We had a six oâ€™clock appointment with danger.Â Adventure.Â Reckless driving.Â Unfortunately, we were late.Â My husband, with the assured confidence of a young Marco Polo, said he knew exactly where we were to go. A smidge of road construction and a dash of detours later and we were looking at a corn field.
With the delicate tact of a veteran wife, I said, â€œLost?â€Â I find it is helpful not to make eye contact during these moments.Â The corn stalks waved a cheery hello while my husband looked at his watch.
With equally delicate diplomacy he replied, â€œYep.â€ For a dentist youâ€™d think he would know itâ€™s not good to grind his teeth.
For some reason my husband hates our GPS device.Â Part of me thinks it is because a woman (the designated voice on our GPS) is telling him where to go. As a man, he knows how to read a map if he absolutely must get directions. A map doesnâ€™t speak. A map has squiggly lines and manly folds. A map doesnâ€™t send him down the wrong streets–on purpose–as he claims the GPS voice does.Â Nonsense. (I might send him astray, but not the nice GPS lady.)
I plugged in the GPS and punched in the address.Â The lovely feminine voice told us we needed to turn around.Â After the third warning that he needed to make a right at the next intersection he snapped, â€œYeah! I heard you the first time.â€ With the voiceâ€™s help we were at our destination in about ten minutes.Â Late, but there. Â Not a corn stalk Â was in sight.Â In fact, there was not a person in sight either.
As a thoughtful Christmas present we had been given a gift certificate to go on a Segway tour.Â Neither of us have ever tried one of those two-wheeled wonders before, but how hard could it be? Â It was time to find out. Â After a couple of tugs on the Segway tour office door, a large man appeared.
â€œYou here for the tour?â€ he said, apparently as an introduction. Â We nodded.Â He looked around the parking lot.Â â€œYou didnâ€™t see a UPS truck did you?â€
Bewildered, I said I had seen one near a corn field, but that was about six miles back. The man seemed vexed, but pulled himself together enough to Â have us sign a release form saying we would not sue them for any missing body parts, lives, or Adobe updates upon our likely return from the tour.Â Before the ink dried, he took us to a back door and indicated we were to join the rest of the group standing in front of a row of Segways.
As it turned out, the reason the man wanted to know about the UPS truck was because he needed keys to activate additional Segways. The keys were on the truck. The truck was probably being driven by a man.Â A man who probably hated GPS devices.Â The UPS man was probably driving around a corn field with a map on his lap.
I turned my attention to the group.Â Two guides were explaining how to use Segways to ten people ranging in age from sixteen to somewhere in their seventies.Â One middle-aged woman kept driving her Segway into a curb.Â The guide working with her was pleading for her to stay on the machine and to use her weight to guide the Segway. â€œLean forward to go forward, lean back to stop.â€Â She would nod, ram into the curb, and jump off. Repeat.
Meanwhile, a silver haired lady received instructions from the other guide.Â â€œOkay,â€ he said, â€œAlways grab the handles first, then step on.Â Once you put weight on the platform it is going to take off.â€Â She stepped on and tore off like a bat out of hell.Â Although she claimed sheâ€™d never used a Segway before she was doing figure-eights, stopping, turning on a dime, and terrorizing any pedestrians in the parking lot. Impressive.
My husband was looking more and more nervous.Â The owner, complete with a facial twitch and perspiration on his lip, said the UPS man still hadnâ€™t arrived.Â That meant the two of us would have to use the souped-up Segways the guides usually rode. I gulped, grabbed the handle bars, and stepped on.Â The Segway rumbled quietly like a fidgety stallion anxious to move.Â I leaned forward on the balls of my feet and the Segway zipped ahead.Â I leaned back and the Segway slowed, and then stopped.Â I leaned to the right and thatâ€™s the way it went.Â â€œHey honey!â€ I said.Â â€œItâ€™s pretty intuitive.â€ The silver haired lady rocketed by me with an audible â€œwheeeeeee…â€Â I laughed and followed.
My honey was looking like he was going to the gas chamber. He didnâ€™t want fast. Fast was bad. Fast made people do things like fall, or crash, or earn nicknames like â€œDeceased.â€
It was decided, by the big guy in a moment of mercy, that my husband would switch the Porsche-like Segway for a slow beginners model.Â Another guest was happy about the trade. He yearned for something zippy and edgy while his wife continued to ram into the curb.Â The guide, exasperated, said, â€œPLEASE stay on the Segway.â€Â She got off again.
With just a few minutes of practice our group headed off on a six mile tour.Â One guide rode a ratty Segway held together by duct tape and good will, and the other rode a bike. Â He kept an eagle eye on Miss curb-my-enthusiasm.
I stayed behind my husband â€œjust in case.â€Â He was standing ramrod straight and had a frozen, â€œkill me now,â€Â look on his face. We navigated sidewalks, bike trails, and a round-about or two.Â We went up and down and around.Â No squirrels were harmed in the making of our tour. Towards the end I think I almost saw my husband smile.
As we pulled into the parking lot I asked if he had had any fun at all.Â He looked at me with an earnestness that canâ€™t be faked.Â â€œAlcohol. I need alcohol.â€
We tipped the guides, said our thanks, and got in the car.Â A tall bourbon and water was waiting for him at a restaurant down the road.Â He said he knew exactly where it was located.Â I nodded.Â Hey, the corn fields are looking good this time of year.