As mentioned prior, the little woman and I live in a mostly-Latino apartment complex nestled in a mostly-Latino neighborhood residing in a mostly-Latino region of the United States (which, as of July, 2006, is 15% of the nations population).
As two of the six white people in a city made up of Spanish speakers, we stand out. I’m a full head taller than most individuals in our complex, and-thus far-the only one that wears a collared shirt to work (spare me your privileged culture lecture; I know). Andrea is probably the only one in the building that doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish, and we have two cars. Needless to say, we stand out.
So, we bought one of these:
Obviously, we weren’t already easy enough to spot, so what better way to make myself seen that to zip by at a brisk 37 mph on the smallest street-legal cycle in existence?
I know, I know; you’re probably thinking, ‘Matt, you flashy prick! How dare you drop money on a rice rocket when you are trying to save for a house?’
Actually, it costs about 10% of what we would have paid for a new car and will pay for itself in insurance alone after 18 months. But, surely the qualm you have is valid. Driving a status symbol to work every day lumps me into the same demographic as the Starbucks-drinking, Mercedes-driving, menthol-smoker screeching into his bluetooth headest in the carpool lane by himself. How shall I preserve my sense of humility if I’m weaving through traffic at stoplights to be the first one through the intersection?
Luckily for my image, it’s been raining the last few days. Let’s consult the diagram of the man on the scooter.
Man on Scooter Diagram
If the blue arrows represent the rain coming toward the rider as he clips along at 37 mph, you can see that they will mostly bounce off the front panel and helmet, with the arms catching most of the vertical rainfall, see Fig. 1
Figure 1: Rain Shield
But, in the case of an exceptionally tall rider, the chicken legs stick out the side of the scooter, funneling the air and accompanying rain inward, toward the groin, see Figure 2.
Figure 2: Potty Break
So, since I have been riding the scooter 6 miles in torrential rain, my swimsuit-zone has been getting a bath every morning. So my collared shirt and dress pants are soaked, see Figure 3.
Figure 3: Poopie-doop
I did not messily shit myself on the scooter. Few things more humbling than my students asking that.
Luckily, the ladies in the PE department (who dote over me for some reason) insisted that I change into dry sweats while my shirt and pants get dried in the school dryer. Super. Now I am the youngest individual on staff, and I’m wearing sweats.
I look like a sleepover.
The next day, I figured that I could save some time drying clothes if I wore my snow pants over my dress pants.
So now, picture me. I wear a goofy collared shirt with pens, pencils, and a laser pointer in the pocket. I’m 6 foot 2 with skinny legs sticking out the side of a blue scooter, I’m wearing snow pants, and my pants are soaked.
Meep Meep, and away I go.
Figure 4: Lambda-Lambda-Lambda
Don’t judge me.