My husband Mike and I were visiting our friends Kevin and Katie down in Florida in 2009. Mike was fascinated by Kevin’s Vespa-like scooter, but, being on vacation and therefore perpetually in some phase of intoxication, he was forbidden to take it out for a spin by himself. He also refused to let Kevin take him out, because sitting behind Kevin with his arms wrapped around his friend’s waist was just too gay. Not homophobe gay, just “I feel uncomfortably like your bitch” gay.
At some point during the early evening of this fateful day, Mike, in a rather advanced stage of intoxication, decided to focus his few remaining faculties on remembering the elaborate list of things you had to do to successfully start the scooter. Kevin and I made Mike a deal. If he could figure out how to start the scooter, he could take it out. We never dreamed in a million years, considering his present state of retardation that he could work it out. We weren’t exactly sober ourselves, so, in retrospect, our decision making skills were in question.
Kevin and I went back inside and Mike stayed in the garage with the bike, trying to crack the code like we’d just handed him a golden Rubik’s cube.
About 15 minutes later there came a disturbing sound from the garage. Kevin and I looked at each other.
The scooter engine.
Somehow, Mike had figured out how to start it.
We went running out to the garage, but too late – Mike and the scooter were gone.
We waited. He didn’t come back. We waited some more. Kevin made some veiled threats on Mike’s life. We waited some more.
Finally, starting to really worry, I went outside and stood in the front yard of Kevin’s house, looking up and down the street, hoping to see my husband appear at some point. He’s exceedingly goofy, but I do love him.
It is important at this juncture to point out that the little town that Kevn lived in at the time was about thirty blocks long and three blocks wide. You couldn’t get lost if someone paid you to disappear. You could show a five year-old a house there, blindfold her, take a few blocks away, turn her around a few times, and then tell her to go find home and she’d be there in ten minutes, no questions asked.
As I stood there in the front yard, concerned over my husband’s safety, suddenly there he was — speeding PAST me.
He appeared to be in a blind panic. I expected to see a pack of wolves racing behind the scooter, so nervous Mike seemed as he passed, looking wildly from side to side as he went. He was lost. He’d been driving around this tiny neighborhood for a half an hour, trying to find Kevin’s house – a house he’d never really taken a good look at before. Even with me standing it front of it, hands on hips, he didn’t recognize it – such was the drunken panic he’d worked himself into.
I screamed his name and after a moment he slowed to a stop, looked up at the sky to see if God was calling him or it was just the voices in his head again. Finally, he turned to look at me, and then wheeled the scooter around. He came back to the house.
That’s when I saw the blood dripping down his leg.
It seems at some point he had zigged when he should have zagged and.. well… took out a mailbox. He’d picked himself up, sat the mailbox back where it HAD been secured, gave himself a quick pat down to be sure there were no bones sticking out at odd angles, got back on the scooter, and shamefully sped off in search of home.
“So you aren’t being chased by Floridian wolves?” I asked. I had to be sure.
“No,” he said, offended. “I was just lost.”
“Florida panther?” I tried again. “Angry octogenarians?”
Kevin came out and inspected the now scratched scooter while Mike caught his breath following his ordeal.
“Dude,” said Kevin, post inspection. “Where is my floor mat?”
Apparently, the scooter had a floor mat that was now MIA. Mike admitted he didn’t know.
So Kevin got on the scooter with Mike (who was less worried about looking like Kevin’s bitch at this point) to return to the scene of the crime in search of the missing mat. They drove around for some time, with Mike insisting that nowhere did he see the spot he crashed. Finally, Kevin, realizing that Mike was the both the only witness to the crime and also the least reliable witness to the crime, noticed some obvious signs of a disturbance.
“Are you sure it isn’t here?” he asked.
“Nope,” said Mike.
Ignoring Mike, Kevin got off the scooter and looked around the area. Sure enough, in a nearby hedge, he found his floor mat. He tapped the mailbox there, and it fell to the ground. He steadied it back on its perch. I can only imagine the surprise of the mail person the next day when he or she went to open that same box and the whole thing came off the post in his hand.
Kevin brought Mike back to the house and we Band-Aided him up.
I don’t know who Mike’s guardian angel is, but she is exhausted.