Rolling across the parking lot at speed of snails

Burt's Eye View

Somehow, Terry tricked me into going shopping with her. I’m sure a candy store was mentioned, but we never got to one.

“Let me drive,” I said. “I know where the candy store’s at.”

“The last time I let you drive, we ended up at the zoo.”

I smiled. “Yeah. I know.”

“We were supposed to be running to the store for trash bags and cleaning supplies.”

I frowned. “Yeah. I know.” I tugged at the passenger side seat belt. “Let me drive. I know a shortcut.”

“You’re worse than a little kid.” She flicked the turn signal. “Besides, we’re here.”

I slumped as she pulled into the expansive parking lot of a department store. “This isn’t the candy place.”

“We still need trash bags and cleaning supplies. You need to clean your office.”

I crossed my arms and pouted. “You’re always treating me like a little boy. I’m a 60-year-old man.”

“Same thing,” she muttered.

Across from our parking space sat an electric mobility scooter. Whoever used it last abandoned it for someone else to return to the lobby.

I perked up. “We Cub Scouts are always looking for good deeds to perform.”

“You haven’t been a cub for a good half century.”

“You’re the one who claims I haven’t grown up.” I jumped onto the scooter. “Go, Speed Racer, go!”

Terry rolled her eyes and stalked toward the store. I pulled the lever on the right of the steering stick. Nothing happened. I toggled the left lever. Nothing. I flickered between them. Nope.

I finally gave up and squinted at the directions. “A little boy wouldn’t have been smart enough to read the guide,” I hollered.

“A boy would have figured out to hit the ‘on’ switch,” Terry called over her shoulder.

I pushed the red switch mounted between the handlebars. The scooter scooted.

“Nobody likes a smart aleck,” I yelled.

I yanked the toggle to full speed ahead so I could zoom past Terry. I fell further behind. As snails whizzed past, honking little snail horns, I recalled the famous scene from “Seinfeld” in which George leads a group of senior citizens on a low-speed mobility scooter chase. While the mob on wheels putters after a barely fleeing George, pedestrians casually pass the whole string.

I had plenty of time to replay the scene in my head. Those scooters are really sloooooow.

“You know there is a hidden switch to kick it up a notch for speed,” my buddy Bruce told me later. Just as I was kicking myself for not reading ALL of the directions, he told me he was joking. Maybe so, but if I ever get a scooter of my very own, I’m going to soup it up.

I finally putt-putted into the lobby. I hunched over the handlebars in anticipation of zigging, zagging and otherwise pirouetting across the store on my electric scooter.

“No,” Terry said. She stood by a bank of outlets and plugged-in parked scooters. “You are going to walk like a big boy.”

I sighed and put my toy away. Someday when I’m not under my wife’s direct adult supervision, I’ll get to terrorize the aisles with my scooter cart rodeo skills.

“Maybe if you volunteer to do the shopping, she’ll let you go alone,” my friend Tori said later.

I might be juvenile, but I’m not crazy. I’d go to the candy store.

— Zip along with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.