I’m not sure how many of you are road-trippers, but usually once a year Teej and I take an extended journey via automobile. We’ve done Nashville, St. Louis, parts of Iowa, ultra-northern Minnesota. This year, we’re talking about a route along the UP in Michigan. Anyway, if you’re a concrete warrior, you’re familiar with the perils of modern navigation. See, Google Maps and smart phone navs often don’t update frequently enough for summer road construction, detours and traffic-relevant shortcuts. I’m often tasked with directions, because I really hate driving. If I encounter the smallest detour or bit of traffic, I get really anxious and the speed and recklessness of other drivers often freaks me out to the point of white knuckles. When you’re being a good navigator, you’re so focused on making the right turn and the appropriate exit that you often miss the bigger picture. You don’t take in the scenery. You don’t catch a glimpse of the local doing that thing that you’ve heard other locals talk about before. And sometimes despite all your efforts, you get lost anyway, because the directions were wrong.
Sometimes, I worry that I’m so busy navigating grown-up life that I’m missing the scenery. The natural wonders. The hidden gems people don’t put in the life handbook. (If you’re still following the travel analogy, this would be… “The things that the publisher didn’t put in Frommers.”)
From a very young age, I FELT old. Which means that I’ve always been compelled to live the “right” way or at least the way I perceived grown-ups lived. I cruised through university in two years, because I wanted to get it over with. I don’t know why I was worrying about 401Ks at 19, but I did. The only thing that shook me out of this insanity was having roommates who weren’t as tethered to rules as I was and a vested interest in things that others deemed “childlike” - Harry Potter, LEGO, Hulk.
In retrospect, I don’t understand why I was in such a hurry to grow up.
I bought a scooter two weeks ago. It was definitely not a planned purchase. Or a particularly grown up one. I bought it because it’s cute and it’s fun. If you’ve never cruised around on a moped before, I suggest it. It seems odd that a person who hates driving when surrounded by crash test rating-approved air bags and 2 tons of steel would love it so much, but it’s almost like I feel more connected to the scooter than I do to a car. The speeds can be scary at first, but the freedom of the wind, the feel of a vehicle responding to your weight and making transport a bit more fun are totally appealing to my inner child.
I don’t think the scooter is the prescription for my grown-up growing pains, but it’s a start. Even if I’m on the wrong road at the moment, at least I’m going down it in style.