They’re everywhere. Seemingly multiplying when they come in close proximity. Some are orange, others lime green. Like a school of fish, we all move together shifting left then right, never getting out of formation for fear of an impending tumble, or worse still, a dreaded crash! If you’re lucky, you can hear them coming up behind you. If you’re not, that frozen feeling creeps up your back and you don’t know whether to move right or left or just stand still until they pass.
And they move fast! The hurry is built right into the design. No need to push off or keep the roll going with the swing of a leg. Just stand up, hold on, and go! Bikes have bells, cars have horns, and even skateboards have the click clack of wheels over concrete…but electric scooters are pretty much stealthily silent. Blank-faced riders looking straight ahead with no pretense of athletics, no helmets or elbow pads, often not even athletic footwear. Some are even actively engaged with phones, scrolling, viewing, sometimes even filming.
If only they solved the parking problem on campus or become part of the mitigation of fossil fueled commuting. Unfortunately, they seem to create their own hazards as ownerless transport left in growing herds. Maybe I need to hop on one and find their charm for myself.
I love how you didn’t tell us exactly what you were writing about until later. Building the suspense. Is this a new city phenomenon? We don’t have them here.
It’s funny, the scooters are all over the college campus (UCSD) and you see lots of them downtown. Where I live–more suburban and closer to the beach–we have tons of electric bikes (many ridden by teens and pre-teens).
They are not too popular out here where I am but I have certainly seen them in the cities — often just left leaning against poles and buildings. An odd sort of abandonment.
You definitely built the suspense in the first paragraph by keeping us guessing. There was a stealthy menacing mood–I began imagining something kind of like dementors!