Thursday, July 07, 2005

Scooters

For much of the time I have been here, I have been riding on a scooter. Basically, I am an above average passenger now. Riding is fun. I am with foreigners who are so confident in their driving that they exude it. It is easy to forget that there are no physicists behind the scenes of the roller coaster. Unlike Disneyland, everything is not built to be just that close.
As such, Stu or Graeme would ride around and I would sit blissful on the back and think "wow, that was close." People do really stupid things here, and driving is mostly dodging idiots at high speeds. Typically, I just sat in the back and looked around, fearlessly. Sometimes, we would drive around and I would picture myself in ourselves in horrific car wrecks. Stu would swerve in the rain and hit some pot hole and the bike would go sideways, I would go flying into moving traffic, clearing a good eighty-feet. The images were so grizzly they became comical.
The odd part about this was that I would just sit there thinking about it. I would not be nervous or anything, simply acknowledge that there was this possibility of a firey devastating wreck. It was not likely, it was specifically unlikely, but I would just sit there and play it out in my head. Afterwards, I would just think "Hump, that would be, unfortunate."
I avoided doing this because I was pretty confident it was sending the wrong sort of vibes to my drivers, whom I had already attached a great deal of mysticism.
So yesterday I rode a scooter for the first time. A little bike that had already had a long life. The first time I got on it, I was starting at a corner, with the bike facing a near by wall. Driving, well, sort of driving, I started going forward, fast, really fast.
I tried to steer by turning the head of the scooter, which, as anyone who knows, know, does not work, at all. Not even vaguely will that work at any real speed, and this was pretty real speed. At virtually the last moment I remembered which lever the brake was, and I stopped about three feet from the wall.
After that, I drove around like an old man, with both of my feet all the way out. It looks silly, but it makes balancings much easier. I practiced by going around the block, which occasionaly had me putting my foot on the ground, clearly a scooter no no.
The experience of losing my scooter virginity hurt a little, it was confusing, it was over very fast, it seemed like it would be better next time, and I was very glad that there was no blood.
Today I finally got a bike. It is being borrowed from a friend, it has a lot of character, poor character. Its as temperamental as they come. Occaisonaly it zips along, typically it does not. I usually have to remain full throttle the whole time. That said, the feeling of independence, of finally having a way to drive myself somewhere, was really great. Now I need to buy my own scooter, but at least I have a way of getting around
However, one problem that I realized just recently. I parked my scooter at the bottom of a garage with a very steep hill. My bike has only 50 CCs of power. Getting up that ramp will be near impossible. I think my will power might be the only thing that will save me. The little scooter that could.

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