Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nice segway

A couple of Sundays ago we took Maggie out on the municipal pier, which is a long curved concrete pier that forms the outer edges of Aquatic Park near Fisherman’s wharf. It is a touristy area, for sure; but the touristy areas are generally the prettiest. San Francisco, like other areas (and like humans), wants to show its best version of itself to visitors.

A stroll out on the municipal pier make Alcatraz feel so close you can touch it. You can see it in both pictures, it looks like it's just off the edge of the pier. (It's not) The pier itself is teeming with life. There are seagulls standing guard over anglers, bike riders and tourist groups. We stopped and chatted with some tourists indulging in a Segway tour of the San Francisco waterfront. I have no idea how much they pay for this, and they look silly in a group like that, but I have to admit it seems to be very entertaining. How can you not laugh when you are riding on a Segway?

It was an incredibly windy day and we were fighting the breeze every step of the way. The Segway riders were not doing much better. One of them challenged Maggie to a race wondering if her chair had more power than their “vehicles” I quickly pointed out that Maggie’s chair was manual and the only “power” was my two legs and arms. I did not want to get in a smackdown race with someone riding a linoleum roller, though I would have had a decent chance if we ran into the wind.

The tour guide, a cool looking guy in his 20s, noticed the sticker on Maggie’s tray. (see pic) It is a napster sticker that someone gave her many years ago. The guy looked at Maggie and said, “Napster!?! – girl you are old school!” Maggie beamed with pride, even though she had no idea what he was talking about. It is unusual for someone to address Maggie directly (instead of through Steve or me) and she absolutely loves it when it happens. He asked her what the buttons were for and she started hitting them immediately. I said quickly, "that’s how she talks." Maggie manipulated the buttons until it said, “Hello, My name is Maggie. I live in San Francisco.”

He didn't flinch at the technology or the synthesized voice but simply said, “ahh, a local, eh? I thought you looked pretty cool.” She was beside herself. Then, taking her into his confidence he said, “Watch this, city girl.” He instructed his tourists to race to the other end of the pier giving them directions and warning them to be careful and not run up the back of each other. They took off each jockeying for position. The tourguide turned to Maggie and said. “I do this to groups all the time. It’s pretty pointless to race, all Segways  go 9 mph at top speed, but it gives them something to do.” He took off after his charges with a wave.

Maggie was delighted and Steve and I just looked at each other and grinned. Occasionally people really surprise you. I think tourists really are seeing the best version of San Francisco with this guy showing them the way.

1 comment:

  1. In my weakened state, I actually cried when I read this. I probably would have cried anyway though.


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