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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Twice bitten, still shy

Mike Morin

I’m praying that things don’t come in threes. Especially for those riding Segway personal transporters. The last thing I expected recently was to turn a blind corner of my house while cutting the grass only to find a man on a Segway, stationary on my lawn. Right in my path, just feet away. I’m not sure who was more startled, the guy or me. I stopped quickly. No contact was made. No need to fill out an accident report.

The Monday sun gave us bonus summer weather for late September, and I was clearly daydreaming while guiding my Honda push mower over rich, green, newly fertilized turf. Other than watching for the occasional garter snake, my mind was elsewhere, therapeutically cutting the grass and not watching for anything else.

I doubt that either of us would’ve been injured, but can’t you read the headlines now? “Man watching for garter snakes runs over meter reader on Segway.” Yes, a meter reader was collecting data, and I nearly mulched him and his ride into my lush green carpet. What a way to go.

Shocked, he put up his hand, took another look at the meter, then, with color returning to his face, waved goodbye, leaving telltale tire marks as he zipped off to startle another homeowner.

Yes, you can bet I’ll be checking my next utility bill to be sure I didn’t scare the guy into accidentally recording a higher reading than he should have. Looking back, it was a funny moment that gave two strangers an adrenaline rush. That’s only half the story.

Just hours before, on the same day, as I left the radio station, I had another close call. This time with my car. As I approached the street from the parking lot, I looked left, then, right. Heading for me from the right was a guy on, you guessed it, a Segway! Fortunately, no contact was made, and all parties were on their way. This time, I was not daydreaming and I wasn’t looking for reptiles.

Never in my life have I had near-accidents with people on Segway transporters until twice last week and just hours apart. I’m happy to report both Segway riders were wearing helmets. Maybe I should start wearing a helmet while cutting my lawn. After all, I could hit a moose. Or maybe some more school bus-sized space satellite debris could rain down on me.

I think I’ll wear a helmet in the house, too. I keep walking into a low-hanging light fixture over the kitchen table. I always bump my head when I go in search of cleaning products under the kitchen sink.

For the safety of meter readers, I think I’ll petition my town to put up “Watch for guys on Segways” signs next to the moose crossing warnings.

And for everyone else, watch out for the guy driving a white SUV and wearing a helmet. Especially if you drive a Segway. After all, things come in threes.

Hear Mike Morin weekdays from 5-10 a.m. on “New Hampshire in the Morning” on 95.7 WZID. Contact him at His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.