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Scooter Girl

For those watching my midlife crisis unfold, I bring you the latest installment which has included guitar lessons, a wardrobe consisting exclusively of superhero t-shirts, pinball-and-comic-book afternoons, and now… the scooter.

After the royal wedding, I went out and got the twins scooters.  Not a Vespa, but those pre-skateboard things consisting of a skateboard with a handlebar.  Watching them try with mixed results to balance on the board filled me with jealousy.  I wanted a ride, and if I hadn’t purchased kid-sized ones (where I probably exceeded the weight limit), I would have demanded a turn.

I spent a night researching my options and went to bed with the decision to buy myself one in the morning.  By the time I woke up, I rethought the whole plan.  What the hell was I thinking?  First and foremost, I would most likely break something because I’m the most uncoordinated person in the world.  Secondly, even if I didn’t break something, I’d probably do some other sort of bodily damage — pulled muscles or gaping flesh wounds.  Thirdly, even if I managed to somehow remain alive, I would look ridiculous.  Please, picture for a moment a greying-haired woman on a skateboard.

So I tabled the idea.

Even though it kept nagging at me.

Last Tuesday, we had a few errands that had.to.get.done; adult, boring minutiae that were the more exciting alternative to what had to get done in the house (namely, clean toilets, vacuum floors, and laundry).  As I looked at our afternoon, the nagging entered a crescendo.

I was thinking about a friend of ours with cancer, the same diagnosis that kicked my ass into restarting guitar lessons.  The last time we saw him, he looked so old.  And the amplified, internal get-the-fucking-scooter song was wailing out about how I’m not getting any younger, and how I’m more likely to have the body to do this now than I will ten years from now.

So I picked up the twins from school, and we took care of what needed to get done, and then we went to buy me a scooter.  The man at the store mistakenly thought the scooter was for the kids, so he kept bending down and directing the answers to my questions to them.  We finally informed him that the scooter was for me, and he stared at me dubiously and asked me to be careful.  He sold it to me with this expression that can only be described as fearful.  Like he was a goodhearted drug dealer who wondered if he should be selling this horse bladder-sized bag of cocaine to a junkie.

Something like that.

I should stop here and say that I’ve been on one of these exactly once and it was when I was under ten years old.  We were inside a house, on a flat surface, and the scooter had three or four wheels.

I planned to ride the one I purchased outside.  On a hilly street.  With uneven pavement.  Oh, and it only had two wheels.  And did I already tell you that I’m very uncoordinated?

We brought it home and assembled it.  Even though I should have been making dinner and we were going to be massively late to bed if we went outside, we trekked outside with our scooters.

And I was scared shitless.

I mean, my heart was pounding and I felt dizzy because I was so terrified.  I’m not a fan of roller coasters.  I’m not even a fan of driving over 15 miles per hour.  I am just not a scooter type of person.  But I thought about myself at age 80, and how I’d have regrets if I didn’t do this.  And I pushed off.

After a bunch of wobbly, urine-releasing moments of terror (moments filled with my neighbour screaming, “please be careful!” interspersed with her laughing hysterically at me), I started being able to keep both feet off the ground for three seconds without falling.  And as time went on, I was able to go farther and farther. (Dinner, kids?  What dinner?  I don’t have time to make you your damn dinner.  I’m scooting!)  After a half hour or so,  I was riding down the street — the entirely length of our street — with both feet on the board, taking curves, navigating around the other kids on scooters who came out of their houses to ride with us.

I was a fucking rock star.

Which took care of my first two fears — I was physically doing this without harming myself.  I thought about the third fear as I watched the teenage boys playing football; all of them pretending that they weren’t laughing at the woman on the scooter.  Maybe I was their joke of the evening, but perhaps they’ll one day be in their late thirties and think about how difficult that was for me to get on the scooter and conquer my fears.

Oh, and they’ll think about how I was a fucking scooter ninja rock star.

So much so that I contacted the local skate park to inquire about getting skateboarding lessons.  I think I’ve found my calling.

As I was writing this, I looked at the play kitchen next to my desk and noticed that one of my little Stuart Smalleys had left herself a message:

And I can freakin’ do it too.


1 Rebecca { 05.10.11 at 7:43 am }

I’ve had the Indigo Girls “Scooter Boys” in my head for a few days and now it is morphing into “Scooter Girls” starring Mel and is just awesome. I want to see video!

2 loribeth { 05.10.11 at 8:30 am }

Yes, video!!

And if it makes you feel better, Mel – about 5-7 years ago, when our oldest nephew was still a teenager, we were at BIL’s for (Canadian) Thanksgiving. It was a gorgeous October day, our younger nephew was outside with his friends, & they had a scooter they were riding up & down the sidewalk. FIL smokes, & was outside having a cigarette.

I wasn’t looking directly out the window, but suddenly, out of the corner of my eyes, there’s my 75+-year-old father-in-law, sailing past the window on a SCOOTER. My jaw dropped & I told our older nephew what I had just seen. He totally cracked up. Dh & his brother just shook their heads. I wish I had been able to capture THAT on camera!

3 HereWeGoAJen { 05.10.11 at 8:34 am }

That is awesome. You rock.

