It was Summer and we were in middle school. With our free time after church service on Sundays, we almost always made our way to the Lollicup a block away. It was the best way to quench our thirst and satisfy our sugary needs.
But before we freely roamed the streets of Chinatown, we found ourselves asking the question “is it safe?”
There were a couple announcements made during youth service saying that kids like us really shouldn’t be wandering around Chinatown without any sort of adult supervision. The overarching theme of this was to make it sound unappealing or unsafe. Innocent and naive, we just took it for fact. I’m sure there was good reasoning for this. Looking back at it now, there were certainly some kids that would ditch service or Sunday School to roam around Chinatown instead, so I’m sure they were trying to discourage that. On that note, the church was probably somewhat liable, in that parents expect their kids to be at certain locations at certain times. Or maybe there was an incident I don’t know about.
Before it became all gentrified, I remember Chinatown looked a lot slummier when I was 6 or 7. I clung close to my mom on the short walks to the restaurant we frequented on Sundays. I remember seeing lots of poop, trash and smokers. Of course, I’m sure my young self exaggerated the things I saw.
So, the very first time we took the streets on our own, Matt, Stu, Caleb and I invented the diamond formation. Rather than walk around like a defenseless herd of sheep, we chose to instead walk in such a way that we could possibly defend against any sort of danger (strangers, crazy people. etc.) This was our logic:
“Well, Matt is super buff, so he should walk in front. Caleb and Stu are like 4 feet tall and probably weak, so they’ll walk behind Matt along his sides. Josh is pretty strong, so he’ll walk in back, so he can watch all of our backs.”
Thus, we walked in the shape of a diamond. We kept our heads on a swivel and remained in a tight formation and walked to Lollicup, got our drinks, and back with no trouble. After that day, we concluded “well, I guess there’s nothing to be that afraid of”.
Even though we’re 11 or 12 in this story, I’m sure we were ready to throw down!
Oh, where was Marty? Probably being super mature and hanging out with all the girls of course.
From then on we just freely walked to and from Lollicup after service.