If Jason Statham were cast in a movie to play me, he’d be transporting stuff on a pink 170i Buddy, which – as we all know – is far superior to a BMW 750i E38 or an Audi A8L W12. Someone once said that if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. (I actually own several different styles of hammer – including a ball-peen (not kidding – it was a gift – I’m the girl you give a hammer to) – so I’m particularly adept at applying amplified impact force via stored kinetic energy to whatever situation I encounter. (I once tore down an entire wall with just a straight-claw hammer, but that’s a tale for another day…)) A corollary to the Hammer Rule is this: When all you have is a scooter, everything you need to transport has to fit on the scooter… No matter what it is… shit’s gotta fit. Today, I reflect on “weird shit I’ve carried,” why pizza boxes are a pain in the ass, and why, a priori, I am cooler than Jason Statham.
I’m sure that – at various times in our lives – all of us have had to carry weird shit in one way or another (in a car; on a bike; in our poor, beleagured minds). The 170i is not an enormous machine, but I’ve never let the scarcity of available resources limit me. And, as any scooterist knows, there is very little that cannot be accomplished through the innovative use of bungee cords. (And/or sheer force of will…)
To my credit, I’ve managed to move a large ottoman (not well or comfortably or fast); a half dozen large decorative pillows from Pier One (where folks came out of the store to observe the spectacle); my cat (she was not thrilled, but she had to get to the vet somehow); something that turned out to be a 17th century print of Rome from a thrift store; several cases of beer (yeah, cases, at once); typewriters; several cakes and pies; dozens of potted plants for my stoop; a framed 3000 Miles To Graceland poster (gift from ex-husband; don’t ask); mountains of groceries; Christmas tree parts; and several large Christmas wreaths, at various times on my scooter.
But I admit that I have yet to try this:
In sum, any idiot with an 8-litre Audi can move stuff, but it takes mad skills to do it on a scooter. (Score: Liz Ray: 1; Statham: 0).
But then there’s pizza boxes…
Last summer, in between jobs, I signed up to deliver food through one of the I-Want-Something-Right-Now-Bring-It-To-Me apps. Turns out, a lot of people really like pizza. A lot of pizza. Breakfast pizza (this, I learned, is a thing, check out Uncle Oogies on Oregon Ave.). Lunch pizza. Midnight pizza. Big pizzas. Little pizzas. Pizza morning, noon, and night. Pizza. Everywhere.
Simple Things Are Never Easy
Delivering pizza is a deceptively simple task. (Much like neurosurgery. Or dating.) Pizza boxes — especially those big-ass ones — are the least scooter-friendly-shaped thing on the planet. And I had to figure out how to lash stacks of pizza boxes to my bike.
At first, I tried “The Contraption.” My ex-bf built “The Contraption” out of what I estimate to be 1,000 pounds of plywood. We used to want pizza — very specific pizza — from one particular place in Old City. So he designed and built a very specific Contraption that fit over the top case of my bike. Problem was, the Contraption snuggly holds exactly one, very specifically sized pizza box, from one particular place in Old City. I had to be able to transport multiple pizzas, of varying sizes, from different places, all across town. And, as I discovered, every pizza place in town has designed its very own proprietary box, with custom dimensions that are carefully tailored to the metes and bounds of its uniquely-sized pie. So, no Contraption. (And, the life lesson: when designing Contraptions, adaptability is key.) And, before you ask — could I have invested in a pizza-delivery top case for the bike? Sure, if I planned to make a career out of pizza delivery and if I knew how to remove the regular top case from the mount, which has wiring for my brake light running through it. But then there would be no blog post. (Score: Liz Ray 1; Jason Statham: 0; Pizza Boxes: 1.)
Next I tried The Precarious Balancing Technique. The PBT involved trying to operate the bike while having one or multiple pizza boxes precariously balanced on my knees. (An inital beta-test of the PBT that involved precariously balancing pizza on top of the headlight, in between the sideview mirrors, was abortive). With the knee-based PBT, I couldn’t really take my feet off the floor board, so I could never bring the bike to a complete stop. Thus, the PBT was only practicable when I could chart a delivery course that only involved rolling (or no) stops. A key limitation (along with the burning sensation on my legs). (And, before you even ask, I have a rounded top case, so the PBT could not be implemented there.) I thought my PBT was bold and daring until I saw a guy deliver several pizzas by strapping them at a 45-degree angle to the tail end of his Honda CBR sport bike. Props to him. (Not sure what condition the pizza arrived in, though…)
I had better success with The Wedge Technique. As its name suggests, The Wedge Technique involved forcing pizza boxes into a narrow space. Sometimes, the narrow space was the floorboard. With this space occupied by Italian carbohydrate, tomato sauce, and cheese, I had to do a bit of yoga to figure out where to put my legs. At other times, the narrow space was the area between my back and the top-case mount. The degree to which I could sit while operating the bike varied proportionally with the size and number of boxes. Scooters can (under duress) be driven somewhat like a Roman chariot. Sort of like this:
OK, maybe not exactly like this. But you get the point. And, I’m absolutely building myself that. And getting the breast plate, crested helmet, and sword (and Ben Hur-style wheel spikes…)