“I’m almost dead.”
I realized after a second that the skateboarder rolling slowly to a stop near me was calling to his friend about battery power. Not health.
I see the future and it is e-assisted. Soon we will have bionic hands and plug-in feet and chip-implanted brains. Until they arrive, we are in the clunky appendage boom. We strap smart watches to our wrists. We cradle iPhones. We pedal-assist our bikes, Li-ionize our scooters, electrify our skateboards. In cities across the U.S., dockless Bird and Lime e-scooters duke it out with pedestrians and local laws. Personal transporters ‘R Us.
I snapped these two night riders at Columbus Circle just as dusk began to fall. Their boosted boards sent small cones of light ahead like tiny lighthouses across a pavement sea. Intrepid but practical, they were sensibly geared up in helmets, heavy jackets, gloves and backpacks. I figured the fellow with knee pads and fierce red tail-light had fallen once. His talismanic level of protection spoke to me of caution born of experience.
I was curious to know where they had started and for how long they had been going. I wanted to hear what brand they were riding and if they had tinkered with the design. But before I could get my nerve up to ask, the traffic light changed. They leaned back, tilted up, and off they went, across the circle and into the muffled velvet dark.