Scooter Adventures


Walking and cycling has become significantly harder over the past few months. To stay mobile I decided that buying a scooter is the way to go. Even so, I’m still hesitant. It’s a big step to make. I told my young son I’m considering buying a scooter. He thinks it’s awesome. When I told him it has three wheels and not two he lost a bit of that enthusiasm, but he’s still on board. After a few test drives I’ve finally decided which one to get. It’s got a top speed of 15 km/h and has great suspension.

It’s been in my front yard since Wednesday. After three days of getting used to the thing, me and my husband decided to take the scooter for a spin on Saturday. We decided to go to the shopping centre. It’s late, so if we take a big detour the chances of running into anyone we know is very slim. Through the front yard. Looking left and right, making sure the coast is clear, and off I go. Scooters have some amazing acceleration capabilities. Its top speed proved to be a bit of a letdown on the tarmac, but other than that things are just fine. At the shopping centre my husband wanted to have a go on the scooter. While he’s grazing the pavement, my neighbour suddenly approached us. Busted. On neutral ground, being seen in a more compromised state somehow feels less impactful, especially when he told me that his son was deeply impressed by the speed at which I drove off earlier. That comforted me.

My next big test: going into town. I went to the cinema with a friend. We were both a little nervous. Crossing a bicycle path proved to be the most hazardous obstacle. A cyclist was coming right for us, so I instinctively pulled the lever that would be a brake on a bicycle. I forgot that pulling the lever on a scooter makes it go forward, while letting it go makes the scooter stop. So, of course, I ran right into him. He picked himself up, swearing. I mumbled something about the scooter being new and that my reflexes hadn’t adapted to it yet. My friend gave him my address in case I did lasting damage to him or his bicycle, and we were on our way again. It doesn’t really matter whether I liked the film we saw or not. The important thing is that we went.

Lastly, we went grocery shopping with the whole family. It was already dark, but still. My daughter wanted to sit at the front, but only if she could steer the scooter. I let her, despite the fact that the accident with the cyclist had made me a bit anxious. I quickly got over it. Not much can go wrong when you don’t go too fast. It all went off without a hitch. Unashamedly, I parked the scooter in my garden.

I think the scooter and I are going to be just fine.

September 1998
Jeanet van der Vlist, Leiden