About A Girl and Her Scooter

It’s 5:27am. I woke up at about 5ish, just lying there and thinking.

About my scooter.

It’s funny, my scooter technically runs better than it has in its entire life. Completely rebuilt engine, yada, yada. Looks like shit, since The Kid* cracked and broke the hell out of its shell, but what are you gonna do?

All winter, however, my scooter has languished in the corner of my parking lot.

First, it inexplicably broke down and we figured it was a valve that controls gas flow (“the reed valve”). We fixed that. Then I lost all power. The muffler had a bolt come loose. THAT’s all it took to stop me completely. Then it broke down in the rain. (Same thing that happened the first time, back in October.) Yesterday, I took 10 seconds and removed a water guard from my air filter, and with the road grime inside,  it looks like that was choking my engine up in the rain.

I’m now like a kid on Christmas morning, hoping and praying the thing’s finally going to be all right. Seriously. I was lying there on my back in my dark cozy bedroom, staring at an unseeable ceiling, thinking of zipping around town and the simplicity afforded me by my lovely scoot (in theory).

It’s all cute, isn’t it? “Aww! A girl and her scooter. Sweet and adorable!”

But it’s not that.

I can’t explain to anyone how infinitely hard this winter has been for me. With no transportation, with back problems, having to work and provide for myself,  with weeks of snow and ice… endless. Walking’s not the best thing for my back, and has only recently become acceptable. Before that, though, were nearly five months when it was Ill-Advised. The snow at Christmas made me a shut-in. Buying groceries has been an ordeal every single week until this past week.

This isn’t about me “having fun”. This is about me getting between five to ten hours of my life back weekly. This is about me sitting properly facing forward as my back problems require of me, controlling its strain, and not having to pray I’ll find one of the bus seats my back feels good in. It’s about me not struggling to carry excessive groceries home, putting further unnecessary pressure on my back. It’s about me not being tired at the end of every day. It’s about me being able to live with whimsy again, not with excessively planning everything so I never overdo anything.

It’s about freedom and quality of life. It just LOOKS like it’s about a scooter.

When just about everything in your life feels like an ordeal, and rehabbing’s taking nearly twice as long as you expected, the reality is, ANY improvement that takes day-to-day strain out of your life starts looking like the biggest gift you’ll ever receive.

And people don’t get how much that cuts into how you socialize, how you enjoy life, and how much you can offer others. I’m tired of being selfish and protective, and something needs to give so I feel I can give more to others.

So it all comes down to scooter. Wee “Pussycat”. Does she like me? Will she ride hard? Will it last this time?

Now that the weather forecast is improved for the next few days, it doesn’t really matter. My next few days have just gotten easier and more fun, whether Pussycat is healed or not.

And my soul couldn’t be happier. Virginia Woolf once wrote, “Look out! If you are losing your leisure, it may be that you are losing your soul.”

Well, I had very little leisure this winter. I had “rest”. Rest is pretty fucking boring. But I had little leisure, little fun, little to get excited about. My soul wants attention. It wants life and fun and people and laughter and sex and giggles and spontanaeity. My soul’s demanding.

And I would like to appease its demands for a change.

It’s odd, but much of that pressure for change rests on the shell of wee Pussycat. She needs to step it up and help me get through my busy weeks. Scooting to and from work can take a total of 30 minutes. Less than a busride in ONE direction. But then I can also get groceries and run errands on the way home. Unlike with the buses, where “getting groceries conveniently” tacks 20% onto my bill from overpriced stores I’d never shop at normally.

So, my lack of scooter all winter has probably added $150 a month to my living expenses.

How’s that song go? It’s summertime and the living is easy? Let’s hope so, baby, let’s hope so!

*Steff’s Scooter 101:

I own a 2003 Yamaha Vino Classic that I’ve named Pussycat. It has 31,000 kilometres on it now (20,000 miles) , 29,000+ put on by me. That’s a LOT on a bike, but staggers most of my scooter buddies that I could put THAT on a modern Japanese ride. Its engine is rated to 25,000 clicks and has been completely rebuilt now, just this past October, by The Kid, a 23-year-old guy who’s trying to build a 70cc scooter to break the land-speed record on small crafts — which he’s already raced on the Bonneville Salt Flats once already.

My scooter had lost 30% of its power before The Kid began fixing it — getting it to run the legal speed limit of 50KM/hr (35mph) felt like a gift for the longest time there. I felt my bike had NO hope. So, it’s come so far — now I can hit between 75 and 80km, I have incredible power, except on hills (a carb jet tweak needs to happen, if we can ever find the right jet for this carb) and I feel very much like I have a lot of ability to ride very defensively now.

Unfortunately, with so much work done all at once between August and October, when issues like “it breaks down in the rain” occurred, it became very hard to figure out which of the work we’d done was the culprit. And we won’t know for sure that it’s fixed until I can ride 20 minutes in a good, hard rain. It’s crazy, but I miss being able to choose to ride in downpours. Because if anyone would, I would. :) Only ice and snow keeps me away from Pussycat. C’mon, could you resist a girl named Pussycat? Exactly.