If death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down, then scootering must be her way of telling you to speed up. Freewheeling along the pavement is the most fun a woman of my age can have in public and still keep her dignity. It’s certainly the most fun you can have whilst trying to get two grouchy children to school. When I’m on a scooter, with a fair wind behind me and a downward slope ahead, I feel like a rock chick. I am the queen of the pavement, and I am living the dream.
The scooter and I have history. In our years together I have worn through two brakes, a set of foam handles and a rubber thing that snapped off and was never replaced. So I have been resistant to suggestions from Mr B that the scooter is past its best. He doesn’t like the way it’s battered and scratched, or that it clatters and jangles as I career along the pavement. Mr B thinks scooters should be shiny and inaudible. He especially thinks they should be inaudible. So for Christmas he said he would buy me a new one.
I greeted this generous offer with the same enthusiasm as if he’d said he would set fire to my hair. But I am a good wife, and so, with heavy heart, I trawled the scooter catalogue for a suitable option. And after some deliberation, I decided that a new version of the scooter I already have would be the perfect replacement.
Of course, I hadn’t taken account of the fact that Mr B had already picked the scooter he wanted to buy, and it wasn’t the one I’d chosen. So on Christmas day I unwrapped the shiny, silent new scooter that I hadn’t chosen, and I have been waiting eagerly for the children to go back to school so I can put it through its paces.
But here’s the problem. My husband assured me, despite my protestations to the contrary, that I needed a scooter with a soft suspension (wooden footboard) not the ‘sporty’ suspension (metal footboard) of my old scooter. But now I have it, I have found out that the soft suspension is like scootering along the top of a very large marshmallow, with the effect that the new scooter’s maximum speed is more of a ‘disappointing dawdle’ than an ‘exhilarating dash’. Although I would have to say that this is probably a safety feature, since it is nearly impossible to use the brake on the thing.
For those unfamiliar with the engineering subtleties of a scooter, the brakes are on the back wheel and operated by your foot. Only this one is cleverly positioned so as to make it nearly impossible to actually get my foot on it, and when I do make contact, the brake has no sense of urgency. In fact, it seems entirely oblivious to the importance of slowing down before I hit an ambling pedestrian or darting toddler. This certainly makes for a more exciting journey, but, overall, I would have to say that it is not a benefit.
So I am back on the old scooter, rattling along the school-run with the sun in my face and the wind in my hair. Meanwhile the new scooter is languishing in our hallway creating a health and safety hazard for anyone who wants to go up or down the stairs.
I love my husband. I love that he thinks I need and deserve shiny, new, things. It’s just that the stealth scooter isn’t the one for me. After all, if I changed something every time I’d had it a while, or it rattled a bit, I would have gone through at least three husbands by now. And, to be honest, I’m more than happy with the one I already have. Whoever said ‘out with the old and in with the new’ really didn’t know what they were talking about.
PS Unless it’s a full-on hurricane with a snow-storm chaser we always scoot to school and I love it. Both my old and my new scooter are from microscooter and they have lots of options for children and adults.