Now that the worst of winter weather is behind us, electric mobility scooters are becoming a common sight on the streets of Shelbyville. Residents are using the small, 4-wheel motorized chairs in increasing numbers as a way to navigate the profusion of construction zones that currently dot our city's landscape.
Until recently, it was rare to see electric scooters anywhere except at the local Wal-Mart where they are used regularly by elderly, disabled and obese shoppers.
That has changed dramatically for a variety of reasons.
"I can get to McDonald's on the east side of town quicker when I'm on my electric scooter than I can when I'm driving my truck," said Be-Bi-Bo-Bailey, a shepherd from Moral Township. "At full throttle, my scooter opens up to almost five miles per hour so I can easily zip in and out of those stalled lines of traffic on East State Road 44," explained Bailey.
However, faster travel is not the only reason for the sudden popularity of the speedy little scooters. "No licencia necesita!" declared Jorge Garcia (a.k.a. Benito Arroyo, a.k.a. Julio Cabarcas, a.k.a. Gomez Chavez). He owned a 1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse until he was nabbed on four separate occasions in a single day by Shelbyville Police officers for operating a vehicle while never having received a license. He subsequently sold his Eclipse to a cousin and used the proceeds to purchase his custom-painted, gold-flecked vermilion electric scooter. "Now no problema!" said Garcia-Arroyo-Cabarcas-Chavez.
Chronic drunks are also turning to electric scooters to meet their local transportation needs. Most electric scooters have big upholstered seats that are much larger than bicycle seats and far more comfortable than seats on a standard two-wheeled motor scooter, like a Vespa. "Besides, on this buggy, I can lean back and drink while I drive!" proclaimed a sloppy inebriate whose name I failed to obtain because his speech was so badly slurred.
But there's a negative aspect to the recent popularity of electric scooters.
Hundreds of retirees have adopted the scooters as their favorite mode of transportation. To make matters worse, senior citizens are forming gangs, and, with the advent of warm weather, they are beginning to "hang out" on the Wal-Mart parking lot.
A number of Wal-Mart shoppers feel threatened by the gangs of old-timers. "They're giving all of us normal electric scooter operators a bad name!" said Claudia Marcella. "They are nothin' but a bunch of toothless terrorists!" she added as she beeped her electric scooter backwards down the ice cream and frozen food aisle.
Store managers are concerned about the situation but think their hands are tied. "We desperately want the senior citizen gang members to spend their Social Security checks with us, but we don't want to tick them off. It's a terrible dilemma! I feel just like Meryl Streep when she had to make a choice in that Sophie movie," said a manager of six canned fruit shelves who wished to remain anonymous. "By the way, you can pick up a DVD of that movie in the electronics department for only five bucks!" she said.
City officials have also expressed concerns.
Members of the Shelbyville Board of Public Works and Safety wrestled with the issue at this week's meeting. "There isn't much the city can do...we don't have much control about what senior citizens are doing" suggested the mayor. "Besides, it's a touchy situation because senior citizens are the only citizens who vote in this city!" the mayor added.
One board member wasn't so sure. After ten minutes of blustering, pounding the table with a shoe and threatening to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, the official lapsed into a prolonged state of unconsciousness for the remainder of the meeting.
Another board member suggested trying to lure the gangs off of the Wal-Mart parking lot by giving senior citizens coupons for free slot play at the new Racino. The mayor rejected the proposal by stating his fear that hordes of senior citizens might use their scooters to travel to and from the gambling mecca.
"If they do THAT," said the mayor, "it could seriously jeopardize my plan to build a $200 million dollar monorail from City Hall to the Racino!"
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009
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Very funny and cute! I'm just afraid that's going to be me in a few more years. lol Take care and keep up the good work.