Take the blue pill

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June 16, 2003 // UPDATED 10:51 am - April 30, 2007
By: Julie Swenson
Julie Swenson

Meet Downtown\'s best anti-depressant: a scooter

I have found the key to happiness, and it starts a light blue Kymco People scooter.

A scooter is a cross between a motorcycle and a moped, not the skateboard with a stick get-up that I see the teens using. The scooter is also the single best antidepressant I\'ve ever had, and believe me, I\'ve tried \'em all. Consider yourself warned, Mr. Pfizer; no one is going to need Zoloft after we all start buying up these adorable little scooters and experiencing the pure joy and fun that goes along with them.

It all started when I stumbled into Scooterville, which sounds like a mythical town but is really a scooter shop by the U, and took a test ride all around Downtown. Before I go any further, let me make myself clear; Kymco is not a client of my p.r. business, and neither is Scooterville. I really did just have so much fun on that test drive that it shocked me, and I am moved to share it with you today.

Anyway, Bob, Scooterville\'s founder, gave me a quick lesson on how to ride to help me get started. It\'s easy after a few minutes - but at first, all I could think about was the nearest emergency room. I took off for Downtown and rode back and forth between 6th and 7th streets, then up the Nicollet Mall (sorry officer) and all around again, for the afternoon.

I never once quit smiling the whole time I was riding that scooter. And I felt like the mobile life of the party. Every time I stopped at a light the people waiting to cross smiled at me. The kids all waved, and there was one great big guy who said, \"Jeez that\'s cute.\"

How can you not feel great about life when you are on the receiving end of all this happiness? The scooter brought out all the friendliness in our stoic population and I got to soak it up as I rode by. You could never feel lonely on a scooter, and that\'s why it\'s such a great antidepressant.

Between smiles and sweet conversations with total strangers, I realized how much I miss when I\'m riding in my car Downtown. I don\'t mean to go all \"Zen & The Art...\" on you, but you really are a part of the landscape when you move through it on a scooter. You aren\'t just watching it go by through the window. For example, did you know that there\'s a giant lilac bush by 510 Groveland that is miraculously still full of flowers this late in the lilac season, and you can smell them before you see them?

Our Downtown is perfect for the scooter lifestyle. I talked to one woman at Scooterville, Ann, who rides her yellow Kymco with a matching yellow helmet to and from work. \"I got a scooter because I can ride it to work everyday in a skirt and heels. I can\'t do that on a bike and the bus gives me motion sickness.\"

It\'s the perfectly stylish solution to her transportation needs. She just pulls up on her scooter, pays nothing to park it on the sidewalk, and then waltzes into the office refreshed and relaxed from a nice little ride in.

It\'s easy here, because Downtown is totally accessible via regular streets, it\'s not a Downtown where you can really only get there by freeway and tollbooths. I\'m no urban planner, but I can guarantee that you won\'t find anyone on a scooter in the Lincoln Tunnel.

So Mr. Pfizer, I sure hope you have something good for all those pharmaceutical reps to do this summer. Maybe you could give them all jobs mowing your lawn like David Letterman does with his interns. Or better yet, they should get jobs selling scooters, because they won\'t be taking many orders for Zoloft in Minneapolis this summer.

In addition to scootering, Julie Swenson (Julie@abbaspr.com) owns Abbas Public Relations. Scooterville can be found at www.scootervillemn.com or on the other end of 331-7266.