Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam Vespa’

The Day The Scooter Died

May 16, 2015

The day the music stopped.

The day I said goodbye.

The day I handed over the keys to a good friend who gave me a really big engulfing hug and said, “I’m so, so, so very sorry, I wish you hadn’t had this happened to you, and when you are ready, for a real Vespa, I will help you find the perfect one for you.”

I hugged him back and we signed over the papers.


Not to do what you think.

Because, well, because further developments they developed.

I was going to give the scooter to my friend and let him and a mutual friend tinker with it, play with it, do what they would with it, maybe keep it, maybe fix her up, maybe sell her, but you know, just hand over the keys and say, have fun and I’m done and thanks for playing.


As it stands that did not happen.

My friend went to Scooter Centre and talked with his mechanic and a bunch of other folks and listened for me where I was not able to listen–I was too busy crying last weekend in Scooter Centre to really get the gist of it all–and to ask the questions I do not have the knowledge base with Vespa’s to be able to ask.

What he ascertained, what I had gotten too, but he really got to hear, was that I was not the first person, or the second, or even the third person who had brought that same scooter into the shop and asked for help fixing it to be able to ride it again; nope.

I was the FIFTH fucking person to bring that self-same scooter into their shop.

The fifth person that they knew of and who knows how many others have had the scooter and tried to get something out of it aside from the feeling of having been duped.

“I paid $4,000 for it,” my friend said to me over coffee at Trouble on Sunday when I relayed to him what the issues seemed to be and how really, I took full responsibility for purchasing something that I did not know how to maintain.

But the facts are that it wouldn’t have matter if I did have the capabilities to deal with it.

There is nothing salvageable on the scooter.



I wasn’t handing over the title and the keys to my friend tonight who stepped in to assist me, who really wanted, as much as I, if not a bit more, for the damn thing to work, “it is such a beauty, I understand how you could not want to let it go,” he said patting my shoulder.

“But you really are doing the right thing, and ___________ should pay that $2650 back to you, he owes you, he knew.”

You know who also knew?

I did.

I knew it was too good to be true.

I knew when my friend hustled to the nearest Wells Fargo atm to deposit the check I wrote him for the down payment, I knew, something is off here.

But god damn.

That scooter was so damn sexy.

So cute.

I pushed aside those feelings.

I ignored my gut.

My bad.

Buyers remorse.

You fucking bet.


I have compassion and sympathy and I can give my friend the benefit of the doubt.

Besides, he did so much for me at a certain point in my recovery, I hold no resentment, I hold no grudge.

Ultimately it was not that much, I didn’t really get hurt.


I mean I fucked my ankle up on it, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise, so even there, I can’t harbor any hate.

Besides, self-righteous anger does not serve me, nor does moral indignation or being right versus happy.

I want happy.

And free.

And joyous.

Those are the principles.

My side of the street is clean, the title has been signed over, and the other paperwork signed and now it’s done.

The scooter will be junked.

Tomorrow it gets recycled.

I signed the paperwork to junk the title and they will cut the scooter in half and recycle it where ever they recycle scooters that go to die.

No one else is going to get duped, no one else has to go through it.

There does not have to be a sixth person that shows up on the doorsteps of the Scooter Centre who gets to find out they got fucked into buying a lemon.

And a vehicle that is and was unsafe to ride will not be ridden again.

I could have gotten really hurt riding it, when I reflect on some of the harrowing experiences I had riding it, the night in the fog coming home from Noe Valley when it died on my 12 times, nothing like trying to kick start something in the cold on Laguna Honda with no visibility.

“Do you know what you’re doing?” The driver asked from the car window of a Porsche.

“Yes, I’ll be fine,” I said.

And I am fine.



I have been released.

What is nearly as good as knowing that I did the “right” thing, not selling it, not being duplicitous, not taking money for something that I knew in my heart was not going to be a fun experience for anyone–unless they used it as a lawn ornament or hung it from the ceiling in an Italian restaurant–is the feeling of freedom I have from obsessing about it.

I don’t have to think about it anymore.

One week from dropping it off at Scooter Centre and it’s done.

Tomorrow she’ll be put down.

And it will be done.

They even offered to let me come in and shoot at it.


The owner has a gun at the shop and he said I could come in and shoot it up to feel better before it gets sliced in half and recycled.

I laughed.

But I declined.

I don’t need to ever see it again.

I gave away the spare set of keys, signed the paper work and tomorrow I’ll call my insurance guy and cancel the policy on it.

Done and done.

Making room for the good stuff that God wants for me.

Not holding onto the stuff that doesn’t.

Whether that’s old ideas.

