When I lived in Spain for a semester during college, I used to dream of being the cool girl on the sea foam green Vespa cruising around town with my hair and trendy scarf blowing in the wind behind me. When we got married, my husband bought me a Vespa. At last, my dreams of being a European hipster had come true. The day we got it, he took me to the empty parking lot behind the Wesley Foundation where I worked, put me on the scooter, showed me how to balance it, and told me to take her for a spin. In a matter of about twenty seconds after hitting the accelerator, I laid the Vespa over in the empty parking lot, sat down on the curb and cried. Dreams. Crushed. Ha ha!
But, I got back in the saddle and eventually learned to drive with a moderate (or maybe mild?) amount of control. When we left the states, the hardest thing for me to sell was the scooter. I remember selling everything we owned in a garage sale, walking into our empty house and actually feeling relief. Then, I remember a few days later sobbing as my husband drove to Ralls to meet some stranger and give away our sweet sea foam green Vespa. Tragedy.
But, life has a way of working things out. After living here for a year and relying entirely on mass transportation (which is definitely not without merit), we bought a scooter. No, it isn't a Vespa, nor is it sea foam green, and I'm not really cool, BUT my scarf does daily blow in the wind! It is amazing how much faster it is to get around on a scooter. Also, while I do miss conversations with random strangers on the way to and fro, I don't really miss imitating sardines in a really, really hot can and having someone else's sweat all over both sides of my body. So, it is definitely a practical move. But, my favorite thing about having the scooter has little to do with practicality. My favorite thing is giving little kids rides. Might sound silly, but there is not a kid in the world that doesn't love a ride on the scooter. Here, we let them stand in front and hold on to the handle bars. No, that is probably not the safest way of doing things, but they are all grins and laughs. Normally, a neighbor kid will just hop on for a block or two when we are on our way out for the day, and it is two minutes of pure, windy, horn honking joy.
Every time I watch one of them on the scooter, there is something in me that asks God for that same kind of response in my heart to life. They just hop on without worrying about where they are going and enjoy it. They enjoy the breeze, and the sound of the motor, and waving at their friends. I want to be like that too. Just enjoying the hop-on-and-go-for-a-ride-moments.