My scooter has two speeds: turtle and rabbit. It’s really not hard to control how fast it goes; it even has little drawings of a turtle and rabbit just so you know how fast you’re going. But on my first try in testing it out, I managed to crash myself into a file cabinet. The speed was set to turtle.
It’s embarrassing to clarify that my disease doesn’t affect my brain – I’m totally fine up there and I took pride in getting A’s all my life in school, probably because growing up my stereotypically Asian mother stressed to my brother and me that that was the only acceptable grade. People knew me for being serious about school but there I was, shocking my physical therapist by running into a file cabinet.
Before you wonder how that’s even possible or how stupid that is, I assure you that it only happened once. I quickly learned how to control my scooter (it really isn’t hard to drive) and now I always keep it on rabbit speed. And before you picture fiery sparks exploding from the wheels, the fastest it goes is around the same speed of someone steadily jogging. There isn’t a normal speed for “scooter-drivers,” although I guess turtle speed would always be the safest decision. I guess I can choose to always drive around the same speed as an average walker (and I do when I’m with a friend who’s walking), but it feels awfully slow when I’m sitting in the chair going somewhere by myself. The worst is when there’s a crowd. I’ll feel a stronger impulse to drive faster, yelping countless “excuse me’s” through the throng.
I don’t feel like a daredevil or some Nascar driver on the sidewalk; usually, I’m just trying to get somewhere. But I’ve heard that I look as if I’m on some kind of mission and I’m going to assume that it’s probably due to my resting bitch-face. If you don’t know what that means, I’ll refer to how my friend defines it as a “too-cool-for-school look.” She revealed to me that her first impression of me was that I had that kind of look and when I told my dad about it, he just plainly said, “that means you look like a bitch.” When I told my other friend about it, she tried to cheer me up, saying, “but isn’t it funny if people thought you were a bitch but then they talk to you and find out you’re not?” I appreciated her intentions, but I didn’t really feel better. All I can say is that I don’t scowl or glare at random strangers or the ground 24/7. I mean, I usually wear sunglasses so you wouldn’t be able to tell if I did, anyway. (The bigger the sunglasses, the better.)
No, but seriously, there was one time when I did really feel like a daredevil. I was talking to a guy in class in college and I don’t remember how it came up in the conversation, but I told him that I had a scooter. I’d leave my scooter right outside of class and take the nearest seat to the door. I thought he already knew about my disability – I’d think people can tell from my arms and fingers – but his jaw dropped, surprised to hear that I used a scooter.
“Wow, how fast does it go?” he asked.
“Not that fast, really,” I said.
“What’s the model? When did you get it? Was it expensive?” he blurted.
I was taken aback a bit from his intrigue; I didn’t know how to answer so I just told him that he could go see it. I’d be getting in it after class, anyway.
“It’s just right outside of class by the door,” I said.
He couldn’t believe it. In the midst of lecture, he dashed out, leaving me in disbelief and glancing at the professor, wondering if she thought we were fooling around in the back. When the guy came back, he quietly sat down and had that Ohhh look in the face. It was the kind of Ohhh that one would exclaim upon finding out that 1+1 = 2. He looked as if he understood everything now. He turned to me.
“Oh I thought this whole time you were talking about a motorcycle,” he admitted.
It was only after I was riding my scooter on my way to my next class that I burst out laughing. I realized that he wasn’t wrong about me having a motorcycle. I was speeding by on the pavement with my resting bitch-face and sunglasses on.