Transvestite: 1 / Scooter: 0
This week, I had the good fortune to be sitting in Tribal Cafe in Los Angeles, sipping a ginger tea and tapping out an email on my phone, when I looked up in time to watch a woman storm up to my scooter as it was parked across the street and furiously push it over, all while screaming “Fuck you!” to no one in particular.
I’m not sure how you believe that you would react if you were to find yourself in my shoes at that moment. Perhaps you’re thinking that you have too much pride to ride a 150 CC scooter in the first place and that if you did somehow find yourself the owner of one, you should be grateful to anyone who would go to such lengths to destroy it and thereby save you the humiliation of having to ride it.
I can tell you from having lived this experience that you will undoubtedly remain motionless and uncomprehending for a few moments before the reality of what has just occurred sets in, after which you will probably leap to your feet and run across the street to accost the perpetrator, shouting, “Hey! What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
But that is when, in the amber Los Angeles twilight, she turned toward me a face streaked with black mascara and disorganized splotches of blue eye shadow and said, in a voice that sounded like the lovechild of Lindsay Lohan and Kathleen Turner after a week-long meth bender, “Everything!”
A few more moments of uncomprehending confusion passed, after which I concluded that this was, at the very least, an earnest answer to my question.
Not only that, but it was quite clear that the woman whom I had just watched push over my scooter was in fact a transvestite strung out on a physician’s desk reference list of pharmaceuticals and hormone replacements, and so I’m not sure what satisfaction I would have gotten by continuing to berate her on the side of a busy street. Passersby would simply have seen a grown man mercilessly shouting down a clearly disheveled, clearly unwell woman already in tears.
So I watched her walk on into the setting sunlight and toward some assuredly horrific future beset with continuing hardships and reasons to resort to petty vandalism. I then turned to pick my poor scooter up off the street and place it back onto its stand, thinking all the while that when I returned home that night I would have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and reevaluate some of my life choices.
Because as if the indignity of being a 34-year-old man who rides a scooter wasn’t bad enough, try being a 34-year-old man who drives a scooter pissing away the waning moments of his youth waiting in line at a comedy open mic for five minutes of stage time and watching a homeless woman with hepatitis A, B, and C push over that scooter as it is parked across the street.
To further compound this indignity, as I walked back into the cafe after setting my scooter back upright, a young man sitting outside who had had the benefit of witnessing these events asked me, “So was that like an ex-girlfriend or something?”
To be fair, this woman’s behaviors were totally in keeping with those of my ex-wife, so kudos to that guy for having the discerning eye to ascertain that I am precisely the sort of fuck-up who would get involved with someone who would walk up a busy street and push over a stranger’s scooter simply because they were having a bad day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some apologies to make to my father for living a life in which this sort of thing is not an altogether unexpected event.