Monday, May 25, 2009

I got me a scooter

One of the things I'm finding a blast as Corin becomes more of a little boy is the chance to revisit childhood, this time with money.

At Christmas time we visited some friends who entertained Corin for a while with a mini remote-control car, which he chased around like a cat after a laser beam. He had so much fun that I went ahead an bought one myself, then upgraded to a full-sized RC buggy. I'd feel rather silly as a thirtysomething in the park zipping around a little offroader by myself, but add a two-year-old, and it's kosher. It will be even more fun to see him mastering it in a year or two.

Yesterday we were at Walmart looking at bike helmets, and Corin found a floor-sample kids scooter (a Barbie one, natch) that he didn't want to let go of, pushing it up and down the aisles. He's still too young to know how to ride it, but we kind of liked the idea that he might figure out on his own if we have it around. Amanda and I both have terrible balance, and we are hoping that it's not wholly genetic, and part of it might have to do with not really practicing enough early on.

They also had a larger scooter as a floor sample, and I started toying around with it as Amanda was exploring the helmets. I'd never actually been on a scooter before, and was trying to figure out whether I could stay on it for more than a few seconds. At first, no, not a bit. I think I was trying to use it like a tightrope, one foot in front of the other. Then I saw another guy zipping along on a scooter and I notices his foot placement was more sideways. I tried completely sideways, and that didn't work. I ended up somewhere around a 30-degree angle and suddenly I could use it. I was wheeling around stacks of soda and pulling short of running into carts. It was exhilarating, like finding out I could slam-dunk a basketball — something I knew other people could do but wasn't meant for me.

I ended up buying the pro model for a few bucks more from Amazon, so I have to wait a week or so to start having fun with it. Just a few years ago I would have felt silly trying out a scooter to begin with; there's something that happens to you as you grow up and choose a job and a house and a life that makes you, by necessity, exclude other options. You settle the question of who you are. Then one day you're zipping down the aisles of Walmart, between the dream houses and the board games, and you see that life is constantly new.

Sure, maybe I will feel a little silly propelling myself down the sidewalks of Alki, with scooters being about ten years behind the times. But I've got my little munchkin around to watch me, to soak in and imitate everything he sees me do, and it won't be long before we're both zipping along together. Makes everything kosher.

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