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Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yesterday, Gui Gui came by my house for our customary Sunday afternoon promenade around a random suburban park. He called me, saying he was devant chez moi, and I walked down my mile long pipestem and found him leaning back on his scooter (or "scoot") with helmet and aviators on. "Where are we going?" I asked him. "There's a park that I want to take you to up the road. Here take a helmet." And he reached into the "trunk," aka lock box, and pulled out a helmet for me. I seated myself behind him and we zipped off, at the pulse racing speed of 25 miles an hour. Gui's can handle the two of us, but things were a bit touch and go as we headed up to St G (see previous post about death hill on cliff).

What is a scooter? Before I came here, I had this romanticized view of it. I'm going to go ahead and blame all tampax commercials and general misguided stereotypes about Europe, because the word "scooter" in English, is actually moped. Just take off the redneck, and replace with a skinny Frenchman in Ray Bans, and we're talking the same thing.

But, while not as romantic as I had intially thought, there is something thrilling, or at least pleasing about riding around on a scooter. There we were, perched on a moped, weaving through traffic, with my arms wrapped around Gui Gui and our helmets gently bashing each other at each stop sign, and I was happy. We couldn't really talk, because the language/cultural barrier really becomes obvious when there are loud noises involved, but it was really comforting to be molded to the back of his body, and for once, not listen to a single French obscenity while he drove.

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