Browsing for a Vespa

Up and down the main drag to work, day in and day out for the last 2 months, watching the scads of motor scooters knifing through traffic has triggered the call of the open road in me. Okay, open road is an exaggeration, but still something beckons.

I’ve been scoping out scooters new and used, and I’ve found they’re really cheap. Including Vespas, which I’ve dreamed of owning for years. Here they’re two-thirds the price of those back home.

I found myself at the mall where they had a Vespa display, I guess tying-in with an Italian trade association meeting, or whatever. The mall was chock full of italian goods and merchandise.  Gucci, Lamborghini, Fiat, Alfa Romeo.  

While looking at a subdued, grey model, I noticed there was no place for a passenger to put their feet.  Just then an attendant approached me.

“May you help me?”, he asked.

I wrinkled my face. “Um, what?”  He recoiled in fear, but then persevered.  

“Do you have any questions about the bike?”

“Yes. There are two seats, but where does a passenger put their feet?”

He looked perplexed and then reached for a panel under the handlebars.  He opened it and there was clearly room for some flip flops or light running shoes.  

I smiled. “No, no.”  I broke into a 60/40 mix of english/indonesian.  It sounded like this. I pointed to the seats “I sit here.  My wife sits here.  Where does she put her feet?”  

I’m sure it sounded to him like some new-math story problem.  He thought for moment.  Maybe he thought my wife had large feet or big shoes, for he reached for the seat and popped open a rather capacious compartment that could hold a flashy pair of boots, I’m sure. But, it did not answer my questions and he knew it.  

“Are you interested in this bike?”
“Yes.” His eyes grew wide. “But, not today. Maybe soon.”

“Okay, mister.  Terima Kasih.”

I can only imagine how a negotiation is going to go.

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