I didn’t mean to cause trouble. Actually, when they began to build me, I dreamed of being a kid’s push-scooter — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous … all that Scout stuff.
But I began to suspect that things were not headed that way when they started fitting wiring and a battery and an electric motor on me and gave me an odd name — Lime (I think of myself more as Rex or Ted, not some sour, green fruit).
Within a couple days, I was finished, then boxed, shipped, unboxed, tossed in the back of a pick-up, and dumped on the street. I say dumped, but, from what I now know, it was more just being left there … in the middle of the night … who knew where? … the only rookie among a bunch of hardened veterans.
I slept fitfully and woke up suddenly, early next morning, with somebody’s cellphone in my face. Within seconds, we were off. It was just becoming light, in a strange city, but at least the sidewalks weren’t crowded and my new owner rode carefully.
New owner? That’s what I innocently assumed, but, instead of taking me home, or to her office, she just left me leaning against a tall building, without a thank you or good-bye.
But I didn’t have much time to pout. This time it was a guy, and he rode me along a now-crowded downtown sidewalk. Why are we not in the bike lane or even the street, and why don’t I have a horn or a bell? I wondered, as we startled and bullied innocent pedestrians.
We’d gone about three miles when the guy stopped, hopped off, and left me right in the middle of the sidewalk. Blocking the way was bad enough, but worse came as angry pedestrians we had sideswiped caught up with me. I got one nasty kick, and a lot of bad language, but at least the fellow who wanted to throw me into the street decided against it and then a samaritan picked me up and pushed me into an alley, out of traffic.
I consider myself a good person (well, maybe more being than person) and I felt awful for my rider’s bad behavior, but what could I have done? At least, stuck in the alley, I was invisible and no one else rode me for the rest of the day. As night fell, I worried that this might really be my end. But, around midnight, a guy found me and, rather than ride me, tossed me in the back of his pick-up, along with a bunch of others.
I thought I was being kidnapped, but the scooter next to me explained that we were just going back to some garage to get juiced up overnight. I wasn’t sure what he meant, but, once I was hooked up, and could feel my energy reviving, I realized how depleted I’d become.
Next morning, before dawn, we all got tossed into another pick-up and distributed around town. I was feeling pretty peppy, which maybe was what attracted my next rider.
He was an even-wilder one. We careened down the sidewalk, knocking a couple people over; then we were in the street, where cars, and even some bikes, missed us by inches, then back on the sidewalk again, heading toward a crowded intersection. When the light turned yellow and we sped up, I knew we weren’t going to stop.
The next thing I knew, I was coming-to in a courtroom, and the guy who had ridden me (bandaged and limping) was being hauled off, handcuffed, by two policemen.
Then the judge looked straight at me, and I thought I was done for. But he said: This poor, battered, object cannot be held responsible for breaking the leg of an old woman and injuring two other unsuspecting pedestrians. The real guilt, here, lies with those — from the boardroom to the shop floor — who have created these devices and unleashed them, without plan or permission, on an unsuspecting public. They are the real criminals.
Fortunately for this innocent victim, whom we cannot simply abandon, the Wounded Scooters Society is prepared to shelter and rehabilitate him.
I was apprehensive. But, once the Society had nursed me back to health (and removed my devices, lest I be returned to a life of crime), I was adopted by a family to be their five-year-old’s playmate. We ride almost every day, sometimes with his little sister. It’s true that I sometimes get my knocks, but it’s just juvenile exuberance. And, if he carelessly leaves me on a sidewalk or in a yard, everybody in the neighborhood knows me and makes sure I get pushed, or ridden, carefully and safely home.