Have you ever had a rude awakening? I have and it happened last week.
My mom and I were happily spending our days on the Amalfi Coast and decided that we wanted to rent a motorcycle and drive to the different little towns. The bus system was effective but we were tired of waiting and waiting for the different bus lines.
It was a Monday morning and we walked to a nearby bike shop that we saw a few days before. About an hour before, I had called the shop and rented a bike for the day. He only asked if I had a license and for how many days I wanted it. We were running late so I went ahead and reached the shop first. I say my name and the man confirms the reservation. I’m excited because I’ve always wanted to do something like this. He then asks me, “Do you ride motorcycles at home?” I answer honestly that, “No, I don’t.” And then he looks at me and frowns and proceeds to tell me that he can’t give me the bike.
I ask, “Why not?”
He said that it’s because there’s only one bike left and it is too fast for me. I looked at the bike and it looked like every other scooter. It wasn’t bigger or leaner but he just kept saying that I wouldn’t be able to drive it because it was 125cc and it was too fast. And so, because of my inexperience I chose to believe him and so we left.
I was dejected. Let down. The man suggested another shop so that we could find a smaller scooter but when we found the shop, it was closed. Our plans for the day changed and we decided to leave it for another time but honestly, I was pissed!
I know that if I had shown up to the shop and was a boy instead of a girl, he would have let me drive the scooter. But I was a girl and he saw that conditioned weakness. Usually, girls are not associated with any type of moving vehicle. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. It was too fast for me?! Give me a break. I wanted to prove him wrong.
Two days passed and we decided to try again. That Wednesday we got up early and walked to the other shop. We walk in and the first thing I see is a pregnant woman at the front desk. I’m happily surprised.
We ask if there are any scooters left and she says, “Yes, what type would you like?”
I look at my mom and because of our last experience we ask her, “What type do you suggest for us? We are not experienced drivers.”
I’m surprised when she says that either one is fine. There are the smaller scooters which are 50cc and the next type are the 125cc.
She shows us the scooters outside and tells us that the main difference is how you park them. My mom let’s me choose and because I had to prove the man from the other shop wrong, I chose the 125cc. If the woman from the shop thought that I could drive it, then why did I ever doubt myself? I knew that I could do it. I didn’t have to prove my skills to anyone but I wanted to, for myself. I couldn’t let a man’s opinion define my actions. And just because I’m not a man, doesn’t mean I can’t drive a bike/scooter.
We finally got on the bike and we were fine. Of course it was a bit tricky at first, but I got the hang of it. It was the most thrilling moment I’ve had on the trip. There were many scary moments considering that the roads on the Amalfi coast are very curved and winding. I would get nervous whenever a tour bus would pass or I had to lean for a sharp turn but it was totally worth it. I know my mom was terrified and praying for most of the way but the VIEWS. WOW.
Endless blue sea and sky meeting at the horizon. A bright yellow sun hanging over perfect white clouds. Nobody can take that moment away from me. It was breathtaking.
We traveled through Amalfi, Minori and Maori and rode back home with an amazing golden sunset. I’ll never forget that moment.
He told me I couldn’t… so I did, and it was the best day ever.