Maybe I'm just cranky.
If you didn't like this post, then bad news for you, you're not going to like this one as it's a continuation of the same rant. I think I've discovered something more annoying and disruptive than bounce houses. There is a scooter epidemic in Geneva. These two wheeled contraptions are choking the streets, sidewalks and parks and let's just say I'm not a fan.
In Joburg everyone likes to complain endlessly about the mini bus taxis. Taxi drivers wreak havoc on the streets breaking every traffic law within a five minute time period. If you are driving and you see a taxi you must assume the driver is going to cut across three lanes of traffic and then stop without warning. The difference between the taxis and these scooters is that at least taxis serve an important purpose. Without the taxis, millions of people would have no transportation and the South African economy would collapse. Scooters however serve absolutely no purpose, they are simply a toy and a most annoying one at that.
Since I'm not sure if the scooter scourge is a worldwide issue or not, let me show you a photo of the type of scooter I'm referring to.
I haven't taken a formal survey, but my informal research tells me that every child in Geneva owns one of these.
When faced with a puzzling mystery, one first must ask why. So I have asked myself why do kids (I won't even get started on adults) need scooters? Some quick research on Google indicates that humans have been walking upright for 1.9 million years. Why the sudden need to scoot? Is it that parents think their kids don't walk fast enough? Is it just a phase or a craze? I can't come up with an answer that satisfies.
Don't think that these scooters are just for older kids either. Yesterday in the park I saw a kid with a pacifier in his mouth riding a scooter. Surely if you are still using a pacifier you don't need your own set of wheels. Your first order of business should be weaning yourself off sucking a plastic nipple when you go out in public. I also saw a parent pushing an empty stroller while the kid scooted up ahead. This situation says just one thing, this parent doesn't want his kid to have to walk, he can either be pushed or he can scoot but walking is frowned upon.
There is a reason that kids don't drive cars and can't get licenses until they are older. It's because they can't steer. I can't tell you how many times I've been running in the park only to have a near miss collision with a four year old scooting uncontrollably. The parents don't even seem to notice that I've had to jump off the path and into a shrub to save myself from being taken out by their kid. The parents are too busy smoking and chatting away on their cell phones to concern themselves with my safety.
I sometimes like to play a little game of chicken with these scooting kids as I run. I will run toward them and not get out of the way until the last possible minute. While it may seem mean I am trying to teach them an important life lesson which is sometimes you need to %$&!%^ing move.
But I know the real reason these scooters bother me so much and it's not because I am almost maimed daily or am simply mean. It's because I'm still dealing with culture shock having moved to fancy pants Geneva from South Africa. While there are plenty of wealthy kids living a plush (and bouncing castle filled) life in South Africa there were also a lot of kids who didn't own any toys. Anyone who has visited a township like Diepsloot or Soweto has seen kids playing outside using rocks, string and trash as makeshift toys. Once you've seen that, you don't forget that image easily.
One day Mr. Deep and I witnessed a temper tantrum which took place outside our apartment. A child and his mother were standing on the street corner and clearly the kid was having a meltdown. He threw his scooter into the street while screaming. The mother, calmly bent down and retrieved it.
Had I been that parent, that moment would have been the last time that child ever touched that scooter. That scooter would have been boxed up and on it's way to Africa before that kid could ask "has anyone seen my scooter?" It would have been on its way to a needy and appreciative child who could ride it the 5km each way that he has to walk to and from school each day.
Maybe I'm just cranky.
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- American Expat
- Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.