If you happen to see me walking a little askance, well I have a pretty good explanation. You see, we spent the weekend back in Western New York with my family and I got it in my head to try out my brother’s Vespa-like scooter (I say Vespa-like because I don’t know who actually made his scooter and I don’t know that he’ll ever let me near it enough again to find out).
Some things to remember:
1) I think I’m fairly athletic
2) I don’t believe that how old one is needs to match the actual years you’ve been on earth
3) I have a tendency to not have as much gracefulness as I hope to possess when presented with a situation in front of a large group
4) I am confident/dumb enough to believe I can do many things I have never tried before
5) I am smart enough to wear a helmet
Those 5 points make for a dangerous combination, but I usually make it work. So Sunday evening, with the opportunity to try out a scooter for the first time, I had to say yes.
The orientation on the location of the brakes, throttle, and how to turn took about as long as I needed to put the helmet on. After all, I have ridden a bike since I was tiny and have done some serious mileage on a bicycle in my days. What could be different?
The next 5 seconds turned out like this:
second 1: Scooter started. I hit the throttle a little. Start to move.
second 2: Family in my immediate direction get look of panic when they realize I am heading their way. I realize that I need to make a 100 degree turn to go down driveway. I try to break.
second 3: First of my “WHOAA!” shouts as I try to break. Can’t figure out why bike is still throttling while I am breaking. Family is staring in disbelief at my display of complete lack of coordination.
second 4: Second of my “WHOAA!” shouts. Nearly getting whiplash at the war between brakes and throttle happening with the scooter.
second 5: Final “AAAGH!” Because brakes won the battle, and no more forward momentum is there to keep me upright on the scooter, I fall over. I land on my left knee and my head hits the pavement. Humiliation is complete.
Now, you should know that my children did not witness this happening because they were having fun with their cousin at the time. Therefore, they were spared what their future fate may look like as they age. They did run over after hearing my shouts and that of the family because they knew something big had happened.
You should also know that one who is learning to drive a scooter should not be expected to get the throttle/brake/turning routine down all at the same time in the first 10 feet.
Finally, you should know that I went down laughing. Even better, I got back up, dusted myself off and got on it again. Went down the long driveway and back without another wipeout.
Thankfully, the girls were there to see that part of the adventure. It’s the lesson I hope they learned from it.
The lesson I learned is that helmets are my friend. And scooters may be.