At Dawn We Ride

by Roo on July 28, 2014

in storytelling

The year 2008 brought with it a new baby (for me) and an economic crash (for all of us). I was a newly minted SAHM, working very, very part-time from home, hunched over a laptop like Quasimodo, but if Quasimodo also had a cute baby. It marked the beginning of a rough time for a lot of people we knew, and we started to put some ideas into play just to be safe. I squirreled every part-time paycheck into an emergency fund because being a single income family with a baby in a bad economy was nerve-wracking.

One day, Jack goes, “I think we should buy a moped.” I blinked a million time, and waited for him to shout siiiiiike but he didn’t. Gas was $5/gallon, and since he was the only one commuting, he thought it would make sense to buy something that needed less gas. (This is also the year I saw more teeny tiny smart cars on the road.) We dipped into our savings, called it an investment, and he bought a shiny new moped.

People were posting photos of how much it cost to fill up their tanks ($90! $85! The sky is falling!) and the moped was getting us 125 miles to the gallon. ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE! I mean, on the downside, no one ever looked super cool on a moped, but 125 miles to the gallon? Jack was riding it to work, riding it back to come home for his lunch and see his tiny new baby, riding it back to work, riding it back home, riding it to the grocery store (for a couple of small items anyway), riding it with his guitar strapped on his back to sing to cute old people in a nursing home…

When he broke his foot, people would text me things like “Hey Roo, I just saw Jack on a moped riding down Main Street with a pair of crutches sticking out of his backpack.” O__O

Last week I’m diligently working and not at all poking around on Instagram when Jack calls. “Hey, I’m getting the minivan tuned up, but I left my wallet at home.”

“Hnnnnnghhhh gahhhhh fine I’ll take the truck and bring it to you.”

“Thank you sorry thank you.”

“Hey where are my keys?”

“I have them.”

“Okay, where are the truck keys?”

“I also have them.”

“You have both sets of keys? How am I supposed to bring you your wallet?”

“Well, I was thinking you could take the moped.”

“You want me to what?”

“It’s only two miles.”

I’m not quite Hulk rage-y but I’m 1) irritated that this is cutting into work time and 2) irritated that I have to drive the moped. I’ve only hopped on it once, when we first got it, six years ago, and rode it up and down our little street. And then I kept getting pregnant so my moped riding days were over.

jack-text

Got outside, called Jack “How do I start it again? The thing on the right is the brake, right?”

Got it started, ride through my neighborhood, start giving myself a pep talk, Okay, I can do this, I’m a responsible adult with an impeccable driving record. Jack would – if he was there – interject to say that I only have an impeccable driving record because I somehow talk my way out of tickets. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Moped riding is weird. If you don’t have good control things get a little wobbly when you come to a stop, and things are a little wobbly as you kick off. I’d like to think that I did both gracefully, but I’m pretty sure that anyone riding behind me thought I was four mimosas in at 10:00am.

I slow down at a green light and go to take my first left turn – AND I CAN’T DO IT. I feel like if I turn I’m going to crash or dump the moped and barrel roll to the sidewalk. I panic and go straight down the road until I turn right into a parking lot, go straight into the parking lot across the street, turn around (in right turns) until I can take another right turn to go back up the road.

I kept thinking about Zoolander - I’m not an ambiturner! I can’t turn left!

Context break:

At this point I am in a hot panic. I can’t turn left? I should not be operating this thing. The rest of the two miles consists of hills. I’m going too fast! I’m going too fast! I’m going like 60 miles an hour! If I hit the brakes, I’m going to fly over the handlebars! The moped, for the record, maxes out at 40, and I was definitely going 25, so my inner monologue is not at all to be trusted.

About a quarter mile away from the shop, I see Jack walking up the side of the road, waving delightfully at me. I slow down to a stop and he calls for me to pull in the parking lot. I respond with a succinct “I hate you.”

I park. I hop off. Do you realize that when I was growing up I was only allowed to ride my bike on my street and I lived on a cul-de-sac! With four houses!

“I started to get worried when twenty minutes had passed and it’s a six minute ride on the moped.”

“I couldn’t turn left.”

“Sorry I forgot my wallet. And took my keys. And took your keys.”

“…..”

“I’ll buy you a burger.”

“Okay.”

{ 27 comments }

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