I took up scooter riding during the spring of 2018. I can understand someone thinking it is an odd sport for someone approaching 60. It is just an addition to my long-held obsession with most any gadget that is electric or battery-operated. I call this obsession “gadgetitis”. I am into “nicknames” too. I gave the nickname “Billy” to my Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An inventory of my bedroom is visible proof of my gadgetitis: multiple computers, TVs, vacuum cleaners, etc. Within a month or two after my scooter obsession began, I owned not one, not two, not three, not four, but five.
Scooters first came into my life on a school day subbing for a P.E. aide. The coach put out some scooters which are, by the way, a highly popular piece of equipment with the students. I don’t recall them being around when I was growing up back in the 1960’s. There were roller skates back then that I fell for back in my younger days. I mean “fell” as in landing on the floor in a painful sort of way. A lack of gross motor skills, a common ASD trait, explained a lot of what activities I didn’t pursue as a kid. Back to the present, since the kids were not in the gym yet, and thus no witnesses besides the coach who was really busy at the time, I plopped down on a scooter like the two pictured below. I liked the feel of it! And when I like something, I go way, way overboard. There’s no middle ground for me living with my Billy.
I am having so much fun with these scooters. The downside is in a city of 143,000 people, I haven’t seen any other folks in my age group riding a scooter. Only a handful of young folks. I’ve seen just a few my age riding a bicycle. I suspect it has more to do with the sidewalk conditions of my neck of the woods. I didn’t realize how “cracked up” my neighborhood was until I took up scooter riding.
One of my experiences worth mentioning was when I was approaching a bridge at a school park. There was a young Mom with her two little girls. The children were on the opposite side of the bridge from their Mom. The youngest girl, probably two or three, heard me coming and she hurriedly scooted over to the other side of the bridge to literally hide behind her Mom’s skirt. Her Mom smiled as I scooted by. A wise little girl! If her Mom had known my motor skill history, she would have skedaddled with girls in hand.
Another time when I was out with Seggie (the Segway Mini-Pro) at a park, a guy walking by saw me taking Seggie out of the back of my car. He asked, “Are you going to ride that thing?” Since I’m not quick on my feet with a good comeback answer, I just said with my Texas accent “Yeah.” But thinking about it later, I could have come up with another answer such as “No, I’m going to take it for a walk.”
Scooting is a sport in itself. There are do’s and don’t and one too many of them I have learned the hard way. Just when I am overconfident, I take a fall and get a good dose of humility.
Once after a fall, I went out with my pink scooter I affectionately call “Pinkie”. There weren’t any kids around but a few adults taking a walk. They were so gracious to give me the right of way when I passed by. Maybe they were nervous at seeing a gray-haired woman on a scooter with an arm brace. If they had noticed the word in bold letters on my blue t-shirt, they would have had a hint as to why I was on a scooter that is made with “millennials” in mind. The word: AUTISM. Below: “AWARENESS.”
When I got home, I told my Mom the story. She said, “You’re something else.” I’ll agree with her on that. Not only me but all my fellow travelers on the Spectrum. My main reason for writing this blog is to say that those of us with ASD are not exempt from having fun.
Finally, my best advice for my fellow scooters is when you feel an itch, like on your face, it is best to stop and take care of the itch instead of itching while on the scooter with the motor running.