Vespa: Italian for wasp. My SO says the best way to pick up girls in Manhattan is to walk the dog. “They can’t help themselves,” he says. “They have to stop and cuddle.” Out here in PA the best way to meet people is to park the Vespa. It’s so exotic. What is it? A minibike? A moped? A motor scooter? No, it’s a Vespa.
The best part of riding a Vespa is that you get to participate vicariously in the Hawg culture. The real ones nod and wave when you pass on the road as if you really were one of them. I don’t know if they extend that courtesy to the rice burners. I think they like us because we don’t pose a threat. We’re so cute. Or maybe it’s just that regardless of what you own, out here when you ride a bike, you’re on a Harley. Nothing else is worthy of notice.
Park a Vespa, though, and you get more than just a passing nod. Folks stop and talk. I mean the nice ones, the ones that find tattoos too daunting. Vespas are sweet, non-confrontational, conversation starters. Everyone wants to know all about them.
Today we got into it with a couple of Brits. They had fond memories of when they owned one of their own way back when. Apparently it had a two-cylinder engine. “Illegal now, you know,” the man said.
They waxed nostalgically for a bit and then before you know it we were onto bigger things like the confidence game known as the American automobile industry. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “All these big vehicles.” “It’s just about money,” she said.
Normally I take offence when out of towners trash the home team, but I happen to agree on this point. If Americans demanded little trucks, little cars, and little motor scooters, maybe the home team would be more inclined to give them to us. Maybe we’d get out of this energy/global warming crisis. Maybe we wouldn’t have the rest of the world mad at us. Now that would be weird and wonderful.