How to Be a Kickass Segway Tour Guide

For my sins I am a Segway tour guide.

It beats temp work, and I look more regal and august on such machines than if I had a desk job. Rather like Caesar addressing his legions, though now that I’m wearing shorts I suppose I look more like a stork balancing on a treadmill.

When I ran tours in Scotland everyone was on foot, which meant I had to be entertaining and chalk full of history more or less constantly. With Segway tours this onus of charisma is much lighter, as people are more enchanted with space-age transportation than any jokes I can muster about James A. Garfield. Actually my top priority is to make sure that no one does anything stupid, like try to drag race a bus or go looking for golf balls in the Potomac.

As I’ve become more familiar with the job, the safety aspects become a little more instinctive, while the narration becomes automatic. That leaves me time in between stops to expand my purview even further, and I fill these voids by making up crap about my co-workers and random people I see on the street. Many outings require two guides, and on such excursions I relish every opportunity to make fun of my colleagues.

I like my colleagues and they know that I’m joking. In fact my withering commentary about them is actually good financially, because tourists feel sorry for them after the tour and tip really well.

If I’m running a tour alone, I can’t rely on making fun of my peers to amuse myself. So I incorporate things I see around me. I reward amicable, well-humored members of my group by name-dropping them into my improvisation.

We have a microphone system, so I can talk in a normal voice and everyone can hear me, but nearby pedestrians generally can’t. This means I can concoct stories about them without anyone outwith my group knowing.

I can ramble on like that for ten, fifteen minutes, just making up bullshit about my fictitious relationships.

Don’t worry– my tour is actually very informative. My undergraduate degree is in history, and I’ve seen the musical 1776 twenty or thirty times. I’m like a friggin history professor gliding around town on an elegant Segway.

It would all be perfect if it weren’t for Jimmy.


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 Andrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh or think, kindly "like" it on Facebook.

11 Comments

  • Sandra
    May 21, 2012 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I’m honored! But I DO like Vonnegut…

  • Melody
    May 21, 2012 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Man, I think a trip to D.C. is in order, ha! I love the little guy that can’t stay up on his Segway.

  • Teresa
    May 21, 2012 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Wow… This sounds even MORE entertaining than when you tried to burn me as a witch…

  • Heaton
    May 21, 2012 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Once I learn how to do a helicopter tour, I will become God of Tourism.

  • Jim
    May 22, 2012 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Best.Post.Yet.

  • Liesl
    May 22, 2012 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Everything Andy says on this post is true! That is exactly what he’s like – he’s hysterical on the Segway tour, even believed him the first time he pointed out a girl as an ex, then realised he was kidding! Very knowledgable & good fun! Thanks Andy for an awesome tour of Washington!!

    • Heaton
      May 23, 2012 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Liesl! I’m glad you enjoyed the tour, and I’m PARTICULARLY glad you never had to put up with any of Jimmy’s shenanigans.

  • Jimmy
    May 24, 2012 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I am the famous Jimmy, go back to the 1920′s Andrew, everyone knows the longest relationship you have had was the length of a shampoo bottle

    • Heaton
      May 25, 2012 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

      DAMN YOU JIMMY! You stay off my blog! You could screw up a steel ball bearing!

  • Mr Alive
    June 4, 2012 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    that’s what missing in my tours (and the only thing i might add…) Segways!

    I’d say one of your best posts ever; but i near think that with each post… so its getting old.

    • Heaton
      June 4, 2012 - 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Much obliged, my friend! I hope you’re keeping Australia on it’s toes. I’m planning a return to sunny ‘ol Scotland in September. Care to join?

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