Are we having fun yet? Brugge, Belgium. 2009

Segways have never made any sense to me.

Years ago while I was waiting in line at Disneyworld’s (Florida) Space Mountain, I saw a display sponsored by RCA. As we waited on a “peoplemover” (Disneyspeak for conveyor belt) to get on the ride, we passed various windows that showed with the aid of Disney animatronics, RCA’s vision of the future.

It seemed to me that RCA thought that our future would be spent doing nothing but sitting down and pushing buttons. One display showed a housewife of the future sitting down looking at a video screen to see who was at the door that was just behind her. Another widow showed a kid doing some virtual skiing in front of a large TV screen. In short, RCA’s prescient view of the future showed us all using consumer goods to live more sedentary lives. I can remember thinking to myself that the future that the “imagineers” had conjured up for us looked very boring and unhealthy.

Although I’m loathe to say it, RCA was right in a lot ways and many of us can no longer have a good time without first spending some money to buy a device so we can “interface” with the physical world. It would seem that for many of us, if it hasn’t got a motor, lens, screen or wheels we don’t want to know about it. How many people have to buy a powerboat to enjoy the water, or a dirtbike to enjoy the bush?

To me, the product that epitomes this attitude is the Segway, which I’d like to nominate as one of the most pointless transportation devices ever devised.

Even though the streets of Brugge are cobblestoned, I think a much better way to work off all the chocolate that one eats when there, is to cycle.

15 thoughts on “Are we having fun yet? Brugge, Belgium. 2009”

  1. It’s jarring to see these contraptions piloted by vested Belgians (I presume) against the backdrop of the canal and old building facades. Another device the world doesn’t need. Since they’ve appropriated the word, don’t you wonder what they are a segue to?

  2. Bad things have to happen when able-bodied people become too lazy to even walk.

    On the other hand, if enough people need to make X dollars to buy a Segway, then wages will eventually have to support that purchase. So people who don’t engage in such activities will have that money to fund international travel. This is what I always tell myself whenever I see such absurd waste.

    And hey, look at the guy in front, he’s got a mic! He’s livin’ large and in charge!

  3. Ha Funny! When I get around to posting about our recent trip to Portugal I have photos of policemen on defeats in Lisbon!!! Also worked with a complete doof whose idea of fun was getting around Paris on one of these doofmobiles. Needless to say, I hear you Razz! Loud n clear and I an so very with you. These things are like something out of the jetsons!

  4. Donald

    They are a segue to unhappiness through consumption. They are further proof to me that we all need to fight for our minds.

    We must learn to think for ourselves and say no to such stupidly needless things.


    Our mobility is such an important thing and I think that people who use Segways have forgotten that it’s a case of “use it or loose it” when it comes to walking.

    It sounds like you and I think the same way about a few things. A friend of mine has bought a car for his son who is about the graduate from high school and he told me that his son wants to buy a nice stereo for the car. I reminded them that for the price that some people spend on sound systems for their cars, they could’ve bought a plane ticket anywhere in world.


    Good to hear from you. How’s the trip to Portugal going? I look forward to your next posts and seeing your photos.

  5. I first saw rent-a-sageway-to-tour-the-city thing in Tallinn this year and couldn’t stop from laughing. In some places, the streets of the old town are covered in such large and uneven cobblestones that the idiots (segway riders) were barely maintaining the balance. I guess they did not count on such a rugged, bumpy ride. I know, it was just a small pleasure, not a true victory for sanity. But it illustrated another level of stupidity of it all.

    As for the futuristic visions – I think you would like
    Apparently, not all future visions saw idleness as a benefit:

  6. They should have them in Venice … for the tourists who don’t like gondolas.

    Brugge! I didn’t know you went to Brugge. I love that city … and the Quasimodo tour of WW1/WW2 Battlefields and the Regional History tour are great!
    I think the guy who does/did the tours’ last name was Notredame: hence Quasimodo tours.

  7. Grasswire

    Sounds like Lisbon would be another good place for them.


    Now gondolas are something that I’m going to write about at some time. I think I’ll call the post, “Are gondola rides Venice’s version of an intelligence test?”

    “gondolas or gondoli” or perhaps gladioli?

    Brugge was great and I’d like to go back to Belgium again, particularly the Flemmish parts.

  8. Razzbuffnik: The story of your friend’s son who wants the expensive car stereo is hilariously timed. I bought one (+ speakers) in 1997 for $300, and now, the whole thing is coming to the end of things. So I’ve been setting that $300 against other things that could have been purchased instead, and wondering…

    These things you just have to find out for yourself, and the sooner the better, I say.

  9. Razz,

    Use it of lose it? Use the Segway and lose a life. The mega-rich owner of the Segway is killed in a Segway crash. He rode one of his own Segways off a cliff into a river, near his home in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, England. Ultimateley, his invention killed him.


  10. Razz, I never thought they could be fatal too. But they also can be fatal. A fool always . The owner of Segway, Mr Heselden was a ex-miner. After the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 he lost his job and started his own business. More ironically, he lost his job because Iron Lady Mrs Thatcher closed many coal pits in UK. Mr Heselden did very good business, entirely in the style a la Mrs Thather or Mr Howard. So Mr Heselden became a millionaire. If he retained his miner’s job he never became so rich. He was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. But he did’t invent the Segway. He only became superrich because he sold the vehicles and he was a good seller. The inventor is Mr Dean Kamen, a American born in Rockville, NY. Mr Kamen is a entrepeneur and inventer. The inventor, Mr Kamen is more a man in your way than the late Heselden.

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