Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's About the Rides

Riding the scooter and putzing just a little in the garden is as outdoorsy as I get. If I were creating a profile for an online dating service there would be no, "Enjoys long walks in the woods," nor any other trite but sweet and warm sounding nature drivel. I got my fill of grass and flowers in the backyard when I was a kid and that was about it. My parents were indoor folk and I grew up in their footsteps.

There were two places to which I might have gotten taken to have fun outside back then when I was growing up mostly inside the house - playgrounds, and amusement parks. "Park" to me was synonymous with a place that had rides. Real rides with motors that somebody on the sidelines didn't have to push nor twirl. Real rides that you needed tickets to ride. Real rides of the sort where you could find the best ones by checking the perimeter for a fresh puke of hastily chewed hot dog chunks and red snow cone juice.

I don't know how old I was when I was introduced to the "state park" or "municipal park" kind of park, but I'm sure I pitched a major fit.

"Where are the rides?!!"
"There aren't any rides here."
"But you said we're going to the park."
"We are at the park. Frances Slocum State Park."
"What are we supposed to do here?"
"Walk along the nature trail."
"Walk?! To the rides?"
"There are no rides."
"This is stupid!"
"Stop complaining!"
"Then stop calling this a park!"

To this day I still feel cheated when I go to this kind of park. The kind without rides. The one where walking through nature is supposed to be some kind of big treat. The kind where running, screaming children make being there seem like being stuck with recess duty after lunch. These places should have names other than "park" because they don't deliver what they promise to me by virtue of their names. They're boring, and they require walking. Where's the fun? I still don't know.

I'm imagining there's going to come a day when I'm lying in a hospital bed regretting that I lived a very sedentary lifestyle, but it's like I'm missing a gene that appreciates the expense of energy in doing anything that isn't absolutely necessary. Like walking when you can ride. Like going to a gym and essentially wasting energy. Like pondering how something called a park might not have rides.

Now and then when I'm out on the scooter I pass my cousin who's an avid runner. I beep. We wave. And I imagine each of us scratches his head in thinking about how senseless what the other's doing seems.

I'm still better off on my scooter than this old guy...

He sits in his car in the best handicap space in the municipal "park" lot and he's there just about every summer day. I've seen him sitting there in the morning, afternoon, and evening, almost every time I've scootered through over the course of the past two years. I've never seen him get out of the car. He just sits there. I call him "The Creeper" because it kind of gives me the creeps thinking that he just watches everybody coming and going. I feel sorry for the old buck. He could be at a real park somewhere. On the rides!

When you get right down to it, scootering isn't about the make and model, the accessories, the gear, or any of that. It's like the park - it's about the rides!

I took the accompanying shots for this post
from vantage points very near to where the
scooter was parked. No calories were harmed
in the making of this article.


cpa3485 (JIM) said...

"Stop calling this a park!"
Too Funny!!!
I get a real kick from this post, but have to admit I was more of a 'park' type of guy growing up.
We had a great city park just a couple of blocks from home where I grew up in Topeka. Spent numerous hours there. There was a swimming pool, ballparks, bicycle jumps, trees, a creek, and a million things to do there.
And yes maybe a creepy guy there once in a while, too.

Paul said...

LOL! That's hilarious Joe!

'Course, while my views on exercise fall in line with yours, my views on the outdoors are a bit different. I love to fish, hunt, and explore to woods. I have a little Robert Frost buried deep inside of me. I've been trying to get him out for years, but he keeps hiding behind my kidneys and he won't come out!