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I needed a topic to write about, and it just so happened that I crashed into it – literally! So literal in fact, that it makes me shiver whenever I think about it. It all happened a couple weekends ago, when I went to the Nu’uanu YMCA (the one along the Pali Highway). This is where I met my friends who were about to take me on a journey that I wish I hadn’t gone.
It was still early in the day, by no means past three o’clock. While I was sitting at the bus stop, I noticed it was a nice day. The sky was a brilliant azure with a few white pillows here and there. I was overcome with that mysterious feeling that one might get when someone smiles at him or her and the only thing he or she can do is smile back. The sky was smiling at me. I told myself, “Today is going to be a good day.” How wrong I would be.
I caught the bus to the Nu’uanu YMCA, a place that always brings back a lot of memories, some of which I’d rather forget. I never really realize that I have lived so much of my past there. My plan for the day was to meet my best friend, Isaac, who worked at that YMCA. However, as soon as I got there, I just so happened to bump into some other friends from the YMCA. I’ve known Bradley (sometimes called Brad for short) and Travis for quite a while now. I met them two or three years ago when I joined the YMCA. During my conversation with Brad, he asked me if I wanted to join them for a night of riding mopeds. I eagerly accepted his offer.
We called up about a dozen rental places, but all of them were closed. Then Travis remembered hearing about moped rentals in Waikiki that were supposedly open until late in the night. We soon found out that this bit of information wouldn’t help us much because we couldn’t remember where exactly the place was. So we ended up going to Waikiki searching for this place. We looked like three tourists. Brad drove while Travis searched the right and I searched the left. After being lost for more than an hour, we eventually found the place. But finding the shop wasn’t the worst part about getting the mopeds.
I never knew it took so long to rent a moped. It took a whole 30 minutes for the paper work, then another 15 minutes for the common sense explanation of how to start the engine. The disappointing part was that we needed to get to Kaneohe by eleven. Brad told Travis and I to meet him back at the YMCA because he had to go home to get his moped. We didn’t start riding until 9:30, and to make it worse, the scooter went only 30 miles-per-hour. We made it back to the YMCA by 9:45. It took us only 15 minutes to get back; I was impressed. When we got there, Brad was waiting for us, and I guess he didn’t feel the same because as we got near him we heard him swearing up a storm while he tried to start up his moped.
We were finally ready to start our night. Brad was the first one out of the parking lot with Travis and I following behind. While we were sitting at the first stop light Brad’s moped’s engine dies. It was quite difficult trying to start that thing back up. We did get a good laugh, however, watching him on the sidewalk, jumping up and down on his starter. By the time he got it started, he was all red in the face and wasn’t a happy camper.
Right after we got out of all the traffic lights he zoomed far ahead of us, trying to make a point that his moped was faster than ours. I guess he didn’t enjoy us laughing at his misfortune. Travis and I were wondering when he was going to start slowing down. It would be pretty scary to go up and down Pali Highway by one’s self, especially if he or she were on a moped. It didn’t take long for him to swallow his pride and allow us to catch up. Everything was going well, and it was actually getting pretty exciting.
We were well along our way when we came across this cutoff that took us through a short, but quite disturbing road. I think something must’ve gone wrong in our minds at that exact moment, because our consciences told us to take the alternative route. We were all scared to go through with it but something made Brad accelerate, and we, being the idiots that we were, naively followed him. I was shivering in fear as my imagination reminded me about ghost stories that took place in that area. The only thing keeping my imagination from getting the best of me was the occasional cars that passed by every so often. I kept saying to myself, “Please don’t let my moped die. Please don’t let my moped die. Please. Please. Please.
Once back on the main road I felt a little at ease, but still a little cautious, for it was my first time on a moped. So one could imagine how I must’ve felt going over the Pali with a moped, much less it being the first time I’d ever ridden on one. We were almost to the tunnels when Bradley told me to keep on the right side once we entered. I listened to him and shifted to the right like he said, and I felt kind of uneasy. When we were about half way through the tunnel Brad got scared and swerved to the right. Because I was just to the right on him, I had to swerve to avoid him. This sent me straight into the side of the tunnel. I was at full speed when I hit the wall. At this point, everything seemed to be in slow motion because it felt like it took forever for me to stop. I stayed conscience after grinding my knee into the curb, then hitting the wall with my shoulder, which caused me to spin out and tumble a good 15 feet before coming to a halt. After coming back to my senses I slid my battered leg from under the moped and got up, checking for damages.
My jewelry, clothes and body parts were all intact. My knee was pretty messed up from the crash and it looked like a piece of meat that had been burnt by a fire. What was amazing was there were no cuts or scrapes on my hands and my pants were perfectly clean. After getting up and checking my vital signs I picked up the moped and restarted it, got on, and looked back at the car behind me. The passengers in the other car look horrified from what they saw. I somewhat managed to put a smile on my face before driving off, out of the Pali tunnel.
My friends and I stopped at one of the tourist lookouts to see if I was actually okay. Right after we got into the parking lot, the car that almost took my life followed us there. The driver of the car thought that we were drunk which kind of upset me. I’m not so sure I had the right to be upset since I must’ve scared that guy half to death. I was in a state of shock and fortunately I couldn’t feel the pain yet. We rode past the gulch and took the left. This made our destination the mini golf course in Kaneohe. As we got closer to the golf course I noticed that my knee had been bleeding and that it was dripping down my leg. I made sense of it all and came to the conclusion that I was very lucky to be alive.
As it turned out, the YMCA was having a teen outing at the mini golf course. This made me feel somewhat retarded walking in there in front of everyone I knew from the YMCA with my shirt half black from my wrestling match with the filthy asphalt and my knee and shoulder oozing blood. To my surprise no one really noticed that I was dirty so they definitely never knew what had just happened to me. I went straight to the restroom so I could clean up a bit, and boy, was I dirty. Twenty gallons of water must have gone down the drain before my wound was clean. I must have also half emptied the soap dispenser. I asked the front desk if they had any Hydrogen Peroxide, but all they had was alcohol wipes. When I realized this could seriously get infected I told Brad that I should go to Castle Hospital, so I could get properly examined and cleaned up.
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