Electric scooters

I scream down Rue Henry Monnier, (Paris, France) on a Lime electric scooter. My knuckles cold, a smile on my face.

“This is fucking sick!”

“Sick?! Who says sick?”

“I do. I’ve always said it.”

“You haven’t.”

“I have. Skateboarders say it. I used to skate.”

“You didn’t.”

And it hits me. This is the future.

“This is the future!”

“It’s for hipsters.”

“No. No.”

That’s easy to say. That it’s for hipsters. I let go of the trigger powering the back wheel. Then pump it again and feel the surge. No, this is the future of inner city transportation.

This is the most economical way to move a human, period.

“Cycling.”

“Nah.” Bikes are big. You have to get on them. High centre of gravity. Centre of gravity on a scooter is 2 inches off the floor.

Fuck buses. Fuck the Tube. This is it. This is fun.

Boring. I think of the reviews I read of Elon Musk digging a hole and getting journalists to drive on a pallette crate on wheels at 40 mph down a bumpy 1 metre wide cement tunnel. Terrifying. Like a casket trundling into the crematorium.

“It’s just the beginning. Don’t criticise Elon’s plans what have you ever done?”

It was shit. And I write a hit blog.

“How is the blog? Still going viral?”

“Not really. Twitter and reddit shadow-banned me.”

This isn’t shit. This is fucking great. I swerve some dog shit. There’s a lot of dog shit in Paris.

Elon Musk is terrified of these tiny cheap things. These tiny cheap things could cannibalise Tesla. Put Boring out of business.

“Well, I’m sure Tesla could make scooters if they wanted. Elon Musk said electric scooters ‘lack dignity’”

At this I throw my head back and laugh. I look down at the digital display, a blistering 18 kph as I swing round Rue Laferriére. This is living. Shit is this a one way? Can never fucking tell in this country.

I stop at a red, propping myself with one foot on the curb.

A native stops beside me, an older man, also on a Lime scooter. He’s not a hipster. He’s a man. I nod at him and he says something in French.

“Ouais.” I reply.

Ouais is French for ‘yeah’. Pronounced ‘way’. It’s more French than saying ‘oui’.

Electric scooters. It’s like when the iPhone came out and it was like “oh shit this can actually be fun!

The light turns green and I hit the trigger and cross a junction.

I hear the french man shout something in French.

“OUAIS!” I shout back.

Oh fuck this street is definitely one way. A guy on a scooter, a real scooter I mean, a moped, is driving at me and waving one arm screaming. The street is narrow. I pull the brake hard. The electric scooter begins a steady and smooth deceleration. But the stopping distance is too long.

“PUTAIN!” The man yells. I’ll let you google translate that.

The moped twists to avoid me and skids, falling sideways, the man rolls.

I think quickly and pull out my iPhone and hit the Lime app icon and end the ride. Lime scooters require you to photo the scooter parked safely to end your journey. It really is so convenient to be able to leave the scooter anywhere.

“Merdé merdé merdé” the French man says getting up off the floor.

I make off on foot as the French man gives chase.