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.
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.