The Chopper and Scoot

You first have to realize how ridiculous I look on a yellow scooter. Yellow. As if a 50-cc scooter isn't wimpy enough - with its buzzing sound, its 35 MPH top speed, and its unnaturally small wheels - it has to be yellow. Not black with a skull and crossbones, or even a respectable silver or dark blue. Nope - yellow. But it's the wimpy yellow that makes this story interesting.

You see I was riding my wimpy yellow scooter home from work as I did most days. I bought this scooter from my grandma, who in turn bought it when she was 80 years old to go to the store and library. That's the kind of hog we're talking about here. The kind where you don't ride it on main roads because it can't quite keep up with traffic, and little old ladies in their Buicks will honk out of impatience (true story).

However, "scoot" gets 100 miles to a gallon and I only have to travel neighborhood streets to get to work. That neighborhood street is where this story starts.

Picture a long straight neighborhood street, speed limit of 30, a stoplight about every half mile. Now picture me on this wimpy little scoot, barely getting up to the speed limit before having to slow down for the next stoplight.

Now picture the opposite of me - a hardened biker on a chopper. The back tire is two feet wide, arms up high, music blaring (I'm sure it was Motley Crew), sunglasses, over-tanned face, leather boots, probably fire spraying somewhere, has never even considered wearing a helmet - the real deal, at least in his mind. Picture this man's man turning onto the neighborhood street just before I do. He catches a glimpse of me on my puny yellow hog turning behind him, wearing a white helmet. Safety first, you know? The sight of me is offensive to this purebred.

He lets it rip just to show me who's boss. 0-60 in 0 seconds.

I let it rip too, well more of that weeeeeee buzz, gradually getting up to speed. 0-60 in, well, I can't go 60. But I do catch up to him because of those stoplights I mentioned. I get there just as the light turns green. He looks at me in his mirror, with contempt. And when the light turns green, he again shows me who's boss. Louder and more obnoxious than before, he quickly turns me into a fading object in his mirror.

But, thanks to the next stoplight also turning red, I gradually grow in size in his mirror, and he once again shakes his head. The light turns green, I get another round of hearing loss.

Now traveling this little road day-in and day-out, I've learned a few things about traffic patterns. And, like anyone with a commute, I've tried every permutation of the route home. This being a neighborhood with one main street, there aren't many options. However, there is a four-way stop up ahead, and if the traffic is just right - where enough cars are queueing up on the main street, but nobody is coming in from the side street - it can be slightly quicker to cut over a block early, go up a block, and then back to the same stop sign. If things work out just right there will be nobody to wait on, and I could make it through the stop sign a car or two faster. It usually doesn't work out. Maybe once out of five times it pays off. It's almost never worth the trouble. Almost never.

But since this cool-cat and I have our friendly punching-bag-like relationship, wouldn't today just be the day to give it a try?

And so I did, and so it happened. I went over, and up, and back to the stop sign, and waited my turn. A sly little smile crept across my face as I realized who I get to pull out ahead of. Scoot was now the leader of this odd gang of two.

The scooter gods were smiling upon us that day - me and puny yellow. Oh the satisfaction. I'm pretty sure scoot never glistened more brightly than pulling out in front of the cool-cat, with our blinker on. There was a spring in his roll, dare I say a slightly deeper rumble in his buzz.

And as we continued down our route, on each turn of a stoplight, the chopper had to go 0-60 at the same speed as yellow scoot, and I got to watch him in my mirror, not getting any farther away.

Scoot, looking tough!

Good-old scoot. Looking tough taking on a hail storm and small flood.