The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of Project Open Voices, a coalition of students providing a platform for open dialogue on campus. Today’s essay is titled “I Know You’d Do the Same for Me” and was authored anonymously. POV is always accepting new submissions, so if you want to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can submit by signing into a second email account: email@example.com (password: kenyoncollege). POV meets Saturdays at 4pm in the Bemis music room in Peirce; new faces are always welcome.
Last semester on a Saturday night I saw someone throw a bike down to the lawn outside Mather. It was late, around 3:00 a.m., and I was walking home alone. As I walked up the path that curves up from the side of Gund to Mather and McBride, I saw a drunken student heave this bike over the path ahead of me, over the fence, down to the lawn.
I got frustrated and mostly very annoyed. This was around the time when our campus was experiencing a lot of random, irresponsible acts of vandalism, and here it seemed like I found a person contributing to that. Not only is it disrespectful to damage another person’s property, but it suggests a sense of entitlement and lack of social awareness. It’s also just really lame. Yes, this person was drunk, but that does not excuse such acts. This is a community that we all decided to be a part of. I sometimes think that we all assume a lot of things about each other at Kenyon. For some, having a bike is a financial investment. Maybe that was a gift or maybe it was simply purchased at a garage sale. Regardless, it has some sort of value for someone, and the fact that a drunken guy carelessly threw it, and possibly damaged it, is an act of disrespect and even dominance. Maybe I’m even assuming: perhaps, it was that guy’s own bike after all. The bottom line is Kenyon spaces are owned by all of us here in the community and we need to exercise mindfulness and respect. When you do that to someone’s property it directly affects me too.
The other annoying part of this situation was my reaction. Instead of stepping in, maybe telling him that wasn’t cool, I sped up walking. I wasn’t sure how to handle it. I am a woman, I was walking home late, and a lot of weird things were going on, safety-wise, around campus in general at that time. But I couldn’t stop thinking about a POV narrative I read last year about someone’s own bike being damaged, and how frustrating that was for them. I witnessed someone’s bike being damaged, and instead of acting like I thought I would, I let someone down. So the responsibility isn’t just on that bike damager, but it’s on me too, as a witness.
We need to all be a little more kind to each other, especially kind to those who we don’t see, or personally know, that whole anonymous Kenyon Student Body. Because Kenyon is a community and should be a safe space for everyone. And when you are walking past all those bike racks full of bikes, those are all individual people. When we are walking down Middle Path, we’re making footsteps along with thousands of individual footsteps of individual people. We are all unique people but we all chose to go to this wonderful school and be a part of this small community. So I apologize on behalf of that drunken bike thrower and myself, the un-acting witness, to whomever found their bike on Mather lawn. I promise next time I’ll really look out for it. I know you’d do the same for me.