Yesterday I had one of those rare moments of self-awareness, when you can see yourself as others see you, and it makes you laugh. Or cry. Whatever.
A little backstory:
While we look for an affordable apartment in Silicon Valley, my husband and I are staying at my mother’s house in Palo Alto. Apartment searching has been tougher than I thought, but we are resilient and stubborn people.
One night, after a couple drinks at our favorite pub (the Rose and Crown), my husband pulls into the driveway and returns with a surprise – a kick scooter!
“I found it for 7 bucks at the thrift store!”
I laugh with delight and ride it around the quiet suburban street, at 10:00 at night. Despite the couple glasses of wine, I do a fair job of keeping it upright. It sits against the garage for several days, until I am running late for a writers’ meeting, and my husband has the car. I decide to give it a go.
It’s hard work, scooter-ing! It’s exercise, actually. Entering the Stanford Mall, I pass shoppers filtering in and out of restaurants, including a child and his father.
“Daddy, look at her! She’s riding a scooter!”
“Yes, son, it’s like yours.”
“But mine is cooler.”
“Ha ha, yes. Yours is cooler.”
I start to feel a bit self-conscious passing Neiman Marcus, when yet another child comments on the scooter. Instead of bringing it into the cafe, I prop the scooter discreetly against the door.
After the meeting, I am whizzing past Palo Alto High School and it hits me: this isn’t London, where you see trendy, green professionals zipping along the Thames path and popping out of the tubes on their scooters.
This is Palo Alto, California, and I’m wearing a backpack, riding a scooter back to my mother’s house. In my thirties. What must these people think of me? Google professionals, no doubt, passing me by in their Prii and Teslas.
In the near-darkness, at 5’2″, I reckon I’m short enough to pass for a high schooler.
I take small comfort in this.