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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The 'wave threshold'

In the days before I switched to two wheeled commuting, driving a random silver-colored European station wagon to work made me relatively invisible to the people I passed along the way. I was just one more car riding along a relatively lightly travelled set of rural secondary roads.

But on a bright red Vespa, there's no such thing as going un-noticed. One of the main reasons I selected such a bright color was to make me more noticeable on the roads... from a safety standpoint, that is.

And I have to admit, looking at the bright red scooter in the showroom just made me happy.

What I didn't anticipate, though, was that others would not only take notice, but also experience some of the same 'feel good' thing along the way. Ever since starting to commute the approx. 75km to work (each way) on my Vespa, I've been noticing some interesting changes in the way people along the road relate to me.

Kids - at least those under 12 or 13 - who used to ignore me as I drove past in my station wagon - now smile and wave when they see me approaching on my red scooter.

Even young Muslim girls wearing traditional Hijab who (one would think) would be much more culturally circumspect about waving to a stranger (especially a man), frequently smile and offer a little wave.

Yet older teens and young adults only occasionally wave at the scooter... and grown-ups pretty much ignore me no matter what I'm driving. I guess there must be some sort of 'wave threshold' at work there.

I honestly don't believe there can possibly be a point beyond which people are unaffected by the charms of a bright red scooter. So maybe once they reach a certain age they're simply better able to curb their enthusiasm.


Posted by David Bogner on January 30, 2011 | Permalink


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Perhaps you would get more attention if you were pedaling that sweet Bianchi. More exercise too!

Posted by: Alan T. | Jan 30, 2011 1:59:29 PM

treppenwitz doing his part to bring world peace.
i wont thank you, youre a giver.

Posted by: fred | Jan 30, 2011 4:21:01 PM

l'havdil, reminds me of those fancy brightly colored walkers at the old age home in AZ where my parents are.

Posted by: batya | Jan 30, 2011 5:53:08 PM

It is better to curb one's enthusiasm than to be enthusiastic about one's curb.

Posted by: Elisson | Jan 31, 2011 1:31:16 AM

Wasn't there a famous Italian movie in which a red scooter appears over and over again?

Posted by: Dick Stanley | Jan 31, 2011 5:00:27 AM

It's just struck me... 75km? that's a considerable trip on a scooter.

Posted by: Jethro | Jan 31, 2011 6:04:06 PM

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