Saturday, August 26, 2006

Holy Scooter Gangs, Batman!

Scooter gangs rule the streets in Italy. They seemed to travel in packs and appeared fearless when nearing any car. It was like a game: cars vs. scooters. And they’d get bonus points when a pedestrian screamed and jumped back onto the sidewalk.

Yes, I added to the bonus points total over and over again. Every time I stepped out onto the street I had to keep my eyes peeled for scooter gangs. I swear, they’d materialize out of nowhere. I’d start to cross when there wasn’t any traffic, but then PRESTO, there they were…aiming for me. Does that sound paranoid? I tend to think that way. A lot.

But what struck me most was that we never knew if it was going to be a student with tattoos, a scooter chick dressed in Italian chic, or a business man in what my family and I liked to call a “scooter suit” (seen in photo above). But we learned to look out for one another, so when someone shouted, “Watch out--Scooter suit!” or “Careful--Scooter chick!” we knew exactly who was aiming for us. And that, my friends, is how we survived the mean streets of Firenze and Roma.

We also turned the noun “scooter” into a verb while driving the roads. We had walkie-talkies in each car as we caravanned from town to town and more than once someone in one of the cars would declare into their handset, “We’ve been SCOOTERED!” This meant that a scooter gang had darted out in front of the car and separated it from the other two cars in our party. I’m not sure why they felt the need to do this…Perhaps to weaken us. But it never worked, as we managed to reunite and become more seasoned, aggressive drivers, like the Italians.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Hmm. That can also be applied to the life of a writer…

Take care,