Moisties, my best friend in college and I used to call them. Moisties, as in pre or young teen aged girls who exist for three basic reasons: playing with make-up so they look like harlots, traveling in packs, and giggling constantly whether they be at an amusement park or a funeral. Moisties, as in the kinds of girls who'd never have given us the time of day when we were their ages because they would have been WAY too cool to have associated with clean-cut, well-behaved, young gentlemen such as we were when we'd have been their schoolmates. Moisties, whose primary domain was the shopping mall, wherever it might have been back then when malls were all the rage, the places to be, and weren't closing their doors and becoming photographic features in "Abandoned America" left and right.
I knew that when I became a scooterist, finally I'd be cool. Cool enough not only to turn the heads of moisties as I rode by who'd see me on that big, loud scooter and wish they were forty years older than they were, as well as to turn the heads of their grandmothers who'd wonder what it would be like to have their lady parts pressed tightly against the pillion seat of a Piaggio BV250 with their arms wrapped for dear life around the manly frame of the tough guy who'd be maneuvering a kick-ass scooter through the valley traffic. And, believe, me, I knew that all just as well as I knew it when I was convinced that volunteering to play the tuba in the high school marching band would make me a babe magnet of neodymium strength. Sure enough, back then I had to move through crowds of adoring women by swinging the bell of my Sousaphone back and forth in front of me to clear a path, just as I now have to do with the yoke of my scooter.
So it was today at the Wyoming Valley Mall as I cockily strolled down the concourse with my hands wrapped sturdily around the handles of my walker, and the bumble of my Santa hat flopping back and forth with each confident step I took. From the corners of my eyes I saw women checking me out shamelessly as if my being a scooterist was in my very blood and somehow I was giving off the scent of rugged biker - as if I were exuding scooter exhaust from every pore!
What most caught their attention though, especially that of the two moisties who were passing by giggling, was my phone sounding the ring tone assigned to my younger daughter. There I was mid-stride with that same full sense of manliness that Travolta had to have been feeling as he swung through downtown Brooklyn with that shit eating grin on his face while "Stayin' Alive" blared in the background. I was passing by one of the three dozen or so cell phone kiosks when the moisties and I heard it - that high pitched, squeaky, little girl voice of Agnes from "Despicable Me" calling from my phone the inimitable words, "Look at that fluffy unicorn! It's so fluffy, I'm gonna die!" and repeating until it registered in my nearly 60 year old brain that my phone was ringing.
In that moment as I pulled the phone from my pocket and slid the virtual marker to the right to take the call, I could feel a sense of finally having made it to the big leagues as a man hitting me over the head like a cave woman's club might have done were I just a little older. Finally! Forty some years too late a couple of young teen aged girls noticed me. I mean, really noticed me. And until the full picture came into focus of me in my Santa hat, guiding a walker across the tiled floor, and answering a phone that was screaming about a fluffy unicorn... It felt good!