Monday, August 25, 2008

Scootering and work

To quote one of my favorite movies (Old School), Luke Wilson's character tells a co-worker of his, "We work together, Walsh. And I don't want to mix work with whatever it is I do at home." Granted I am not starting a non-collegiate fraternity with middle-aged men, but nevertheless it retains some general pertinence as many of us have a "professional personality" that we wear to work and that is not always reflective of our true selves. (Unless of course, you always laugh at your boss's jokes and are truly overjoyed from seeing your company quarterly compliance reports perform above the mean. However, recently a few of my co-workers have discovered my blog. And to keep them happy I have agreed to post a picture of them with a scooter.

There Marc & Nikki, I hope you're happy. Stop harassing me.

But also, if you have a cool/funny picture of yourself with a scooter, feel free to email me and I will post it on my blog for all to see and admire. (All = girlfriend, roommate, and people who have accidentally found this site by clicking the random site button on blogspot.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scooter Etiquette

While on my ride and listening to Kenny Loggin's "Highway to the Dangerzone," I sometimes find other scooterists making a point to maneuver through traffic to catch up with me. Sometimes they will proceed to ride up alongside my scooter and perhaps even to be so bold as to strike up a brief conversation during stops at traffic lights. This folks is a big no no. It's like those people in public bathrooms who start talking to you in the next stall over. Last thing you want to do while taking care of business (or as my roommate calls it, "taking the browns to the superbowl") is starting a conversation with a complete stranger. Same rules apply while scootering.

Don't get me wrong, if you happen to be driving behind a scooter it's okay to pull up and give a brief nod before peeling away. That's common courteously. It's like saying, "hello, we're both better than pedestrians and cooler than gas guzzling motorists," but that's it folks. No further acknowledgment is required. As you may now know from my previous post (see "Types of Scootering Personalities") a variety of people ride scooters, and they do not all necessarily share common mindsets (other than loving scooters).

I also have a jeep. There's an unofficial "wrangler wave" that is given to fellow wrangler drivers as you pass by other jeeps on the road. Some overzealous enthusiasts give the big high five wave as they pass by. I tend to utilize the patented two finger peace sign with the left hand while gripping the steering wheel at the 12 o'clock position (the "bunny ear maneuver"). This way it's noticeable to the keen observing fellow wrangler driver and pays respect, but not as obvious to the other motorists or people in your car (so they don't you're super lame). Crap, I've sidetracked so much I've forgotten what I was ranting about. Oh well, here's a cool picture of my scooter.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scooter Adventure: the Ticket

A typical Monday morning. I was running late to work, on my scooter driving through Central Square on Mass Ave. Suddenly, a Cambridge police officer on his motorcycle pulls up next to me with his lights on and says, "pull over by the sidewalk up there and turn off your scooter son." The next 15 minutes provided to be one of the most confounding moments of my life so far. His next words were, "did you know your registration tags are expired?" Of course I knew. My tags were expired in 2006 (yeah yeah, go ahead and ridicule me, but if you think I like to throw away $40 to the city of Boston for a sticker that registers my scooter as a "motorized bicycle" you might as well stick a feather in your head and call it a macaroni). Anyway, the cop proceeded to lecture me on not having an updated sticker, and then issued me a ticket. A ticket!! Do they really have the free time to pull over scooters for expired registration tags and fine them $25?!?!

But here's the real kicker folks. Hang onto your hats and buckle in your seat belts. His next sentence was, "I'm going to have to tow your scooter." Really? Really really?!? I was dumbfounded. In disbelief. Who tows a scooter? Who tows a 200 lb bicycle? Do jerks like that really exist in this world? Yes, apparently they do. So after a few more minutes of baffling discussion, I was directed to a bus stop across the street which would take me to work that morning. As I sat on the bus, I looked out and saw the officer next to my scooter waiting for the tow truck. I could almost feel the tears trickling down my cheeks.

After pleading with my boss, I was able to take a half day and had the rest of the afternoon off to retrieve my scooter. I had to take the following steps: (1) Get home and retrieval my registration identification. (2) Get to the RMV. (3) Wait in line at the goddamn RMV for hours to get a registration sticker. (4) Get to the impound lot. (5) !!!!!

First of all, the Massachusetts RMV provides a nifty website that shows "real time" wait times for their various locations. Okay, after a bit of perusing I found the most convenient and shortest line existed at the Cambridgeside Galleria RMV office. After rushing home, I jumped into my car and jetted towards the Cambridgeside Galleria mall. Minutes later, I was in a short line at the RMV office. "Oh," said the young woman at the counter, "scooter registration? We don't do that here. You have to go to our Watertown location."


After damning the RMV a few more times, I drove another 15 minutes to Watertown, otherwise known as "the armpit of west Boston". As this entry is getting long, I will spare you the excruciating details of waiting in various lines at the Watertown RMV, but suffice to say, there was a point where I had the wrong form, and was directed to another line to get the correct form (although they did let me cut in line). Nevertheless, 2 hours later, I had a brand spanking new shiny registration sticker, minus two Andrew Jacksons in my wallet.

Luckily I convinced my girlfriend to drive me to the impound lot after work, so at 5pm we took a drive to Phil's Towing Co, paid them their damn hundred dollars, and picked up my scooter, which had been sitting in their parking lot getting rained on all day.

Cambridge Police: 1
Scooter: 0