through the nearby streets. We were pretty close to the neighborhood, but far enough where no one could see us. We didn’t think about the sound levels we echoed throughout the woods.

Moments later, we saw the fire trucks making their way towards us---through the tiny trail! The cops were right behind them as well. There must have been three fire trucks and a few cop cars. The firefighters immediately washed our beautiful bonfire out with one swipe of their hose.

“Do you know what you’re doing?”
”What? What’s wrong?”
One kid asked.
“This is a gas line! You kids could have blown up the entire neighborhood! Thank God one of the neighbors heard you all!” The firefighter screamed at us for the stupid stunt we pulled.

I have to say that it was a total buzz kill. I couldn’t believe we were so close to blowing up our own neighborhood. No one got charged or in trouble. We were all sent home and told not to come back out, or we would get arrested. The next day, the trail was blocked off with huge boulders and chains. They attached signs to it warning people of trespassing. I’m just glad I got out of there alive.