Milennial Life: Letting Go of the Past but Taking Its Lessons With Us
When I attempted to take the license plate off, I realized the scooter was last registered in 2014. I took out a decaying bungee cord, a tire pressure gauge and a reflective vest from the front storage space and then ran my hand over the bolstered seat that my mom had struggled to help me put on with an eBay-bought replacement. I realized, too, that I hadn't used eBay since about the same time as the scooter had started sitting.
My mom likes to talk about how she tried to bribe me with cold hard cash to not buy a scooter. We both can't remember the amount, but it wasn't nearly enough. I had bought a cheap red scooter first, which I only had for a few weeks before selling it and getting a wad of cash from a female rugby player who drove off into the night. That scooter only went 25-30 miles per hour, and even for my stubborn nature, I knew it was an unsafe vehicle, even in calm traffic.
After answering another ad a few weeks later, I stood at the edge of a kitchen hammering out the installments of payments that I'd make to a young man for my next scooter. There was a strong vibe of antipathy in the room, not directed at me, but between the man and woman who sat across from each other and diagonal to me.
"I bought the scooter for her so she could ride with me," he said. "Now that we're not together, we don't need it anymore." She looked away. Yikes. However, their relationship loss was my bargain deal.
The Honda Elite was about a year old, with barely 300 miles on it. The average speed was about 45 mph and a blazing 50 mph with a back wind. The average gas consumption was a confirmed 90 miles per gallon. But getting the biker wave? Priceless.
Granted, my waves pawed back at the wind shear with nerdlike glee, not at all like the cool, one-finger-off-the-handlebar salutation from the more grizzled bikers. But that was the reason I was on a scooter. I knew my place: I was too uncool for a rumbling motorcycle but entirely weird enough for an 80cc engine.
I had heavily calculated, and curated, my personality back then. Before kids, before my husband, before the myriad roles I inhabit now started to define me, for better and for worse. But looking at the decaying scooter still made my heart hurt, thinking about who I used to be -- the girl who could ride off and not look back. This gal I see in the mirror now has to keep putting one foot in slow motion in front of the other. And as that transition happened, the scooter sat in an unused part of our backyard, with weeds coiling themselves through the flattened tires.
There's a desire to keep things that don't serve us, compounded by a desire to stay with the past because the unknown future is disturbing. Our nation refuses to shake off things that don't serve us as well. Some are hard to tackle, like entrenched racism, but some are so simple that other countries (supposedly less great than us) have achieved them, like paid maternity leave.
We let the weeds grow through our past. Our leaders fail us and refuse to take a firm stance to acknowledge our society is now in a different place, in a different time and has different needs. As much as I'd have liked to keep the freedom of the road, the methods I used in my past, like the scooter, do not serve me now and do not allow me the same freedoms. Perhaps we can push America, and its leaders, to start to let go of the past while learning from its lessons, so we can all move forward.
Cassie McClure is a writer, wife/mama/daughter, fan of the Oxford comma, and drinker of tequila. Some of those things relate. She is also the Executive Director of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and can be contacted at email@example.com. To find out more about Cassie McClure and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.