Yesterday afternoon I needed to run down to the PO to mail a critical letter, so I hopped on the Segway and tore down to 24th Street only to discover that the PO was closed for some holiday, which I should have suspected since the streets were packed with cars and the sidewalks with people.
Stifling my disappointment, I scratched my head for an alternative errand, since I was already down there, and realized that I could go to the Noe Valley Cheese store and ask Charles about a Basque blue recently glowingly reviewed by Janet Fletcher in the Chron. So I spun around and zipped back down 24th Street, which was totally jammed, backed up for a full block both ways because a van had double-parked in the eastbound lane and exactly opposite it in the westbound lane a meter man had stopped his Cushman to issue tickets, perfectly positioning himself so that between him and the van there was not enough room for a car to squeeze through. Our primary hiring criteria for meter persons are thickness of skin and skull.
The Segway, of course, breezed easily through the jam both ways, adding a bit, I sensed, to the annoyance already experienced by the folks sitting there with their engines snarling. Will this give any of them the idea that they don’t have to use a four-wheeled vehicle to shop on 24th Street?
Traffic was not stopped in the block between Noe and Sanchez, but owing to the level of traffic and folks trying to parallel park, the larger vehicles with enclosed passenger compartments were moving slowly enough that I could easily keep up while maintaining a mid-lane position. I find this empowering.
All this excitement so nerved me up that in the moment I had to consider the decision while crossing Sanchez, I elected to perform a Right Flank, March! at full speed into a three-foot slot between parked cars in front of the cheese store. I had been practicing this maneuver on side streets, but I had not yet tried it when a slight misjudgment would dump me in the road to be run over by onrushing traffic, smash me into one of the parked cars, or impale me on the parking meter.
But it worked. Not only did it work, it worked perfectly. Totally smooth. I alit crisply on the curb as my body came upright again and the Segway stopped.
As I did so I heard a voice over my shoulder, “Is that thing cool or what?” And as hard as I could play devil’s advocate, I don’t think it was sarcastic.
Charles of course had the Basque blue and gave me a taste. As an alternative, he unfurled a major gorgonzola, at which I saluted.
And to put this all into perspective, an hour ago I attempted to jump a low curb in front of my barber shop, one that I had successfully jumped in the past, only to somehow hit it just a hair wrong and end up on my ass in the squishy mashed leaves and muck. Yuck.
Two patrons and my barber were watching. Triple yuck.
I am so enjoying this late adolescence. See, when I was a teenager I was too busy being good.
Oh, and here’s my friend Sybil testing the Segway. Hadn’t yet figured out how to get rid of the date/time stamp: