As far as earworms go, this is a decent one to have. 🙂
So in my quest to get outside of myself a little bit and try new things, I stumbled upon the opportunity to try out a Segway.
A Segway is basically an electric scooter – except it doesn’t have a seat. You stand on this contraption and lean backward or forward to make it go or stop. The thing is designed with computerized sensors and gyroscopes that somehow sense your motions and respond accordingly.
Which I read as “the computer will SMELL YOUR FEAR and laugh maniacally as it pitches you violently to the ground.”
It looks pretty menacing. And, for the record, the dude who bought the company in 2010 was promptly thrown off a cliff by one of his products. TRUE STORY BRO.
But, on the other hand, thousands of people ride these things every year. I see Security zipping around the airport and the mall on Segways all the time. And many major metropolitan areas have local tours, given while riding Segways.
So…how bad can it be? If you can chuck a group of jet-lagged novices on these, and generally have a reasonable expectation that you’ll end the tour with the same number of people you started with, it’s gotta be somewhat safe…right?
I located a local Segway tour and signed myself and my son up. (My daughter wasn’t all that interested. Plus, this way, if my son and I perished in a terrible Segway fire, there’d be someone to inherit my jewelry.)
My son was mildly interested in trying the Segway. He was decidedly less interested in the tour itself, however. (He’s 15. Can you blame him?) Most of the available tours feature historical sites – “historical” coming from the ancient Greek word meaning “boring crap your grandpa won’t shut up about” – so I decided to sign us up for the sculpture tour, instead. I figured that was our best bet – buildings might not be all that exciting to a teenager, but an unusual sculpture might get at least a “blink and shrug.” Or just a blink. (Like I said, he’s 15. I set my expectations accordingly.)
The day of our tour was hot – it was about 90. (Which I actually love, because I’m always cold. I recognize that pretty much everyone else is dying when it gets that hot, but I just stand outside and soak that shiz up.) Because it was stupid hot, my son and I were the only two people signed up for the tour that day. BONUS – undivided attention!
There are a few things you have to do before they’ll let you tool around on the Segway. Those bad boys can zoom up to 12.5mph, so safety first, right? You have to watch a safety video, put a helmet on, and…um…something else I think I missed because I was finishing level 432 on Candy Crush. Then you can take off on the official tour.
But before they make you invest all that time in safety, they give you a quick trial on the thing, to make sure you aren’t a complete lost cause on the balance front. (Which is nice, because generally, gravity hates me, and sometimes, when I’m trying something completely off the rails like, I dunno, WALKING, the ground jumps up completely at random to slap some sense into me.)
(Hmm. I wonder if someone called ahead and warned them about me. Maybe that’s why no one else was on this tour.)
So I was introduced to my Segway. Her name was Eunice.
After a quick primer, they had me hop on and try some quick maneuvers.
I got on, and enthusiastically leaned forward.
And promptly ran over the instructor’s foot.
My son was not amused.
My son is a natural athlete (with a KILLER arm, by the way #mombrag) so he was fearlessly flying around on the thing in no time. Being a world-class klutz, I wasn’t quite as confident. But, after a few minutes, I was deemed passable. (Clearly, the bar was so low, I ran THAT over, too. And I never fully got the hang of standing still, so every time we stopped for a quick explanation on a sculpture or sign, I sort of coasted back and forth. Sometimes gently into a wall or a stop sign. I’m sure I appeared mildly drunk. I’m sure they’ve seen worse. I mean, tourists. Right?)
The tour was pretty cool. I’ve lived in this city for nine years (!!) now, and saw a million things I’ve never seen before.
We crossed historic bridges:
Yeah…this is called, creatively and literally, “Spoonbridge and Cherry.” Because it’s a bridge that’s a spoon, and there’s a cherry on the end.
This is located in an 11-acre sculpture garden outside a local “modern art” museum. Now, I don’t pretend to know anything about art – but some of the displays are…well….Last time I was there, they had a wall of salt and pepper shakers. Like Hell’s Yard Sale. Which I would have understood if they had CALLED it that, but it had some other lame name like “Modern Salt Shakers of the Century.” And the time before THAT, there was a whole room dedicated to the variant shadings of cubism and graphite. Which means SOMEONE DOODLED ON GRAPH PAPER WITH A PENCIL.
I will never understand art.
I tried, I really did. I studied the sculpture for a moment, cocking my head and squinting intellectually. Cupping my chin in my hand, I pondered aloud how the tonality of the structure might be modified if the artist had chosen to represent the cherry with, let’s say, an olive. I remarked that the timbre would quickly shift from whimsical and insouciant to somewhat disillusioned, yet sophisticated.
Glare from my son. “MOM. No one eats olives with a spoon.”
(Actually, I do. At midnight. When no one is looking. But apparently, that’s still a secret.)
The rest of the tour passed without incident. And by “without incident,” I mean that we had to take an off-road, unplanned detour down a pedestrians-only, bar-lined street, DURING HAPPY HOUR, due to road construction, and I crashed soundly and resolutely into a bridge. Which caused the tour guide (YES, the one whose foot I flattened) to solidly rearend me, sandwiching me between himself, Eunice, and the wrought-iron guard rail.
In my son’s words: “Dude. You were going straight, and you just didn’t TURN, and BOOM!” Soooo descriptive. And helpful. I cannot WAIT until you get your permit, buster.
I suppose he may as well learn that I never go out with anything less than a bang. <takes bow>
P.S. Yes, that’s me in the pictures. (Well not the maroon T-shirt; that’s my son, obviously.) I’ve added and deleted these photos several times. I may delete them again after I hit “publish.” Because I hate pictures of myself; I can’t look at one without scrutinizing what’s too big and too lumpy and too much and too everything. And then I wasn’t going to point OUT that it was me, because that’s calling attention to the whole thing, which means you are totally going to go back and click on the pictures now. Right? But part of the reason I’m here is to deal with my food and body issues – and normal people wouldn’t think twice about posting what SHOULD be perfectly innocuous pictures of something fun they did, because it’s NOT about the size of my azzmatazz, but about the event, and if I hadn’t SAID anything, no one would even have THOUGHT to check out the width of my thighs. So this whole paragraph is mental anxiety vomit about me TRYING TO BE NORMAL, which defeats the point entirely, but there ya go. I get a Participation Trophy for showing up, right? 😉