4 N { 05.10.11 at 8:38 am }

I’m so impressed. I can’t do scooters or skateboards to save my life. You are totally a rock star.

5 Pie { 05.10.11 at 8:59 am }

Rock on, Mel! Rock on.

6 Justine { 05.10.11 at 8:59 am }

Coolest. Mom. Ever. That is all. 🙂

7 Delenn { 05.10.11 at 9:04 am }

Wearing superhero and comic book t-shirts is a sign of mid-life crisis? Oh, wow, I have been having one for over 2 years!! 🙂

Never could do skateboards–but I definitely want to do roller skating again at some point.

8 Kathy { 05.10.11 at 9:27 am }

You are awesome Mel! I smiled (and laughed) through most of this post. I am proud of you for buying and figuring out how to ride that scooter. I think we need to have more late for dinner scooter moments in our lives, both for us and to be wonderful examples to our children of what is really important in life. Good for you! 🙂 Yes you did! 😉

And I LOVE the post it notes that your daughter leaves for herself. I hope that makes you feel really good about yourself as a mom and a role model, because I don’t believe that kind of self love and intrinsic motivation just appears out of nowhere in children.

I hope you have a fabulous day and spend some more time rockin’ out on your scooter! Now, like Rebecca w/ the Indigo Girls’ song, I’ve got that Avril Levine “Scater Boy” song going through my head, only with a “Scooter Girl” adaptation…

9 Searching for Serenity { 05.10.11 at 9:34 am }

Awesome! You’re definitely the cool mom.

10 Amy { 05.10.11 at 10:01 am }

You CAN do it! Good for you! I am a loyal reader who typically only delurks on the official week devoted to delurking, but I felt compelled to comment today to let you know that Life From Scratch is the first (and only, so far) book I decided to download onto the new Kindle I received for Mother’s Day. I’m on Chapter Three and I’m living it do far! You really are a fucking rockstar!

11 Jes G { 05.10.11 at 10:25 am }

Fucking scooter ninja rockstar!!! You are awesome Mel!!
I also recently rode a scooter for the first time….. It felt AMAZING!!

12 a { 05.10.11 at 10:36 am }

That’s awesome! And you probably have no idea that while you’re trying to be brave for yourself, you’re setting the best example for your children.

In addition to everything else I learned from my two unmarried, childless aunts, I know that age has nothing to do with anything. One aunt was frequently parasailing in Hawaii in her 50s, while the other was going back to school to learn Japanese in her 60s. Continue to rock on, sister!

13 Kristin { 05.10.11 at 11:11 am }

You kick serious ass my friend! Rock on Mel!

14 Gabrielle { 05.10.11 at 11:15 am }


15 magpie { 05.10.11 at 11:25 am }

I want a picture. No, A VIDEO!!

16 Elizabeth { 05.10.11 at 1:17 pm }

Those post-its are THE BEST!!! And so is their inspiration 🙂 Mel morphing into a sk8r boi – awesome!

17 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.10.11 at 1:37 pm }

I want a grown-up scooter now, too!

You are so freaking cool.

18 Gail { 05.10.11 at 2:37 pm }

Way to go! I’m glad you tried it and it sounds like you excelled at it!

19 Tigger { 05.10.11 at 3:49 pm }

I cheered reading this post and almost woke the baby! Go, Mel, Go! You really CAN do anything you put your mind to, I’m convinced of it. 🙂

20 Jem { 05.10.11 at 7:30 pm }

Good for you, you guitar strumming, scooter scooting, Stirrup Queen!

P.S. Hope you wore a helmet!

21 LJ { 05.10.11 at 9:09 pm }

You’re so badass!

22 Missy { 05.11.11 at 12:51 am }

I love it and you are a fucking scooter ninja rockstar!

23 Anna { 05.11.11 at 4:54 am }

Well done! I desperately want to see video of this too. I’m imagining the kids following you on mini scooters and you being the pied piper at the front. It is great that you did this alongside Chickienob and Wolvog, sounds like a very memorable evening. You have inspired me, currently I feel too old for everything I did pre-motherhood, I will hold your example in mind (and the gorgeous post-it message).

24 Flowergirl { 05.11.11 at 7:46 am }

Brilliant, I borrowed one at a party and went for a scoot in the street outside the house, late at night, after a few cocktails, the kids were very impressed and it was great fun. I got off before I broke something (i.e. myself). Wish I had one, or kids to be able to scoot with… well done for getting one.

25 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 05.11.11 at 9:59 pm }

Psssst… wanna know a secret? I can’t ride a bike.

I hope to finally learn when my twins are approaching the bike age. Then we can all ride together instead of me having to stand there and wave as they go by.

26 B { 05.12.11 at 11:27 pm }

That fuckin rocks. But do be careful.

27 Billy { 06.07.11 at 3:31 pm }

Yay for you!!
(you remind me how in 9th grade [1st year of high school] me and friend #1 were running and fooling around in this field and friend #2 said it was not right for us, being 15, and we replied that it’s our last chance to do things like this, that soon we will be too old to fool around :-).
Oh, and you really made me want to learn how to roller-blade :-).

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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