OK, it’s not a total carbon-less footprint, but it does get 100 mpg. I took my scooter to run the errands.
Because I had an scooter accident on a drawbridge a few years ago, though, I won’t take the bridge that’s two blocks from my house (it felt like going over a giant cheese grater when I landed and I am not at all anxious to repeat the experience), so I drove a few miles out of my way to use the Treasure Island bridge. It was an inconvenience over what I’m used to, but actually quite nice.
I take the back roads on the scooter, both for safety reasons and, well, really, what’s the point of being out in the open air if you can’t slow down and take a look around? I was cruising down some brick streets, just trying not to hit a pot hole, when out of nowhere… peppers and eggs. It’s a scent that yanks me right back to riding my bike around my old Clearwater neighborhood as a kid. The smell always made me feel less like the only Italian kid on the block, because to me it smelled like the peppers and eggs my mom used to cook for dinner some nights. As I grew up I realized I was smelling melaleuca, the scourge of the Everglades and one of Florida’s most hideous mistakes.
Here’s where I’d like to wax poetic about how horribly we’ve mucked up the state, but I can’t. I just had a lovely, leisurely scooter ride through back roads. I watched the sun puff up the clouds with pink as I chugged over the bridge, all the while inhaling salty low tide and feeling the night swirl around my shoulders.
I’d really like to write about how I feel like maybe I can go without a car and how we all need to slow down every now and then. I’d like to ruminate about how if we all put away our keys and traveled through our neighborhoods at a slower pace, maybe we’d think twice about selling the empty lot down the block to the highest bidder, damn the results. I’d probably even like to get a little preachy about the number of SUVs that whizzed past me, impatient with my lollygagging.
But tonight I’m too busy remembering the freedom of a twilight bike ride on a quiet summer street to focus on how the smell symbolizes every environmental mistake Florida ever made. Tonight I’m eight years old again, safe in my summer place, unworried by deadlines unmet and how much time it’s taking me to get home. Tonight I don’t care about carbon footprints or deadlines or my thesis or developers.
Tonight I’m just out for a bike ride.