Thanks To A Cool Person

13 July 2021

Somebody I grew up with would have turned 29 today if they hadn’t died in a motorbike accident 2 years ago. I’ll use the name P.

The past few months I thought of P almost every day as I threw my leg over my motorbike. Since my own little accident I haven’t thought of P too often because I haven’t ridden in almost 2 months.

I wouldn’t have known it was P’s birthday if not for social networking apps. Some people I went to school with used today as an opportunity to post photos of P. Those posts got me thinking.

What would P say? Would he make fun of my choice of wheels? What would the family say? Would they discourage me from riding?

Of course, I’ll never know what P would think. Frankly, I don’t really care. P impacted me when we didn’t know the difference between Yamahas or Royal Enfields. We were about 6 years old. We watched Godzilla and smacked each others’ heads with Sock ‘em Boppers and laughed and ran around their Harbord house and P just didn’t care the way I did about social stuff.

P was ‘cool’ in the truest sense, not because of what he wore. Though he did wear cool clothes. What P was was nonchalant before I even knew what nonchalance was.

Happier now, I looked again at those social media posts made by his closer friends. Fashions have changed a bit and photo quality has improved a bit. I can tell the photos are old, because the people posting the photos look a bit older.

In a few more years we’ll look even older. P will look the same.

In a few more years again, the photos will look even older. Fashions will be even more different. Pixellated and washed-out colours are going to be the hallmarks. At that point, everybody, not just the ones who know P, will be able to tell that we’re looking at some old photos. We’ll be like those grieving parents you see in documentaries, thumbing through old photos looking at children decades younger than themselves.

I started to feel sad again. I took another look at those social media posts made by his closer friends, and saw P looking cool. Then I smiled and thanked that nonchalant 6-year-old for being the first person to show me what being cool might look like.