“Some guy died on the freeway, and my dad was late picking me up. I think it was some biker who got hit. My dad says he drove past a bike and a white sheet with a person-shaped lump under it on Highway 24.”
Little Short Nuggets of Life is an ongoing collection of vignettes about events in the author’s life. The stories below are highlights from the seven snippets that have been written so far. Enjoy!
Some guy died on the freeway, and my dad was late picking me up. I think it was some biker who got hit. My dad says he drove past a bike and a white sheet with a person-shaped lump under it on Highway 24. Anyway, I got dropped off at the bus stop at 3:20 in the afternoon. And after waiting for about five minutes, I began to become restless. I know that sounds lame, but first, I usually get picked up within at least the first two minutes. And second, five minutes is so long when you’re just sitting there. Like, seriously. Have somebody set a timer for five minutes and just sit there and try to guess when five minutes have passed. I’ll bet you say, “Stop,” around three minutes. A minute is a long time! And then when you put five of them together, it’s like, six times as long a time. Around minute seven, I started practicing jumping up and clicking my heels twice. I only got it twice. Again, it sounds easy, but it really isn’t! Then I started trying to teach myself Patty Cake. I am an expert now. Then, I just sat there a bit more. The bus and everyone else had left by now. Then I counted how many birds I could spot in a minute. It was eight. Then I practiced what I would say to my mom when she finally came. I started talking to myself. Not because I was going insane, but because that’s what I do when there’s nothing else to do. There was a car this whole time that would circle the block with a woman in it with AirPods. She went around four times. I think she was lost. Everytime she came back, I was like, “Oh it’s you again!” There was a pea plant and I would pick a pea pod and squeeze it to see how far I could shoot the peas. Turns out, not all that far. So I just waited. A bit more.
A random thought I had today, “What if there was a store that was filled with people and mosquitos could just come along and be like, ‘O negative, please.’ And the cashier would say ‘Oh, try aisle four on the right side.’ And then the mosquito would go to aisle four and pick out the human they wanted and take it home to drink the person’s blood.”
Then what would happen is when a mosquito bought a bunch of humans, they would get to the exit and see one of those huge bins for food that gets donated to the food bank and stick in a baby or two. How would a mosquito check if a human was good? By how long their hair is? Or how soft the bottom of their feet are? And there would be farms for humans that are B+ and farms for humans that are A-. How would they pay for the humans? What do mosquitoes use for currency? What do ants use for currency? Ants are so advanced and have such complicated ant hills that maybe they use money, too. I wonder if bees know that they will die if they sting somebody. I heard that all bees are female except for the workers, who basically get treated like slaves. They just work until they aren’t needed anymore. Then the queen just pushes them out the door and leaves them to die. That’s so sad! Imagine if humans did that. “Oh, little Billy. We don’t have a use for you anymore! Well, you’re on your own now!” While writing this I thought, “What are some other insects I could talk about?” So I Googled, “Cool Insect Facts.” And here’s what popped up: Did you know that 90% of species on Earth are insects? I mean, that’s just so many. And I learned that 290 million years ago there was this dragonfly that had a wingspan of three feet! It went around terrorizing lizards and being a jerk to everybody. Do insects name their babies? I also found out that termite queens can lay 7,000 eggs in a day. Imagine how painful that would be. Just laying eggs all day long. You would never get to just relax. Just eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs and eggs upon eggs upon eggs. Anyway, that’s what I have to say about insects. I guess insect life will just remain a mystery.
So in Berkeley around this time it’s been getting really hot. And everyone is rejoicing. For the past two months, we have had rain almost every single day, and when it’s not raining, it’s overcast. But recently I have been able to wear short sleeve shirts and shorts. At the same time, I am melting onto the sidewalk practically, but it’s a small price to pay for all this glorious sunshine. I just constantly want to be outside. Sometimes, in the middle of class, I just feel a strong, burning desire to go run in a meadow or jump in a pool somewhere. Although today might have been an exception. We have this thing at school called Endurance Day and it was today. We ran the 800-meter dash. And everyone was so slow. One kid took seven minutes. It was so boiling, like somewhere someone had dropped an atom bomb. But instead of, you know, leveling a whole city, it released an insane flood of sunshine. The quickest time was four minutes, sixteen seconds. To put that in perspective, the average 800-meter time is from 3:16 all the way to 3:30. That’s around a minute slower than what your time should be. At the end, I was so tired that I rubbed my face against a cool pole that was in the shade. And by the way, it felt wonderful. This afternoon, I am going to take full and complete advantage of the heat and throw a backyard dance party. Maybe I’ll invite the really weird recluse tenant in our backyard. She works at the lace museum and spends her weekends going to Renaissance fairs and jousting in actual chainmail on actual horses. And when you look up “awkward” in the dictionary, a picture of her comes up. She seems to not really participate in the normal hobbies people in society participate in. What’s the morale? I don’t know. Maybe rub a pole to cool down. Anyway, that’s the end I suppose.