As I opened the throttle of my scooter to the fullest, purple fluffy cup-holder flowers fluttering in the wind, I tried to catch the 1980’s brown and tan Town Car that came drifting through the entrance gate. The gate guard said the car had “Neil Diamond” stenciled on the window. That was enough for me and I jumped on my ride and took off.
Actually, I fumbled with the massive combination lock, yanked it away from the bike rack, hit a couple bikes on the way out, picked my scooter up and angled it towards the handicap ramp, finally remembered to turn it on…
Then I took off.
You’re wondering, “why the 80-year-old American icon Neil Diamond would be driving himself around in a 1980s Town Car on a Monday in an RV resort with his name stenciled on the side?” It’s because there was no way he would be. I thought that, too. I was chasing the car because there is a very talented Neil Diamond impersonator who has performed at our resort and I was hoping to make the photo of him, myself and the car a potential gift to my sister. The Campland impersonator is no Super Diamond but judging from his extensive plastic surgery, he is definitely dedicated. Good enough for me. So off I chased.
I zipped along the rows of RV sites, the place was nearly empty, but I couldn’t find the obnoxious baby-shit-brown Town Car. I checked my phone and got word that he was gone as mysteriously as he had come.
Seconds later, I was told that it wasn’t the impersonator’s car I was looking for. It was truly the original Neil Diamond’s car. Or rather, it was his 27-year veteran chauffeur all by himself in the real Neil Diamond’s car. How the ranger at the front gate got that information out of the dude in less than 30 seconds is beyond me.
Because there’s no way any of it is true, logically.
However, there is no logic where I work and stranger things have happened there. Things that I’m witness to and I’ve only worked there 5 1/2 years.
—Imagine the stories I’d have if I weren’t a newbie. Answer: a much more popular blog. —
So I searched for someone else to legitimize this outrageously ridiculous Diamond story.
Lo and behold, the story was backed up by other long-timey employees that Mr. Diamond would have his driver drive him through the RV resort every once in a while when he lived in La Jolla. I don’t know why. Probably because no one cares at Campland who the hell you are. -Just ask Eric Clapton.-
Ever since my exciting lunch break, I’ve tried to find Internet-proof of the car, driver, Neil Diamond being anywhere near there, Neil Diamond being able to drive, or if he ever has had possession of a baby-shit-brown Town Car…and nothing. Yet, I can’t rule the story out. I would be less surprised to find out it were true than if it weren’t. It’s an odd place full of mystery and people confident with self-deluded detachment from their amazing stories.
And it’s not the story I came to tell. It’s about my trusty electric scooter.
I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, what?”
Exactly. Stay with me.
Riding my ridiculous, stick-straight, white with purple-flowered cup holder that flutters in the breeze, is the most fun you can have in public. It’s so silly and so stupidly, hilariously, innocently NOT badass that you just have to give up any pretense of cool and embrace that dork label that will now follow you around for the rest of your life. And you’ll do it with a smile. A huge, dopey, goofy smile. And it’s totally worth it.
Okay, it’s not just my goofy scooter. It is all electric, sit-down scooters that are fun. And there are a lot of electric scooters that are actually badass. Mine just happens to not be one of them.
I actually purchased the scooter because of a strange daily ritual the Winter residents of the RV park enjoy every evening. It’s also silly and ridiculously innocently fun. And I wanted in.
Every sunset, they gather their golf carts together and convoy with each other along the beach, through the park, at around 3mph, to drink cocktails and wave at people. That’s it.
It sounds really stupid because it totally is. It’s stupid and hugely fun. It’s refreshing to laugh that hard when doing absolutely nothing.
I was allowed to join on a few cruises but I wasn’t an official member. That really burned me up.
To join the gang, I was lacking the one thing that would enable me to be considered into this elite club; a golf cart. So, as someone who frequently disregards rules, it came to me… poof, scooter!
There are people in this world that mere mortals such as ourselves can never compare. You know what I mean. They are tougher, braver, more pioneering, simply badder than we’ll ever be. We can only be blessed to know them. No offense to those who think they’re the most awesome in the room. Compared to people like these, you pale and you know it. Accept it. There are people who are better than you.
Three of these more awesome people I have been blessed with knowing are firefighters. They aren’t just firefighters, they are smoke jumpers, hot shots, and whatever the hell we call the scary-ass thing Mikey did.
The first is Diane Pryce, the sweet, very feminine sister of my ex in Santa Barbara who was the first female smoke jumper in California and the second in the country. She trained in Alaska as the only woman in a cluster of angry men resentful of her biological ability for attracting grizzlies to their camp. She spent the rest of her life pioneering how women were portrayed and respected in that hugely male-dominated role. She retired into a job doing air-traffic control from a plane over forest fires. Because, of course she did.
The second is a gentle, former-neighbor of mine, Tommy, who taught trainee smoke jumpers how to parachute into wild fires. Think about that. He TAUGHT people how to parachute…INTO…forest fires. One of the people he trained to do so was Diane Pryce, though I met them separately and in different parts of the state.
The third is Mikey. THE toughest man I’ve ever known who isn’t my father. Mikey earned his pension by –ahem, get this– extinguishing oil rig fires in the Saudi Arabian desert…in the ’80s.
What the holy fuck!?! There’s badass and then there’s that.
Well past retirement age, he can still drink us all under the table, throw a blanket over us, then go off to kill Sasquatch with his bare hands. I can barely eat rum cake without falling asleep and he’s complaining that Las Vegas goes to bed too early anymore.
It’s his golf cart with the Santa stuck to the dash in the other photo. And cracking me up as we circled the RV park.
So, as is fitting of someone that fucking tough, he has one of the more badass scooters ever made.
It looks mean, like a chopper of the Harley Davidson variety.
Mine does not.
Let’s just say that George Christie isn’t begging for my recruitment. Because my little stick of a scooter is as dorky as they get. Yet still as much fun and with more giggles. Because you can’t help it.
One instance that sticks so clearly in my mind is hearing my friend giggle with her husband like a couple of 6-year olds when riding my and Mikey’s scooters, trailing behind our golf cart convoy. These two have lived lives, they’ve seen things, he’s even a real life rock star, yet that happy, innocent laughter they shared when scooter-riding is still contagious when I think of them.
Yes, Mikey’s chopper is as cool as the dude who owns it. As is the dude riding it in the photo. My little white dork scooter pictured in the upper right (being ridden by my friend) of the photo, however, does not make me, or anyone riding it, cool. It’s totally worth it, though.
And it did allow me entry into the golf cart club, too. That’s all I wanted.
So, as I sped through the empty lots of Campland searching for the babyshit-burrito-colored Town Car, determined to get a selfie with any “Neil Diamond”, I realized I had one of the biggest smiles on my face. Usually contemplative and grouchy, I was giggling and felt like I spent some time in the most valuable way. It’s curious what can make someone like me appreciate life.
Who knew it would be a white, stick straight scooter with a fluffy purple-flowered cup holder? I sure didn’t. Had I known, we’d all have a fleet by now.