But until the future arrives (we could tell you when this will happen, but we know you like surprises), the best way to enjoy a taste of the delicious new world order is to go to the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; www.slsc.org) to rent your own Segway for an hour. Or two. Or three. Seriously, once you get on the thing, you won't want to get off.
The Segway Human Transporter, created by inventor Dean Kamen, is a two-wheeled, self-balancing marvel that whisks you around in a most delightful manner. (GOB, the magician brother on Arrested Development, rides a Segway, if you need a visual reference.) Once activated, the Segway is virtually impossible to tip over (although a hungover Mr. Night made a few valiant efforts on this front), ferrying the pilot over grass, concrete and gentle slopes with ease. The built-in speed limiter and quick-turn radius imparts a feeling of freedom and power.
Science Center Segways (314-289-4424), located in the Planetarium SkyPort, requires a mandatory one-hour training course called Segway 101; it costs $10, and after a training video and some background information on the Segway construction, you get your first ride. Sweet. You also get a laminated Class B Segway Driver's License, which allows you to take the next course, Segway 201. This hour-long class enhances your developing Segway skills with outdoor travel and costs $30. Very sweet. Also, the $65 Glided Tour of Forest Park, which lasts two and a half hours, is the sweet that surpasses Sweet. Before you "tut-tut" over the price, consider this testimonial on the majesty of the Segway from our own Ms. Day:
"Well, first of all, do not even worry about how dorky you think you'll look riding a Segway. Sure, you have to wear a helmet and have really good posture -- the slightest lean backward or forward will send you in that direction -- but this is the future we're talking about. You're going to be a part of something bigger than the Segway -- bigger than you (dorkiness notwithstanding). And when you're practically floating through Forest Park, looking down your nose at those exercising, you'll forget all about your helmet as you smugly smile to yourself and think, 'Ha, ha. Poor slobs! If only they knew that in the future, Segway people don't have to exercise. This wonderful traveling machine from the heavens exercises for them!' OK, not really, but the Segway's still really cool. But forward-thinking aside, the most important tip Ms. Day can offer you today is this: Know that you won't be peacefully gliding along the park's trails until you master your Segway's turn-on-a-dime capabilities. Tiny movements make this magic machine move, so relax; gentle, graceful motions will get you where you're going. And that's toward the revolution -- walkers need not apply."
Grace, gentleness, happiness: That's a future worth living for. Bring on the Segways and alpacas.