A few years ago I visited my cousin in New Jersey. She is a woman in her early 40's, very fit and in full control of all of her limbs and mental faculties. I offered to cook for her as thank you for letting me stay at her place so we took a trip to her local grocery store. To my horror this extremely capable woman sits in one of three electric scooters by the door, unplugs it and rolls off into the store.
I cannot even tell you how embarrassed I was. So embarrassed was I, in fact, that during the whole grocery store excursion my disapproval was extremely vigorous to the point that had she really been disabled would have seemed abusive.
She, however, was not fazed, she simply said "These are meant for customers, aren't they? Am I not a customer?" and she rolled along.
I could finish the rest of that story, but it was much the same all the way to the end: my disapproval, her unfazed shoulder shrugging.
A few days ago, my aunt and I took a quick trip into Target. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the week and so the store wasn't crowded. I was feeling particularly lazy and quite playful and took one of those scooters out for a spin while my aunt shopped. Why not? I sat down, unplugged it and took off.
It was exhilarating!
Honestly, I could have definitely walked faster than that scooter was going. Not to mention the thing would conk out in the turns, but it was the closest thing to being in a carriage.
Here's the funny part.
I was riding along the main aisle in the back of the store, where the bed sheets and vacuums were, after a few turns, the scooter started to slow down and then it stopped.
I suspect it was already running on low...but there I sat on a dead scooter in the middle of the main aisle in Target flicking switches, turning knobs and nothing was happening. Then just as I was about to abandon ship a sales associate, clad in Target red, comes along side of me and says very slowly and seriously, kind of like she was high, "Oooh, is it dead?"
I looked up into her very serious, hipster face with her ironic hair clip and she felt bad for me without a hint of irony! "Oh! Uh no, it just conks out a little."
She nodded, sympathetic "Did you want me to get you another one?" still speaking slow...why?
By this time I was feeling like a rat in a trap because she'd raised her little talkie thing to call for assistance and then the jig would be up! She would find out I was just some fat chick taking one of those buggies out for a joy ride while some deserving senior citizen was hobbling along with a walker and the basket I should have been pushing! I could have walked my happy hips around the store "No, no!" I said "I guess I can walk it back...but..." and then with the flick of one more switch the thing shudders back to life and I flee the scene...albeit slowly.
I returned the buggy, feeling kind of bad, but ready to do it again if I know I can get away with it!