I remember seeing “Princess Diaries” for the first time, wishing I could be a princess and ride my scooter to school. More than 10 years have passed and I still would like to be a princess, but I no longer can see the appeal of riding a scooter to class. What about hills? Puddles? Oncoming traffic? Pebbles or cracks in the sidewalk? A nonexistent brake system? Glares from pedestrians? The obstacles are numerous. Interestingly, many Case Western Reserve University students seem to be living out my childhood dream of transporting themselves to class by way of a Razor scooter. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that this trend has become increasingly popular over the last few months.
Not only scooters, but longboards and skateboards pop up all over the place as well. My question is why. I can understand if you like to skateboard or occasionally take the scooter out for a spin (if that’s what it’s called), but relying on them as your means of transportation to class each day seems like a huge hassle, especially when you consider inclement weather and the hordes of pedestrians that you must weave your way through. The reason behind it must be quite compelling. Do the longboarders and scooterers just enjoy the attention? Do the laughs and curious glances and rolled eyes directed their way give them the extra burst of energy needed to adventure on through that ominous puddle or up the elephant stairs?
I’m also interested in the how of the operation. I have seen many a lad rolling along to class via skateboard or scooter, but I have never actually seen someone enter a building carrying their transportation. I would love to see someone casually park their scooter by their door upon entering the classroom, but so far no luck. But where do the skateboards and various other species disappear to? Are bike racks used? Are lockers needed to store these items? Do they fold up into bookbag-feasible dimensions?
In addition to the assorted types of wheeled boards, students have been utilizing other non-traditional ways (by traditional, I mean legs or a bicycle) of getting to class. The most popular of these avant-garde systems of transport is definitely shuffling. Many students must simply burn through pair after pair of shoes, due to the lamentable and constant dragging of the feet. Shuffling, while definitely noticeable and in fact, impossible to ignore, may not always be intentional, and therefore does not deserve excess credit.
The intrepid student who has mastered the art of riding a unicycle to class is much more noteworthy than the shuffler. Back to the how question: Where does one buy a unicycle? My eyes may have deceived me, but I am pretty sure there is one unicycler who frequently sports an appropriate monocle while making his way to class. Slightly less striking, but definitely worthy of the label “cute” or “quirky” are the tricycles that emerge from time to time. To all appearances, tricycle-riding as an adult is quite a workout and requires extreme dexterity of the legs, so my hat goes off to the bendy few who manage the peddles on the wee contraptions. Finally, for those who are willing to really splurge on their whip, there is the segway. Yes, yes. CWRU police are not the only ones who roam the CWRU campus on flashy segways—I have witnessed more than a couple of students whirring around en route to class. Or maybe a few gallant students confiscated some of the police force’s segways in an attempt to save officers the embarrassment of riding a segway. If so, all the more impressive.
The key thing to remember when it comes to the question of how you get to class is that sometimes, being traditional is okay. It’s alright to walk to class. It’s natural, it’s healthy and it’s a classic.
Theresa Smetona is a senior majoring in Spanish and English. In her free time, she likes to drink coffee and consider the possible benefits of her future unemployment.