Last week I had an altercation with a tiny robot. I was flipped high into the air by an electric scooter and landed hard on my left arm, fracturing my wrist and elbow and irreparably destroying what little self-respect I had on me at the time. It was scooter carnage.
Of course, it would be remiss of me to imply that the scooter was being malicious in any sense (the fall was entirely down to my own carelessness), but as I writhed around on the ground it gave off three happy little beeps that I can only describe as triumphant sounding.
I now live in constant fear of a machine uprising. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m glad to be alive, but I can never be certain that the scooter isn’t going to come back and finish the job.
The machine in question is the Smart Glider, a battery-powered and self-stabilising, skateboard-style scooter.
You stand on it (very carefully) before some clever gyroscopes kick in to keep you upright. Ever-so-slightly tilting your feet propels the Smart Glider forwards at giddying speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. Slight adjustments to your feet turn it left and right.
When you’re not falling off it and breaking all of your arms and legs in a bone-snapping crescendo of pain, it’s incredibly good fun. I recommend trying one if you get the opportunity, and are in possession of a working sense of balance.
Once safely aboard the Smart Glider, you zoom about like a benevolent ghost, no longer inhibited by your primitive hominid meat-legs. You hover around outside cafés, bars and supermarkets, unsure of what to do with your arms.
You can’t swing them, because you’re not walking, but letting them hang limply by your side looks and feels even stranger. So you cross them, like you’re some ancient Egyptian god or an Oscar, and you glide to your destination looking weirdly, unavoidably self-satisfied.
“I’m beyond feet,” your posture screams, “I am the next stage of human evolution. Look upon me and weep.”
Understandably, envious non-scooter folk will shout very mean things at you in the street. “Great stuff, friend! You look cool and handsome on that trendy board for exceptional people,” is an example of something you won’t hear.
But “t**t” is one you’ll get with astonishing frequency. This really is no exaggeration: during outdoor testing the word was uttered no fewer than three times in 20 minutes. That’s twice as often as when I’m not riding the Smart Glider.
As much as it’s not a vehicle for the clumsy tech journalist, the Smart Glider is also not a vehicle for the self-conscious. These boards are devastatingly uncool, and you’ll be reminded of this regularly by crowds of friendly, interjecting strangers.
Toppling off a scooter backwards might break your bones, but it’s the words that hurt the most.
The Smart Glider is available to buy now from futurewheels.com for £399.99