Never Too Old

I took a Segway tour of my town the other day, guided by police officer friend, Rose. I went on a wild ride around the countryside with her just last week and wanted to continue the fun through the side job she had recently taken. Husband George went, as did friend Betsy and her son, Max.

We started with a short safety video, then Rose demonstrated how to ride and gave us time to practice. It was not an easy thing for me; I love nothing more than to have my feet planted firmly on solid ground. But hey, this was an adventure, something new to try. Couldn’t be worse than skydiving.

We headed down the sidewalk, my muscles so taut I could scarcely move. I found myself drifting too close to the curb on my left and a five inch drop-off, but couldn’t seem to make the Segway move right so I jumped off—fortunately without letting the machine fly into a passing car. After that, I was more than just tense; I was shaking like a leaf.

I kept telling myself, breathe, relax. Didn’t do much good.

“Rose, I need to stop for a bit,” I said. She took one look at my pale face, then parked me on a bench while the rest of the crew went on down the road.

Ten minutes later they returned and we continued our journey.

“Quit looking down, Karen,” Rose kept saying. “Look ahead, at where you’re going.” Where have I heard that before? Driver’s Ed, when I was sixteen and behind the wheel of a car for the first time. I tried to stay in my lane by looking at the hood of the car and noting where it intersected with the line running down the center of the road. Didn’t work. My instructor repeatedly told me to aim high and look to where I was going. Works the same with a Segway. So I forced myself to look ahead, which kept Rose in my sights.

I was calmer by now and found it easier to control the machine. Still, concentrating on my transportation and Rose’s butt left me unable to study the historic homes we were passing. At least I could still listen to information that Rose was sharing via two-way radio. Of course, she was so busy encouraging me she missed the opportunity to talk much about the scenery.

I was aware that people were watching us, particularly while waiting at a four-way stop for all of us to cross the street. They were held up a bit because of my slow pace. I didn’t care—and that’s saying something for me. Actually, our entire tour was slowed down because of me. Rose, George, Betsy, and Max didn’t seem to mind.

We took a fairly long ride around town, then back to the hardware store where the touring machines were kept. George, Betsy, and Max zipped around the parking lot as long as they could, unwilling to let the ride end, while I quickly parked my Segway against the nearest wall and got off. It took a few minutes to regain my land legs but it felt good to have my feet back on the ground.

What did I learn through this experience?

  • I am still timid at trying new things, as I have been my entire life. Some things don’t change with age.
  • I don’t feel in control when I’m on wheels.
  • People’s opinions don’t matter to me—which goes completely against what my parents taught.
  • I have a wonderful, patient husband and friends.
  • It’s impossible to enjoy the sights around town when I’m focused on not falling off my transportation.

I could get used to riding a Segway with more practice but for now, I plan to stick to the walking tours of my fair city.

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