Scooter Glamour


A few days before Labor Day, gas prices broke the three dollar barrier and made up my mind! I simply couldn’t pay over $300 dollars a month on gas so I went out and bought a gas-powered scooter with a 125cc engine. With a tailwind and a downhill stretch, it can hit 65 mph, but more importantly it gets almost 90 miles per gallon.

Now I know that when you hear the word scooter you probably think one thing: Glamour. Yes, the word scooter itself is usually enough to conjure images of movie stars, supermodels, and the otherwise rich and attractive cruising costal, palm-lined highways in the sun. I mean, that’s what I always thought about when I thought scooters. And for a while, I was living that dream…

But last Tuesday, the magical vision of scooter riding lost some of its glamour for a while, perhaps forever.

I don’t know if it was the temperature or the atmospheric pressure or just some sort of regularly scheduled mating time, but for some reason, the cities of Eagle Mountain (where I live) and Lehi (which I pass through on my commute) were suddenly and completely full of bugs last Tuesday.

My scooter has no windshield, I had no goggles, I didn’t even have a decent pair of gloves. However, none of my evident unpreparedness seemed to stop the bugs from getting in my way. It was almost as if they tried to swarm even thicker in my path just to experience some sort of suicidal ritual of splatting themselves against my sunglasses, helmet, clothes, and flesh.

The worst part of it is that when you’re on a scooter, you have to maintain a speed of at least the speed limit of the road you’re driving on or you’ll end up like a bug yourself, splatted on the grill of some dump truck who just didn’t see you in the waxing, pre-dawn light. This means that for most of my commute, I’ve got to give my scooter all it’s got and crank it up to 55-60 mph. When a bug hits your face, or hand, or eye at that speed, not only is it gross, it’s also really quite painful.

I had to stop thrice at service stations to clean bug guts off my sunglasses just so I could see to keep driving. What a rude awaking, both literally (as it was quite early and I was still groggy), and figuratively (as my scooter glamour dreams were squashed like a million bugs)!

When I reached the border of American Fork (another city I pass through on my way to work), the swarms of bugs magically disappeared. It wasn’t like they thinned out; it was more like the bugs somehow knew the actual city limits and just stayed out of American Fork. Perhaps there are some sort of anti-swarm laws in American Fork that I’m unaware of, but whatever the case it was weird to go from so many bugs to absolutely no bugs just by crossing a city border.

Nevertheless, I was glad to be free of the bugs and prepared to enjoy the rest of my commute. So what if people looked at me funny for having all kinds of orange bug guts covering my helmet and body. I was getting 90 miles per gallon. Those suckers, while safe in their SUV’s, were probably getting 20 if they were lucky. I chuckled a little mocking chuckle (though not with an open mouth as I didn’t want any bug guts to slide from my lips into my mouth).

My malicious joy, however, was short lived. As I passed from safe American Fork into Pleasant grove I also passed into what seemed to be a sandstorm reminiscent of the movie Dune or the recent flop Hidalgo. “Strange,” I thought, “how can I be driving through a sandstorm when there are no sand dunes for miles?”

At speeds of 55-60 mph, sand is also very painful, and to the ungoggled eye, very dangerous. Through careful and squinty observation, I soon surmised that the sandstorm was not all-enveloping, but seemed to be emanating from a source directly in front of me.

As soon as the opportunity presented itself, I quickly changed lanes, pushed the scooter beyond its natural limits by crying “Run Hidalgo!” (which I decided to name my scooter in that moment), and managed to outpace the sandstorm in the left lane.

A mix of rage, sand, and tears filled my vision as I discovered that the source of the sandstorm was some idiot towing a flat, uncovered trailer of sand behind his truck.

“C’mon buddy that’s illegal!” I yelled forgetting what was on my lips and inadvertently ingesting some sand-coated bug guts.

I decided to really let him have it. I laid on the horn button to tell him what I thought of him. “Meep, meep.” said Hidalgo sounding much like Warner Brother’s Roadrunner.

Amazingly, the idiot-hick in the truck heard my feeble horn and turned to look at me. I can only imagine what I must have looked like: a bug-covered, sand-coated mess on a tiny scooter shaking my fist at a lifted Ford F-5million. Sadly, I have to admit that I probably would have laughed as hard as he did.

It was at that exact moment, watching idiot-hick with an IQ of 7 laugh at me, that the last flicker of the scooter-riding glamour flame went out.

But by then it was too late. I couldn’t go back to driving my gas-guzzling SUV to work everyday after dropping $2800 on a scooter without even consulting the wife. So I got to work, cleaned the bugs out of my ears and off my clothes and resigned myself to a long friendship with my faithful Hidalgo.

Linda Winegar

My greatest blessings call me Mom.