I’m just back from a week’s vacation at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Between vacation and Foo Camp, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks, but things should be getting back to normal now. I mention the vacation because, at a stop for dinner on the way up, I happened to notice this dealership sign: Segway of Northern New England. It was like a sign from the future that didn’t quite happen. A few years in the future from a few years ago (i.e. now) we were all going to be zooming around on Segways. Weren’t we? Weren’t we?
One critique that seems to stick to the Segway is that, at some basic human level, it’s just weird to see someone standing still and moving at the same time. The Segway-ist can’t help looking comical. It reminded me of the difference between motorcycle cops and bicycle cops. Psychologically there’s just no comparison: the bicycle cop is approachable. He’s your friend. He’s on your side. You want to talk to him. You want him to catch the bad guy. But the motorcycle cop moves without moving. He is remote and menacing, an enforcer from another domain. You might even be tempted to help his frightened prey escape. Which all leads to the question: what about the cop on a Segway? Intimidator, friend, or buffoon?
The Segway of Northern New England showroom really exists of course, but then New Hampshire is Dean Kamen’s back yard. I don’t imagine there are too many other dealerships around the country. I wonder what kind of business it does.