Or an old Vespa from Vietnam.

God’s got better for me.

I am ready to receive.

Space has been made.

That is the best feeling.


The best.

It’s A Lawn Ornament

May 11, 2015

Nice to hear if you’re the proud owner of a flock of pink plastic flamingos.

Not so much if you’re the (sort of not so proud anymore) owner of a 1965 Vespa.


I just keep repeating to myself, bless it or block it.

And man.

This is blocked.

I met with my friend who sold me the scooter.

I talked with my friend who just finished rebuilding his own Vespa.

I texted back and forth with another friend about his current rebuild at Scooter Centre.

And I am done.


I keep also hearing keep it simple stupid.

I will drop the stupid part, but I do own up to my part.

My part–taking on something that is vintage, that I don’t have the band width to tinker with, that I don’t have enough passion for to keep. ┬áThinking something is cute and posing by it is not the passion that will keep it running.

Nor do I have deep enough pockets.

My hopes, expectations, and needs were never met with this scooter.

Which is not the experience my friend who sold it to me had and I understood his point of view and his offer of help.

But in the end I left the coffee shop in tears and I just felt over it.

I talked with another friend on the phone a few hours later, lunch, a cup of tea, a call to my mom to wish her happy mother’s day, a walk along the Great Highway staring at the dunes and the sun poking out valiantly from the clouds, and he said, be up front, tell whom ever decides to buy it point-blank it’s a Vietnam scooter and you’ll probably get $1200.

Fact is.

I don’t want to deal any more.

I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about it.

I don’t.

Perhaps that is me being a baby.

But I prefer to think that it is me be simple, direct, and absolutely to the point.

The scooter was blocked for me from the beginning.

I had misgivings the minute I saw it and it didn’t have so much to do with the ideation of it; that made me feel wonderful, how sleek and sassy and cute the Vespa is; but that I realized that I had bitten off far more than I could chew.

The having to mix motor oil with gas.

The choke.

The cold engine.

The kickstart.

Damn that thing.

Only eleven months later and I still get an ache in my ankle if I walk too hard on it without enough support.

Maybe it looks like I’m rolling over and showing the world of scootering my pink, vulnerable, belly.

But I have heard, more than a few times, that surrendering means going over to the wining side.

It’s not a loss.

It’s just money.

I got hurt once trying to use the scooter.

But I wasn’t in an accident on the road, I didn’t lose my life, like my best friend who was hit while riding his scooter nearly eight years ago.

I didn’t have to donate my organs to science, make my mother cry, or be cremated to have my ashes scattered over the wide world.

I had an experience.

I don’t want to have it any more.

I told my friend who was advocating talking to Chris Ward again, making a case to Barry Gwin again, trying this tack or that, that I really was done.

As far as I am concerned I would happily sign over the title to him and let him tinker with it for the next few years.

He’d have fun.

I find it frustrating.

This is not the first time I have invested in something that has not worked out, but really, in the end, I got to have some great experiences.

I learned how to use a throttle on a scooter and what it felt like to climb over the top of 17th Street, terrifying, and up Castro and over Twin Peaks.

I rode out to Sea Cliff twice.

I got to have the experience of stalling out in the fog and crying.

I got to see how badly my ankle could get mangled.

I got to have the experience of setting up insurance and registering through the DMV and learning how to ride at the Motorcycle Safety Course.

I got to almost get hit twice on Lincoln Avenue when someone changed lanes without looking.

I got whistled at once stopping to park it and taking off my helmet and shaking out my hair.

I felt all sorts of Charlie Girl around that.

Suffice to say.

I believe I’m done.

I really meant what I texted to my friend, he wants it, it’s his.

I give it away.

It certainly wasn’t doing any good sitting in the foyer at the house collecting dust and providing a cute place for spiders to spin webs.

The mechanic at Scooter Centre said it was a lawn ornament and he’s right.

That’s what it’s been since my accident.

I can stop banging my head against the door that does not open.

Or if you will, banging my ankle on a kick starter that won’t turn over.

Or I can walk, ride my bicycle, take MUNI, or pogo stick through the one that is open.

I don’t know what God wants for me as far as transportation goes; probably my bicycle since that seems to be in great working order, but it’s not this Vespa.

And when I am honest with myself.

It never was.

So friends.

You want the Vespa I’ll sign that title right over to you.

Wash my hands of it.

Wipe away the tears.

Say lesson learned and look for new and more entertaining ways to have another experience in this great big game of life.

I am an experiential creature after all.

I want to feel it all.

Just not maybe around this particular scooter anymore.

I’m done with it.

Next experience please.

I concede.

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