A few years ago Benson and I had an idea. What if we got rid of one of our vehicles and bought a scooter? We’d be a one car family in the city. The only thing hipper would be moving to Harlem and beatboxing in the streets on weekends, I swear.
(I cannot tell you the amount of things I’ve/we’ve decided to do solely because they seemed hip: joining a produce co-op (and going broke from it), washing my hair with baking soda, using coconut oil instead of hair gel (nope), going to Paris over Christmas (which sounds romantic but was HORRIBLE and cold and lonely and I cried multiple times and I didn’t even hang pictures from the trip because they make me depressed), etc.)
So we signed up for a motorcycle class, and spent two days in the middle of summer in Houston, Texas learning how to drive scooters in a large parking lot. (Everybody else in the class drove motorcycles but we specifically requested scooters). At first, the instructor had us kind of walk our scooters across the pavement. I think I really excelled at this part and wish we would’ve camped out there a bit longer.
Instead, they wanted us to actually drive the scooters and I was like, “Is somebody going to hold the back for me just to make sure I don’t tip?” Nobody heard me, and so the entire class (except me) began driving their bikes, leaving me behind kind of jogging my scooter. That’s when I realized why the instructor had a helper: to assist the lame. The lady came over and coaxed me as you would a child attempting to walk.
“Okay, just sit on it. Yes, just sit. You have to take your feet off the ground. Now accelerate…no? Now sit on the seat…That’s it…”
By the end of the weekend, with constant help from the instructor’s assistant, I was able to successfully drive my scooter in a straight line and even perform a wide curve. One lady actually dropped out of the class, so at least I was doing better than her.
Unfortunately, our driving test consisted of more than driving a straight line and making a lazy turn, and instead involved having to pull into and exit a parking space without crossing over the lines. “Listen people, do NOT go out of the square, got it?” the instructor said, widening his eyes and motioning toward his clipboard, indicating we would fail if we did.
Below, a handy diagram showing the instructed route in yellow, and the route I took, in red.
Next, we had to drive the bikes around a narrow-ish curve (I thought it felt narrow), keeping the wheels between sets of orange cones.
“Do NOT miss that last set of cones, got it?” the instructor asked again, holding up his clipboard. We all nodded. Here’s the route. Again, the yellow dashes represent the instructed route and my own route is in red.
After the driving test, I knew I’d failed, and sort of slumped back to the spot under a shade tree where my fellow classmates were lounging.
Once everyone finished their tests, the instructor called each of us aside to inform us of our results. Benson kind of bounced back from his meeting, having made a perfect score on both the written and driving test because he was born a chosen child, set apart to excel in every single thing he’s ever done in his life. Then I was called. I stepped aside with the instructor and stared at the back of his clipboard as he totaled my points. “Okay, so here’s your certificate –“
“I passed?” I asked.
“Uh, yep,” he said, kind of under his breath, like when Benson asks when I watered the flowers last and I kind of mumble “few days ago” when I really mean it’s been a week and it’s my fault they are dying.
“But I went over the line and missed those cones,” I protested, confused.
“Hmm. You did?” he said, totally faking surprise. I kind of nodded, and that’s when he murmured with a wink, “Just stick to parking lots, okay?” and handed me my certificate.
And that’s how I got my motorcycle license…
(And grew to be six feet, four inches tall).
We eventually purchased a scooter, but that story is so quack that I’m going to make this a two-parter (the suspense is making you sweat, right?). Stay tuned, folks!