For the last five years or so, I've worked in a rough part of town. The office is quite literally along the tracks that divide "bad" from "really bad." There is a large bridge nearby under which there is usually a large encampment of people. I haven't seen any people gathered around a burning barrel for warmth, but it's just a matter of time.
When I ride the Triumph to work, I generally take the freeway, and only ride through a couple miles of the city to get to work.
When I ride the scooter, however, my only choice is to ride right through the ugly parts of town. The parts where strip clubs don't have signs apart from "Open." The parts where you're likely to see a guy wearing a Halloween hockey mask walking down the middle of the train tracks at six in the morning, a week and a half after Halloween.
Naturally, it is a much more interesting ride than taking the freeway.
One of the things I really like about riding the Vespa is that the slower pace and routes brings me through neighborhoods that have Christmas lights up at this time of year. The lights, by the way, are my favorite part of Christmas. I am firmly in favor of decorating with twinkly colored lights regardless of season.
I believe I mentioned the route I take to work, that runs more or less parallel to the train tracks, goes through an ugly part of town. I ride past scrap yards, discount automobile dealerships, an RV repair shop, an incredible variety of adult bookstores and strip clubs, and many squat grey buildings with generic company names on the outside, like Diversified Amalgamated Fittings. I'm pretty sure I pass by the clubhouse for the "Legitimate Businessman's Club." These kinds of places don't put up Christmas lights.
Except, apparently, for one of them. There is a strip club in a building you couldn't pay me enough to go in to just off the road I ride. The kind of place that has an A-frame sign on the main road that has "Girls Girls Girls" and an arrow, hand spray painted, to bring in customers. The building itself is made of unpainted cinder blocks. It looks like a big utility shed.
They have decorated the hell out of their building. They have lights strung all around the building, and on the "grounds." In the dark of an early morning, it almost looks wholesome with all those lights up. I can almost imagine actual gentlemen inside, gathered around a fireplace in a wood-panelled room, smoking pipes and exchanging witticisms.
Of course, on the way home, in the light of day, it's a creepy building you still couldn't pay me enough to go in.
Finding things like that is what makes riding the Vespa entirely worth the extra time.