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November 21st, 2013: A Segway Into Nothingness by Neil Peart, courtesy of neilpeart.net. Not made up in any way. http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums/b629/Knightsaber1/neilonsegway_zps4fe0d1d8.jpg Please stop laughing. I'm trying to tell a story here. I usually don’t choose big cities for my riding adventures, but some new friends of mine insisted that I try something novel. Not “novel” as in “writing a book” mind you, as these same friends tend to be quite indirect when I ask them for an honest opinion of my prose. There’s something about California that makes it harder for the residents to be as blatantly honest as those in the rest of the United States. I once made the mistake of asking a heavily tattooed bookstore clerk in Brooklyn what he thought of my travel memoir about riding my motorcycle through the Nepalese valleys near Mount Everest, and his answer was a mumbled rant about the publishing industry, celebrity worship, and his urge to kill the next Rush fan who walks in asking for a copy of my latest work. Maybe a bit too honest, but I wasn’t exactly going to confront him about it. Anyway, back to San Francisco. Or Frisco. Or whatever they call it over there, bless their little stoner hearts. It’s a city of people who try way too hard to remind you of how enlightened and intelligent they are, which is an impulse that I certainly can’t comprehend. I will say that their bookstores are nice, though the sections in the back tend to be the most popular for some reason. There was one bar where I saw a promising number of motorcycles parked outside, but when I walked in I found the other men in leather to be a bit too welcoming for my taste. Had Brutus not been there with me to say, “Back off, he’s mine!” in a fake lisp, I probably would not be writing about this adventure for everyone here on the Internet to read. http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums/b629/Knightsaber1/IMG_3258_zps3eae3714.jpg Thanks but no thanks, guys. Really. My tour of Golden State Park was a kinder, gentler experience. And that’s putting it very mildly. Between the Conservatory of Flowers, the Chain of Lakes, the Arch of Colonial Trees and an Academy of Sciences that seems to specialize in such wonders, I figured that maybe riding my motorcycle through the pathways of this vast tribute to nature itself would be rather inappropriate. Unfortunately, the park had its own choice of vehicle for those wishing to ride through their lands: The Segway. Yes, the Mighty Segway; the vehicle known for both its eco-friendliness and its use by mall cops who try desperately to ignore the stares and uproarious laughter from those who haven’t seen one before. Of course, in a city this enlightened, looking silly is just a minor detail when compared to showing off one’s social consciousness. Again, something I would know nothing about. But, since this reporter likes to be a good sport, I decided to swallow my pride (a painful task that risks fatal choking) and slump over to the Segway rental station for a chance to participate this unforgettably action-packed thrill ride. http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums/b629/Knightsaber1/segway-tour-golden-gate_zps63837166.jpg See how thrilled that guy is? Pretty much. After being warned that my Segway might not perform properly due to my exceeding the recommended 250-pound limit, I decided to rent one anyway. I once mentioned that I had a firm belief in karma at one point in my life. Had I still believed in the phenomenon then perhaps I would have attributed this tedious tour with every reporter who had to listen to my stories of how hard it was growing up in conformist suburbia and how I turned to books for comfort and because of that I was never any good at sports and sometimes the jocks would run my underwear up the flagpole with me still in it. I never gave much thought to how bored the reporters were at listening to me speak in these run-on sentences. But now that I think about how I felt rolling on a tiny scooter in a single-file line while a tour guide rattled on about how the Japanese Tea Garden was the oldest in the United States, perhaps I should have answered with a simple “yes” or “no” during those interviews. When the Segway tour was finally over, I decided to visit the new CommUNITY Garden to see what they were up to regarding sustainable food production in urban areas. I was impressed at how diligently the people there were tending the plots, perhaps taking heed of Voltaire’s wise words regarding cultivating your own garden. A garden to nurture and protect, in the measure of a life. A life that, thankfully, was not cut short despite the garden’s lack of pesticide use allowing for a poisonous insect to bite me on the nose and turn it an even darker shade than it was at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony. Maybe I should have just stayed at that bar. http://i1295.photobucket.com/albums/b629/Knightsaber1/1139277663_zpsbfa6e399.jpg