“I wish you a good vacation. Take advantage of it, and take good care of yourselves. Most of all be wise about not taking on too many challenges.” Such was the advice from our host Sandrine Gailliot-Sopena in an email sent following our tour of Paris aboard her tiny electric scooters.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It all began in early April, on our wedding anniversary. I greeted my bride with a card, flowers, and a snugly woolen Pendleton shawl. She was properly appreciative of the gifts, but hardly reciprocal. In spite of my loving generosity, in spite of my unselfish gallantry, in spite of being in all ways the perfect husband … she got me nothing. No present. No card. Nada.
“I’ll get you something when we’re in Paris,” she promised.
Oh, great. Gifts purchased overseas have to be transported home in bags that are packed and weighed to the microgram. What’s it gonna be, a wish for world peace?
And so it was, just the other day, that she announced a gift with wheels and wires—I’m a sucker for things with wheels and wires—that I was to collect the next day: a four-hour private tour of the neighborhoods of Paris aboard … electric scooters! Just the two of us (and Sandrine). Won’t that be wonderful!
It was sorta fun. You can cover an impressive amount of territory aboard a device that traverses sidewalks, lawns, bike lanes, and congested streets with equal agility. You can also pose a fearsome threat to pedestrians who see you coming, and retard the progress of entire blocks of Parisian traffic. We further discovered that standing on a wobbly scooter for four hours can be exhausting and—in my case—a threat to your life expectancy.
Yes: I crashed. With six-inch wheels, a scooter encountering a stone in the road quickly dislodges its operator, creating a pulpy mass of humanity writhing in pain while scores of Parisians look on, tisk-tisking the clumsy American, clearly too old to be given license to pilot such a hazardous vehicle on the streets of their city.
(Click here for an eleven-second video of Louise and Tom scooting the shores of the Seine. The crash came later. There is no bloodshed in this scene.)
Which takes us back to the beginning of this missive. Once the event was over, and from the safety of her home office, our tour guide Sandrine felt it appropriate to suggest we act our age and next time, perhaps, hail a taxi (or an ambulance) for any activity that takes place outside the sanctuary of a Bingo parlor.
Next year for our anniversary I’m gonna give Louise a bungee jump from the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado.