Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Scooty Scoot Scoot

Irrelevant to this story...so what?

It was our first real two-person vacation since bringing Ro into this world.  Neither of us ski.  So, naturally, we landed in Colorado.  Spring time.  Estes Park.

We snagged a cabin less than a mile from the east side entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The idea of surrounding ourselves in nature was appealing at that time.

And of the activities on our abbreviated agenda, it was scootering thru the park that appealed most to me (w/ a slight apprehensive after taste).  In our pre vaca research, Jill and I had learned that there were multiple ways to experience the park.  Multiple sources cited scooters as the ideal mode of transportation.

We were in.

For years before this trip, I had repeatedly expressed my desire to get a Vespa.  Of course, Jill supported my interest.  "You don't get anything for yourself.  Just do it.  You'll love it."

"Yeah, but how often would I really use it?  How often do I drive alone?"  (If I'm gifted at anything, it's that I can argue myself into inaction, no matter the circumstance.)

"We'll figure it out.  You'll get your rides in."  she'd respond assuredly, positively, lovingly.

Jill was so fucking supportive.  It never wavered.  Ever.  Fucking ever.

(I'm going to shift for a second here and rant on another topic that has stuck itself in my head for a few weeks now.  I'm reminded of it b/c I just had to contemplate it in this post.  It's the matter of past or present.  How do I represent my wife - both in text and speech?  Jill was or Jill is?  Aw, that must be tough, you may be thinking.  It's more than that.  It requires a conscious acknowledgement.  And that's harder to do 'out loud.'  I just assume speak of Jill in the present b/c in so many ways she is for me.  But then I catch myself and think, but the person/people reading/hearing this are going to misunderstand me as 'forgetful' or 'in denial.'  Neither are true.  It's just that speaking of Jill in the past tense feels like an injustice of some kind.  More, it's not true to me.  She's here, G-d damn it.  G-d damn it.  She is here.  I feel it at my fucking core.  Or, maybe, I want to feel it.  Either way, it's palpable.  Something's palpable.  So, the next time you 'catch' me mentioning Jill in the present, please know that I know.  I'm living this reality.  I get it.  And if it provides me some kind of sick comfort to speak of Jilly in the present, I'll continue to do it for as often as it benefits me.)

(I have yet to purchase the Vespa.  Though I continue to ogle them online.)

So the day the came in Estes Park.  We found ourselves face to face w/ the scooter rental lady.  Well, truthfully, Jill found herself face to face w/ the scooter rental lady.  I found myself face to face w/ the graphic photos of scooter wipeout injuries these rental facilities are inclined to display to scare us into safely operating these two-wheel death traps.

My first - alright, maybe second - wave of anxiety hits.

Then we sign the paperwork.  The standard waivers that says if we somehow scrape all the skin off of our bodies while using these toys, 'Scooter City' ain't liable.

Next comes the test run.  Jill's up first.

The owner/instructor/apathetic hippie gives Jilly a quick 101 and sends her off down the hill and back.

Nailed it.  Jill rolls back into the parking lot w/ a bright smile shining out from under her helmet.

My turn.

Let's just say I got thru it.  Straightaways are not a problem.  But, just like bicycles, it's the turns that get me.  No clean, sharp turns for me.  They're all wide and measured.  Careful.  Easy does it.

I cautiously role back into the lot.

Jill looks at me eagerly.  "You ready to take these things out on the road?  Let's do it!"

She's excited.  Damn it.

All those years watching and riding w/ her dad on his scooters has obviously injected a level of confidence and ability that have eluded me up until this point.

So, we had a couple options.  We could pay X and take the hogs out for three hours.  Or, we could pay 2X and have them all day.

Already I was leaning the three hour package...maybe less.  I mean, if I can't comfortably turn on the winding Colorado roads, I'm going to end up framed in one of those 'don't end up like this' photos.

Jill felt my anxiety.  (At this point, she had acquired a sixth sense.)  "Let's just take them out on some easy [straighter] roads for a bit and get used to them and then make a decision."  She was all in.

"Okay," I said unconvincingly to anyone in earshot.

So we set out.  I led and Jill followed.  This was a calculated move.  B/c my comfort level was running near empty, I wasn't even confident enough to check my mirrors or quickly turn my head for vehicles approaching from the rear.  My only focus was straight ahead.

So Jill was my eyes in the rear.  (And that is the last time I ever construct a sentence that way.)

We instituted a system.  If cars were approaching (as would often be the case b/c our scooting machines topped out at 40 MPH, if I recall), Jill would lightly honk at me, which would be my signal to pull off the road and onto the shoulder.  Jill would follow.  Thus allowing aforementioned cars to pass us.  When clear, we'd get back on the open road.

Jill convinced me that we make our way back to our cabin for some lunch.  We could decide after lunch if we wanted this wobbly adventure to continue.

Over lunch Jill asks, "What if I teach you, get you more comfortable on the scooter?"

"Can't hurt...oh wait..."

We finish up lunch and scoot to an empty lot near our cabin.  And just as she promised, Jill proceeds to patiently and constructively give me tips to make me more comfortable on the two wheels of terror.

She succeeds.  Enough.  Enough for me to know that she wants to scoot till sunset.  I'm not going to stand in the way of that happening.  I'm in.

Next level - Rocky Mountain National Park.

It's rocky.  It's mountainous.  It's winding.  The roads are severely winding.

Thankfully we have a foolproof system on our side.

I lead.  Jill follows.  Jill honks.  We pull over.  Repeat as needed.

And we do.  A lot.

We had the freaking time of our lives.  Without a doubt one of the highlights - not just of this trip, but  of any trip we've experienced together.

Jill gave this pansy a much needed push that led to an incredibly unique and rich experience.

My wife knew how to get the best out of me.  I will always appreciate that special ability.  It helped mold me into who I am today.  And while it certainly ain't perfect, I'm a much better version of myself than I was before Jill walked into my life.

Thanks, babe.

All love,

J, J, & r

No they don't.

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