good morning -
(click the link / scooter to listen)
this morning's track is another cassette tape capture this time featuring the funny little short scale bass guitar I've been playing
I'll be playing at Tubby's next Friday, here's da flyer:
I have never been swift, I have never been particularly graceful. And I have never fully gotten over the tragic fact of an abundant life: you simply can't be everywhere you wanna be, decisions and sacrifices must be made. For a brief moment, though, I found what felt like a cure for these ills.
They were wildly, reprehensibly dangerous and poorly managed by the type of tech evangelist disrupters that have ruined our world so I admit that I was skeptical when I first saw the Revel scooters.
But then I met my partner who early on in getting to know each other dazzled me with story after story of navigating motorbikes around Thailand - through untrammeled jungles and into many 7/11 parking lots she rode free on her two wheels and her two stroke motor.
One afternoon all of a sudden we had somewhere to be with no easy way to get there. I don't even think we had a conversation about it. The rent-by-the-minute electric scooter was so obviously the correct thing for us to do. Naturally I would then ride on the back, twice my sweetie's size, feeling the strength in her sculptor's back and arms as I held on in an embrace of a new kind of intimacy: if I loosen my grip, I will be thrown from our chariot, the sudden road rash of letting go.
And soon the scooters were a nearly everyday presence in my life, as crucial to navigating life in New York City as my public library card. I learned of the subtle ways in which their rules could be circumvented. Even on a slight incline, they could be pushed to a hurtling thirty miles per hour. And best of all, I worked around their curfew. Normally the service would be disabled from midnight to 5am, an anti drunk scootering measure. However I found that you could reserve your scooter just before midnight and then ride it as late as 12:29am. I would then simply stay out dancing until five in the morning and leave the club with my very same scooter diligently waiting for me outside: together we'd cruise as champions through the very middle of the dawn streets of Bushwick.
Some of my favorite, most deliriously joyful memories have taken place on these lethal, rinky dink scooters. I remember the blissful feeling of the night air on my singing, tingling skin after Gracelee and I ate lucidly spicy Thai food in Gowanus, how heightened everything felt, as refreshingly cooling as a swig of milk. The surreal, almost healing journey home when Matt rode on the back, how unending the journey from Greenpoint felt, how empty the back streets. The 3 Stooges circus act of Gracelee and I trying to carry two stools as we snaked through the L.E.S. The time Bren and I scooted in search of coffee, I think of the helmet selfie we took often. Watching Jordan immediately eat shit as soon as he tapped the throttle, all of us laughing. Grimacing through the cacophonous, blinding smoke of fourth of July fireworks the last week I lived in Brooklyn. Just recently there was the ecstasy of scooting through the rain on the eve of my friends' beautiful wedding, both joy and whatever was in that chocolate I ate on the dance floor kicking in as we hauled ass down Onderdonk, my girlfriend hooting, goofy and spectacular.
But there were harrowing moments, too. Close calls in traffic, the scooter's engine suddenly dying when I was ferrying my Dad to Montero's. At the very worst peak of the first wave of COVID in NYC I rode a scooter to the rental car place so that I could drive out and meet Gracelee in Ohio. I hadn't ventured beyond my neighborhood in a few weeks and it was on the back of a Revel scooter that I first saw the terrifying refrigerated trailers that haunted us then. Fearing the contamination of a shared helmet, I decided to ride to Crown Heights without, a type of bargaining with peril that for some reason to me feels uniquely American. And make no mistake: these scooters are insanely dangerous. They don't even feel particularly safe, like I don't really think you could trick yourself into thinking otherwise. I know myself well enough to know that the edginess, the possibility of real injury is absolutely part of the appeal - gambler mode, the arousal of self destruction. People have died. But then again, how many thousands of people died in automobile accidents today?
Soon the Revel scooters will deactivated. We're just over a week from their demise and I'm trying, struggling to make peace with their departure. I rode them gratuitously this past weekend, finding any excuse. I've already emailed customer support asking whether or not it will be possible to buy a helmet or a scooter. My buddy Sam has suggested getting a squadron together for one last ride, maybe we could send a hundred of them flying off of a Coney Island pier like decommissioned subway cars, a new starter home for coral reef and oysters. Sure, I suppose I could start riding e-bikes instead - I did have the time of my life being a pedal-assisted menace in New Orleans last month, maybe I could learn to love CitiBike, too. But - probably obvious to you at this point - it's not really the scooters themselves that I'll miss. Everyday I feel myself slowing down, growing more reasonable and more prone to staying in - and really loving it - as my daily life grows more comfortable, connected, grounded, sane. It's hard to feel your feelings when you're perilously careening through the city. On nights when my dance card was full and I felt pulled to multiple rooms of people scattered throughout the boroughs the scooters granted me the power of impossible feats of showing up. So what do you do when you no longer feel pulled to pull off the impossible?
But what about you? What are you zipping around on? Where are you choosing not to be? Are you holding on tight enough?