Monday, September 3, 2012

Segways = Splendor

If you've never ridden a Segway before, you should. 

They're one of these things that I always used to make fun of because of how ridiculous they looked. You laugh during Paul Blart: Mall Cop, as Paul Blart patrols the mall and makes a significant fool of himself the entire movie (yes, I have seen this)...but you can't help notice that the Segway doesn't exactly help his 'cool factor'.  You laugh at the Segway tours given in big cities as they pass you by- a line of helmeted, neon-safety-jacket tourists cruising along the busy streets and sidewalks. 

And by you... I mean 'I'. I laugh at them. 
And just recently I was one of those helmet, neon-safety-jacket wearing tourists. It was incredible. 

My family and I toured around Salem, Massachusetts on Segways. It was hilarious. It was one of those things I probably wouldn't have ever agreed to in any other capacity, but for some reason, when you're with your family, you don't care as much about looking cool because the older you get the more you've just gotten used to having to do ridiculous things with them. 

After a short training session we climbed aboard our Segways and got familiar with how to operate them. It was alarming how sensitive they were to your every motion and how accurate they were in detecting exactly where you wanted to go and what you wanted to do. We laughed and laughed as we circled around each other, hoping to not have any collisions. And as incredible as it was, I still made fun of us for how we looked- because, to me, it looked so funny. It got even worse when we get into the streets of Salem. 

As we passed other tourists and Salem citizens, I watched their reactions to us. Some were just annoyed that we were stalling traffic occasionally, some were clearly used to watching the tours go by, sometimes we got snickers and stares, sometimes a little boy would exclaim, 'AWESOME!!' as we drove by. I smiled and waved to as many people as I could. 

I'm not just talking about Segways because I want to buy my own now...(because, I kind of do...)
BUT, I'm talking about them because it brought some things to light for me. This Segway experience proved to be much more than a historical, fun adventure with my family-- it went deeper than that. 

I'm scared of things that I don't know..and in my fear, I have the tendency to knock them down. It happens with people, it happens with situations, it happens with the happens with anything unknown. I've never experienced something, I've never really known someone, I'm not sure of what the future holds--and so my safest response typically is one of negativity. 

It sounds childish, right? (and I truly hope you're different from me than this...)
But, when I really evaluate the things in life that I simply don't know very much about, I probably have a tendency to want to defend my ignorance because that thing is probably 'stupid' anyway, vs. admit that I'm just ignorant. I have the tendency to care much more about self-preservation than admit that I'm maybe missing out on something better. 

But, I'm wondering how much that's been true for a lot of my life. That I'm missing out on all the Segways of life. That because I've not had access to it, because I thought it looked stupid, because other people made fun of it, because... because... because... there's been a whole world of splendor that I've closed myself off to. 

It goes beyond physical enjoyment, and as much as I don't want to go there... I think it goes even further into the things I believe, the things I think, the things I hope for, the things that I cherish. I'm so limited because I don't know the fullness of what could be...and because I don't know, my defenses go up and all of a sudden knowing things becomes stupid for whatever reason I cling to at the time. Or, because I think I already know something it gives me the authority to tell others that what I know is more correct or better than anything they could possibly have to offer or say. 

I'm not sure if everything I said makes complete sense... but I want to challenge you, if you're anything like me. I want to challenge you to not be afraid to enter into things you don't know, to try things that are different, to be open-minded. Just because something is different than what you've always known, it doesn't mean it's bad or stupid

I guess I think, more often than we realize, that we are all a people who make assumptions and are quick to jump to conclusions without any regard for how different could be better, even if different doesn't always look as cool. We are quick to think we are right and what we already know is the best it could possibly be, without room to admit that things might possibly be a whole lot better if we just allowed room for it to happen. 

So, as we interact with others, I hope we all are willing to at least be open to hearing new and different things before we jump into why it's stupid, wrong, absurd, etc. etc. 

Shoot- go ride a Segway, if you haven't yet. But, beyond that, be a person who doesn't limit yourself solely to the stuff that you currently know. Don't be afraid to learn more...even if that means you might change as the result. Don't criticize or mock the things that you don't know. 

There's a whole world of Segways out there.
Don't just limit yourselves to cars, bikes, motorcycles, trains, airplanes, mopeds, etc. etc.... 

And for your own personal enjoyment: 

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