Walmart Scooter Racing

As I sat down in the scooter cart at Walmart today the greeter said, “You got lucky. You got the fast one.” Let’s just say I was hopeful, but his definition of fast and mine are two completely different things. In my world “fast” is more than .25 miles an hour. I could walk faster on my crutches than this thing drove, but walking the whole store on the concrete floors would blow my knee up like a balloon. Never mind, I walked cobblestones and sand just a few days ago…that was vacation walking…a totally different animal. If you know me at all, you know that I am not exactly a slow moving person. Moving in a million directions at once comes with having four children. It took many years to hone that skill. In fact, this whole knee thing has probably been allowed in my life to slow me down, but today was not the day.
Have you ever been frustrated by the old people in those carts? I have…but today I have come to understand it isn’t their fault. Really. I was driving like Mario Andretti trying to get my cart to move along. I guess the problem was that because I got the “fast” cart, when you hit the lever to go forward it lurches forward unexpectedly. Too much horsepower I guess. I determined, after running into a pile of produce, the best approach would be to not stop at all. Just go, and weave around anything in the way. Great in theory. Did you know that Walmart is very crowded on Sunday afternoons, and there are no mirrors to see what is around blind corners? Blasting through…okay blasting might be a stretch… maybe racing would be a better word, like the tortoise from the Tortoise and the Hare. Anyway, I was moving along when I turned a corner into a shopper who was not happy at my wild driving. Committed to my no-stop strategy, I kept moving as if I was out of control of a demon possessed cart saying sorry when I flew past.
Next, I came upon a woman in one of the “slow” carts. You know there are no passing lanes in the Walmart isles; they are too full of stuff. So after blowing my little beeping horn to warn her I was coming, she moved to the side at the first intersection. She was just in time too, narrowly avoiding becoming the first ever bumper car in Walmart. In the office supply section, I found out that reverse lurches just as abruptly as going forward, and that going in reverse in a scooter isn’t nearly as easy as doing the same in a 1 ton automobile. Picking up a pile of pens and pencils from a sitting position isn’t easy either, by the way…just in case you were wondering. And the turn radius on this scooter was amazing. Trying to avoid going in reverse and inadvertently knocking over more merchandise, I swung out into the isle to make a U-turn only to find that turning that tightly is tricky when staying committed to the no-stop policy. I also found that the end caps are closer together than you would think and not nearly as sturdy.
In the end, I am thankful that scooter racing is a temporary sport for me. If anything, today’s experience has made me more committed to work hard when I start my physical therapy. It has also made me grateful that my knee will recover and that this is not a permanent condition. I have a new appreciation for those who drive these little carts every time they go to the store. In the future, I will not be so quick to get exasperated with them. I might even slow down a bit…which I think is the whole point.

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