I forgot through the long winter how good it is to be driving a scooter on a warm day. You become painfully aware of how much there is in the world to be smelled, tasted, listened to, looked at, touched, and comprehended before you die–a lifetime in every blink of the eye–and you find yourself twisting the throttle until she surges under you like a river, wanting to get to it all, all at once. You begin to fear death on the prettiest days.
— Peter S. Beagle, I See By My Outfit
I have been separated this week from my new scooter, a gorgeous blue Vespa GTS 300 named Annabelle Lee. I found last night that I am not bearing this separation as well as I might; my dreams were about fitting my new helmet on and going for rides on long winding country highway roads. This is probably because this week I am finding myself surrounded by winding country highway roads, as I’m away in the countryside of Maine.
It is a beautiful place and a vacation that has been long overdue for me. My last vacation was our wedding, which was an amazing time, but not precisely restful and nearly a year ago. And the last few weeks have been extremely busy, between getting my motorcycle license and making my acquaintance with Annabelle Lee, my business trip to L.A. and my brother’s graduation from high school on Friday. I have not had much time to breathe, except for the moments I’ve stolen to work on becoming a better scooter rider. It’s no small wonder then that my moments on my scooter have been joyous and filled with an enormous sense of freedom. There is something about driving a scooter that turns the entire world into a giant adventure. I’m discovering things about roads that I’ve traveled hundreds of times before, because I’m learning how to navigate them in an entirely new way. I’m becoming much more intimate with the details because they matter so much more than do they in a car. There’s a bump here, a curve there, a turn that I have to press the handlebars this way for. And the air, the amount of air that flows in your face and over your body, creates a sense of exhilaration that I have never experienced in a car.
To get through my week of separation, I am using my relaxation time to read I See By My Outfit, by Peter S. Beagle. It’s a beautifully written account of two identically bearded friends who traveled from New York to San Francisco on scooters in the sixties, stopping in cities and towns along the way to play a little guitar and talk to people. He’s probably more well-known for his book The Last Unicorn and I find that I am really enjoying the added dimension of scooter-rider to my idea of fantasy novelist. The writing is beautiful and every once in a while, you come across a passage that describes that indescribable thing; that feeling that makes you want to grab every stranger you see and get them on a scooter so that they can be as in love with the world as you are.