"Right now, I work as a bike messenger to make money, so I can go to school. I've worked in construction, mail rooms, law firms, and the military, but this is the best job yet. I am going to hate to give this up. See, I am one of the crazier ones out here. The other messengers call me 'Hood Ornament.' I ride around these streets like the devil! All of my life, I've been riding. People always called me crazy because I would ride from Southeast to Northwest, like that was some long-ass trip. Come on man, D.C. is eight miles by ten miles. That's nothing on a bike. I get around everywhere in 15 minutes flat.
"While D.C. has bike lanes, people don't look out for bikers here. I've been in two crazy accidents. Once, a black luxury cab hit me on purpose. The cops did nothing about it. Another time, I got cut off by a car and thrown 15 feet into the air. I woke up with a neck brace on and a dislocated shoulder. I can't always blame the drivers, though. When I am driving, I'm not always looking for bikes either. You'll think I'm crazy, but I still never wear a helmet. They are bulky, make me sweat, and make my ears smell. I know, I'm crazy, but you gotta go sometime. If it's gonna happen, it's just gonna happen. You might as well enjoy the trip and let your hair flow in the wind.
"Soon, I guess, I won't have to worry about this craziness as much as I'll have a desk job. Now, I am studying information systems to work in homeland security. I have a military background and am looking to get back into that field. When I got out of the Marines in 1999, many people wouldn't hire me because I had the 'Marine mentality.' That was crazy to me! Now, with all this terrorism and homeland security, things are different and people want the 'Marine mentality.'
"I was the first person in my family to go to the Marines. I got out on December 4, 1999. That was right before the Iraq conflict, but I spent six months in Bosnia. After me, all of my cousins went to the Marines. I even have a cousin who went to Iraq twice. Now, it's a family tradition. Being a Marine doesn't make being a bike messenger easy, but it makes it easier. I am much more patient now when buses and cabs cut me off, which happens all the time. Only real bad thing about going back to that military work will be cutting my hair. But for the right amount of money, I'll follow the rules to a 't.'"