Celeste the Frankenstella is now running like a dream, and looks like one, too. So I’ve been riding her exclusively for a few weeks. Partly because starting her up is a consolation prize for the crappy weather, partly because I didn’t get to ride her last fall, and partly because the GTS is due for 3,000 mile service with nearly 4,000 miles on the odometer.
Two weekends ago we had actual Certified Sunshine™, so I jumped in and finished the remaining details (glovebox, turn signals, etc.). Then I spent two hours with a toothbrush and a bucket of hot water detailing the scooter. It was wonderfully obsessive, and reminded me of the Harley guys I would see hunched over their bikes for hours, dabbing at miles of chrome with a fistful of cloth diapers. I washed and waxed her, buffed her up, and glossed all her shiny parts until you could apply lipstick in the crashbars.
For a few months now, I’ve been searching for tassels for my handlebars. Ever since the 5th grade, when Susie Morgan had pink sparkly handgrips on her banana seat bike and I didn’t, I’ve had tassel envy. Now that I’m (in theory) an adult, I decided I would once and for all end the decades of pining by finding my very own handgrip decor.
This mission proved more difficult than you’d think; the only tassels I unearthed were Disney-themed and gaudy. I wanted straight-up silver tinsel, no bells and whistles. I considered making my own, but that project was on the end of a very long list of todo’s.
I’ve also been in the market for some kind of fun and exciting trunk for the Stella; I’ve been searching on eBay and Etsy for a vintage traincase or treasure chest. Last week I went on an adventure to Red Light, the crazy vintage store on Broadway, to search through their collection of 60’s luggage.
So while at Red Light, pawing through stacks of florrid daisy print suitcases, I came across two little gifts the Universe had left specifically for me. A pair of size 12 (!!!) purple old-school sneakers, and not one, but two sets of silver tinsel handlebar tassels. On clearance for $1.
No one could truly understand my joy at this simultaneous discovery, and the cashier was too busy being cooler than me to appreciate the enthusiasm with which I presented my payment. But I promptly when home, drilled a hole in the Stella handgrips, attached the long-awaited tinsel tassels, and took Celeste for a spin in my new purple sneaks.
Decades of tassel-envy burden fell away. I was weightless.
Last night was the Vespa Club of Seattle monthly meeting. They are always a fun and boisterous affair, and I was looking forward to it since I have not had a chance to show off Celeste since finishing her make-over. I was tres excited to share my shiny new additions. I was more excited about the $1 tinsel than the fact that I rewired my turn signals with new connectors, all by myself.
Now Roger Tango, the Prime Minister of the Westenders, gets more bling for the buck than anybody else I’ve seen on the road. His fire engine red Vespa is totally custom and features meticulous attention to detail – from the white rubber trim to the Union Jack seat to the license plate that says “MOD”. His scooter is beautiful and simply perfect. I would not dream of competing against that kind of world-class accessorizing. (Especially since I often have a giant chrome milkcrate zip-tied to the back of my scooter. Very classy.)
Members of the Westenders are assigned a “portfolio”, and I am known as the Minister of Sparkles. I am secretly a 12-year-old girl. I put glitter on everything, and the more shiny something is, the more I covet it. So while the silver tinsel on my bike is truly me, it is not period-appropriate and scooter experts everywhere groan in disbelief.
This does not stop Roger Tango and I from engaging in a friendly, mock Bling War. His full moon chrome hubcaps take the cake – I can’t even compete with that. Even though my hub caps are shaped like stars. I’m a big fan of stars.
I’m in the market now for a silver glitter seat cover — you know, like the one Susie Morgan had on her banana seat bike.
Keep an eye out for me, will you?