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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Grumpy Old Men on Mobility Scooters


Grumpy old men on mobility scooters, should be locked up! Man, oh man I have had my fill of them this summer.
Perhaps I should be more specific and say one grumpy old man on a mobility scooter being the exception rather than the rule. However, he does spoil it for all the elderly charging about our small seaside town on those magical scooters.
Last year some time, I had a run in with an elderly gentleman on his mobility scooter while crossing at a pedestrian crossing. We almost collided because I wanted to go left and he wanted to go right. No one’s fault really but I stepped back, allowed him to continue, smiled and apologised as my parents raised me to do. My smile was not returned, my apology was not acknowledged and he avoided eye contact as he drove off mumbling profanities about the youth of today. What a grumpy old man I thought then brushed it off as someone having a bad day and hey, it was nice to be classed as youthful!
Then a number of weeks ago the Lollipop and I were going for our morning walk, which when you are a Lollipop, is a very leisurely stroll consisting of numerous starts, stops and looks at. The morning joggers, dog walkers, kids off to school and grownups off to work all go around us utilising the space provided by the wide pavements. The highlight of the morning is how most of the kids when they charge past yell, “Hello Sarah-Marie’s mum!” I often think that the entire school knows who I am! But I digress, so there we were, Lollipop and I, strolling slowly and happily along the pavement. The Lollipop was admiring the flowers and collecting pebbles and stones and putting them into her backpack. Suddenly we were both frightened out of our skin by what sounded like a fog horn. Spinning around to search for the source of the noise, I found a grumpy old man in a mobility scooter, gestating wildly at me to move out of the way. Considering the amount of space available for him to move around us, and the complete unnecessary use of an air horn to get our attention, I was highly annoyed. Scowling at him I realised he was the same grumpy old man from the year before; I wanted to tell him to go to hell and maybe learn some manners. I did not I was raised correctly! Clutching a very frightened little Lollipop close to me I stepped back into the flower bed out of his way apologised for not realising we had drifted into the middle of the path and tried not to glare! Again, he made no eye contact as he zipped past mumbling profanities at stupid people. Having now gotten over that, I realised I had now damaged someone’s garden and would be apologising for that too.
I don’t get it, I’m am not the world’s most tolerant or patient person but I do have manners and I always try and treat everyone with some respect, why is it there are so many people out there with none to speak of. I was raised to have respect for people, I was taught to always be polite and mindful of others especially pensioners. You know what I mean, those simple things like giving up your seat on the bus or stepping to one side and allowing them to enter a building before you. Simple things that take no effort but make someone feel noticed. It amazes me how many surprised looks I get from the elderly when I hold a door open for them or step aside to let them go ahead of me. It is almost as if they become invisible as people completely ignore them or push past them as they slowly make their way around town. Whoever came up with the idea of the mobility scooter needs to be knighted; so many elderly people now are able to continue living independently because these scooters give them the freedom to go places in their own time. They zip up and down the shopping aisles, along the pavements or the Foreshore having a grand old time. As a pedestrian, we do have to be a little more aware of them and it is our responsibility to get out of their way rather than expect them to move out of our way. After all these are elderly people whose eyesight may not be the best or their reflexes have slowed and they won’t react quick enough to avoid collision. On the whole most riders of these mobility scooters use basic road etiquette and share the pavement space with other users without incident.
Except, it seems for this horrid grumpy old man who, I believe, should not be allowed out in public! Today my Lollipop and I set off for our walk to town to complete some chores. There we were standing at a pedestrian crossing waiting for the light to change when suddenly my Lollipop squeals and falls forward into the street. Grabbing her by her shirt I was able to pull her back to safety and while I was picking her up to comfort her I looked around for the reason for her flight into traffic when my eyes settled on the same grumpy old man and his mobility scooter. He was nowhere to be seen when we got to the crossing so he had obviously come up behind us and not stopped, purposely riding into Lollipop. Forgetting all my upbringing, my manners and totally disregarding any misplaced respect I asked him what the hell did he think he was doing. I got told the light was @#$%^ green and to get a @#$%^&* move on he had things to do and no time for stupid youngest with too much time on their hands and living off his hard earned taxes. My response was that he was making assumptions which was a dangerous thing to do and that he could either move around me and my child or he could wait till I was good and ready to move forward. He went on to list all the things wrong with my generation and the generation I was raising and personally he felt that we should all be lined up and shot, in his day children were brought up correctly.
As the light changed to green again I had quite enough of his tirade and rudeness so I turned back to him looked him right in the eyes and said: “Clearly! Sir! You were not brought up correctly but rather dragged up by elevator!” With that I turned heel and stomped off dragging poor Lollipop behind me through the crossing.

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