The last few days, I have gotten it into my head that I really want a scooter, now I am not talking about just any scooter. I want one of those good good good like Bridgette Bardot scooters, one that looks cool, some sort of Italian inspired design, one that you might see tooling through a scene in Fellini’s Roma, perhaps one that is white with a black seat or white with a red seat, or white with a white seat or even black with a hound’s tooth check seat. Maybe this is because I saw a scooter for sale for about $400 that fit my specifications. I imagined myself on the scooter scooting around Shanghai, zipping through alleys, exploring the markets, scaring the pigeons. Yes, it was like some really cool travel commercial and I was the star.
This scooter, this Fellini movie scooter, I could park by a canal, any canal running through town - this is my Venice, my cha cha cha dance city - and I could have some noodles and then hop back on this Fellini’s majesty and maybe ride the countryside. This was a very exciting prospect. The price seemed right so I thought about calling the seller but then since I am a procrastinator, I thought I should do some research on the scooter that I fell in love with online, really, my first online romance, Geely, my amour.
Well, first I surfed around to see if the price was good on the Geely because for something with an Italian design I thought that seemed a good price. I didn’t find anything just like it but I did find some comparable scooters for like $1,000 so a mere $400 seemed like an okay price. I was starting salivate thinking about it. This was the best box of chocolates ever.
For kicks, I decided to see how reliable they are. I see people – lots of people - tooling around on scooters everyday, most of them seem reliable, the scooters anyway; I don’t know how reliable the people on the scooters are. So I thought I would be a Columbo and do a little dick work.
That is when reality came knocking. I learned very quickly that these Geelys are crap, nothing but crap. They break down pretty much immediately. They are just crap. Oh, the hell on wheels humanity!
I know what all of you are saying: buy a Honda, a Yamaha, a Suzuki. Yeah, that would be the smart thing to do but I really have this vision of riding something that has that Italian pizzazz. That is what I want – pizzazz. And, I just do not feel like Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki have pizzazz. I need pizzazz. I really need pizzazz, that Fellini like pizzazz.
My friend told me about an Indian scooter made by a company Bajaj. They are basically the parts used in Vespa but much cheaper. This is very interesting to me. I may have to explore this option.
At lunch, as I ate the fish that seemed to be either freezer burned or out and out tainted, I thought about my scooter dilemma. All of the sudden I really want a scooter, that same burning desire I had about moving to Mongolia and owning a camel. I am not sure which is more economical. Would the camel eat me out of house and home, yurt and mudhut? This I will have to research more in depth.
Here, I am in the land of scooters. You spit and you hit a scooter. They sell them everywhere. Riders ride them everywhere, even on the sidewalk, actually, especially on the sidewalk. Many a time, I have had to jump out of the way narrowly escaping getting plowed into by fathers with young daughters in tow that seem to think the sidewalk is a scooter interstate. I want to be part of this world, this scooter interstate world that I feel excluded from because I do not have wheels. I need some wheels – in color, and in black and white.
I sent Michael a message telling him I want a scooter. He sent me a message back telling me that he is in a meeting but that the scooter idea is cool. I think that since he has a lot of disposable income, he will get one too. His will be quite a bit nicer than mine because he loves the best. I see him getting a Bentley Scooter if such a thing exists. We will go scooting together. This will be like a movie, the Shanghai Easy Riders.
Last Saturday, Michael took me and one of his college buddies to the Shanghai Grand Prix, a track and field event, at the Shanghai Stadium. As we got out of the taxi to go into the stadium, Michael handed us our tickets. I looked at the ticket price 980 RMB which is well over $100. I asked him if he spent that much. He told me that he got them for 300 RMB each which is over $100 for the three of them. I told him that was so expensive. Here in Shanghai, that is about half the price of a scooter. He told me it was not a problem. He wanted to see the Olympians competing. He loves to spend money.
Once we got inside the stadium, we found our seats which were really good ones. I was one of the only foreigners there. Probably because of this, I was interviewed for the Shanghai Sports Channel. They wanted to know who I was there to see. I had to ask Michael whom I should say I was there to see; I had no clue whom I was there to see. The next evening Michael called me and told me that he saw my interview. Of course, on Monday when I came to school, the other Michael, the teacher, saw me interviewed on the sports channel as well.
On Friday, I had to get my visa renewed. Lisa, from the office and Edgar met me at the government office to have this done. Of course, it took much longer than we had expected. There was a lot of waiting....and more waiting. The visa officials interviewed Edgar about why the visa had lapsed and I think he said something that was probably pretty close to the truth. After we waited and waited, I left to go to school to my class that started at 10:50 that I would have barely made. On my way to the metro, Lisa called. She had forgotten that I needed to take a picture so I had to go back and take a picture which now meant that I would definitely miss my class. I told her to call Sharon and tell her. By this time, I was really hungry because I had not eaten. On the way to school, I thought I might stop by Starbucks and have a snack but instead I had to go back and have my picture taken which I was sure would take another hour.
While I waited to get my picture snapped, I thought of my current situation. At this point, I do really like Sharon but she really does not understand how difficult this job is for me. Once again, I have had to completely come up with a curriculum spur of the moment. She, as do all of the other teachers, have curriculum or books that they have used for years. And, add to this the fact that a few boys in the class have no idea what I am saying, ever. Their English levels are just so low.
While I mulled over my situtation, Lisa called Sharon and everything was okay. After everything was squared away with the Visa, Edgar took me back to school. He wants to start a SAT class at the center. He wants me to teach the class a few nights a week. I told him I would love to, what I did not say is that they will have to rework my schedule, if I am to work some nights then I must have my morning classes rearranged. I can no longer teach these crazy early classes if I am going to be teaching at nights as well.
He then suggested Dolly as the math teacher. Usually, I would never do this but I do not want to have this woman around ever. I told Edgar that I did not think she was doing a very good job. She had just come late to class the day before and Sharon told me that the students cannot understand her thick accent. No, she would not be a good choice. I told him about Markus who is now in grad school. Markus would be a better teacher for this but would he have time I wondered. Fortunately, I only see Ding Dong Dolly twice a week but it is two times more often than I would like to see her. I would be completely happy to never see her, ever.
Couple that with the fact that, at the moment, I spend all day at school. That is another reason that I want this scooter, so that I can take off and go home in the middle of the day and then come back in the afternoon and teach. I think my life would be a lot better with a scooter.
Forever, I thought I would just get a bicycle but then they always get stolen so I might as well just save that money and look at a scooter. I know this is a bad idea because it will probably be breaking down all of the time but I might go ahead and look at that Geely after all because it just looks so cool. And, after all, really, it is still good good good like Bridgette Bardot!