In the legend of Achilles, the great warrior gets dipped into the river Styx as an infant so he will grow up to be an invincible fighter. The only thing that misses getting dipped is the heel by which he was held. Eventually, that heel becomes his downfall, finishing his dominance on the battlefield. Not many of us can relate to being shot in the heel while serving in the Trojan War. However, getting hit in the ankle with a Razor scooter comes pretty damn close. You don’t know pain, you don’t know hubris, until you’re cruising down the sidewalk on top of the world, only to attempt a sick wheelie and end up knocking the side of your scooter directly on cold, hard bone.
Many childhood life lessons were learned on the Razor scooter. Before you even learned how to ride a bike—or, if you were cool, a Ripstick—your scooter became your first foray into suburban independence. You felt the wind in your hair, and even more acutely you felt every single bump in the sidewalk. Sometimes you may have gotten reckless, going down a particularly steep hill and ending up with a skinned knee you wore like a badge at school the next day. If you have siblings, you undoubtedly fought over which color scooter you would get to ride that day. If you were the older sibling, you probably won every time. (You probably rode the red one, you lucky bastard.)
Childhood nostalgia has never been so on-trend than as in the past five or so years. Millennials proudly referred to themselves as “90s kids,” and Buzzfeed racked up clicks with articles about Rugrats, purple ketchup, and Bratz dolls. “Stranger Things” gained Netflix popularity by amalgamating every 80’s sci-fi movie in existence. The college lifestyle particularly breeds a childlike adulthood, and I’ve never eaten more Kraft Mac & Cheese than I did when I was nine and 19. College is a lot like a Razor scooter; you may think you’re finally going places on your own, but you’re still dependent on your parents for the long haul. Sometimes, you get hit in the ankle.
It makes sense than scooters have found a niche at Wesleyan this year. I even witnessed my philosophy professor making the trek to Russell House on a hot red Razor. I don’t want to use the word quirky, but scooters are a little bit…quirky. They hit the nostalgia button, the manic pixie dream girl button, the “I wear $120 overalls” button. Zooey Deschanel’s next rom-com character will probably ride a scooter to her job at the bakery and/or flower shop. It doesn’t surprise me that everyone I’ve seen riding scooters this year (save my professor…maybe) has looked aggressively cute doing so. That’s company I want to be in, quirkiness be damned.
At 20 years old, I had not been on a scooter in roughly ten years. My ankles had grown soft and complacent, thinking their days of abuse were long behind them. Then, I moved to Washington St. There’s nothing wrong with Washington, but I have to admit: it’s a little far. I love my house. I love being five minutes away from R.J. Julia. I don’t love the twenty-minute walk to Freeman or the ten-minute walk to…almost everywhere else. I appreciate the work it’s done on my calves, but it’s only a matter of time before I get on a first name basis with the WesRide drivers. Bikes were too expensive and bulky. I don’t own any Thrasher shirts so I couldn’t ride a skateboard. At just above five feet tall, I already get mistaken for a large child on a fairly regular basis. The Razor scooter not only seemed like the practical choice but more importantly, it was on-brand. I impulse ordered one on Amazon, fantasizing about the day I’ll finally be on time to my class in Exley.
It arrived with free two-day shipping thanks to the Amazonians, and I had never so enthusiastically waited in line at the package station. I had to carry the box all the way back to Washington, but with a smile on my face knowing it would be the last time I make that walk. I can safely say that at the expense of my ankles, I hope the scooter trend sticks around. I don’t want to grow up just yet.
Brooke Kushwaha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.