If you look up the word “fearless” in the dictionary, you will NOT see my face. In fact, if you’re looking at a thesaurus that shows antonyms, there I will be, timidly smiling. I don’t swim because I’m afraid of water. There is nothing that could make me go onto a roller coaster that climbs more than three feet (as my brother would say, “it’s just a matter of time.”)
Sky diving? Nope.
Parasailing? Not on your life.
Ziplining? Let’s get serious.
But 13 years ago, for some inexplicable reason, I decided I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle. In fact, I didn’t just want to learn to ride a motorcycle, I decided I wanted to buy a small motorcycle so that I could ride alongside Bill on his gigantic Yamaha Road Star. I can’t exactly tell you why, but somehow it seemed like a good idea at the time.
When I told Bill my plans, it’s safe to say he was pretty surprised.
“A motorcycle?” he asked.
“A motorcycle,” I confirmed.
In his gentle and calm, but firm, manner, Bill was able to convince me that a motorcycle wasn’t a good idea for me, but that perhaps I might want to consider a motor scooter instead.
A scooter. My only experience with scooters was seeing them on our trips to Italy, driving crazily around the streets of Rome, sounding like giant mosquitos. For all intents and purposes, there were no scooters to be found – at least in Denver. They simply hadn’t made their way across the Atlantic Ocean, or if they had, they hadn’t made it to the Colorado mountains.
I began doing some research, and decided I wanted to buy an Italian scooter, and I was leaning towards a Vespa. After all, they came in such pretty colors and you could buy a matching helmet. I considered pink. You think I’m kidding.
A scooter store had recently opened. Bill and I headed down to Sportique, and I sat on a Vespa. I immediately realized that my legs were so short that the wide body on that adorable scooter was simply uncomfortable given my narrow leg span. Dang.
But the nice salesman, surprised to see a middle-aged woman interested in a scooter, steered me to an Italian scooter with a narrower body called a Scarabeo Aprilia. I sat down and fell in love.
One test drive and $2500 later and I was the proud owner of an Aprilia scooter. Bill drove it home for me as I was too timid (remember that picture in the dictionary?).
Later that afternoon, he took me to a nearby almost-vacant shopping area with a big parking lot, set out some coffee cans, and gave me driving lessons. Flashback to my dad giving me driving lessons in the parking lot of Ag Park in Columbus when I was 15.
Now, 6,783 mile later, I still ride that scooter nearly every day during the summer. When I first got it, I bravely rode it 15 miles each way almost every day to and from work downtown. Now I mostly ride it around the neighborhood – to and from the grocery store, over to the grandkids’ houses, back and forth to the library. It costs me $3 – $4 to fill it up, and I get in the neighborhood of 60 mpg. Nice.
Every spring when Bill gets it going again after its long winter’s nap, I feel completely and totally happy as I ride. I love the feel of the wind in my face; I love to zip around the corners; I am delighted when I see the looks on the faces of people who realize they are looking at a 60-year-old woman driving this adorable navy blue scooter.
Now, of course, there are scooters everywhere you look. I sat at a stoplight recently and saw three others besides me at the same light. But I know that, for once in my life, I was ahead of the curve.
My sister Bec, who really IS fearless, always tells me she can’t believe I won’t ride a roller coaster but I will ride a scooter. Of course I realize the chances of an unthinkable accident are much, much higher with the scooter than with a roller coaster. Still, I’m very careful, and my scooter doesn’t make me feel like tossing my cookies.
By the way, here is what I look like to you when you see me on my scooter…..
Here is what I look like to me when I ride my scooter…..
Yep. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Roman Holiday. Need I say more?
Nana’s Notes: Baby Bird Update. I’m sorry to say my friends that the baby bird is nowhere to be seen. The mommy bird spent all day yesterday looking for him where he had last been seen. I fear he was washed out in the fierce rain. Such is nature. Very sad.