Caleb Walsh illustration

The year was 1990-something, and Aaron Villemure of Spokane was walking Bloomsday with friends. Or maybe family? Honestly, the details don't really matter much. Not with this story. The point is, one year he was participating in the annual race and partway through, happened to be strolling down the center of the course.

"I just remember there was kind of an unwritten rule, the center line was meant for people who are in wheelchairs or pushing baby strollers or whatnot," Villemure says, "and I didn't know that."

So he was caught off guard when he heard a "beep beep!" from behind him.

What surprised him more than the sound of the horn, however, was what he saw when he turned around: a gray-haired woman in an electric scooter with a basket, smoking a cigarette despite having what looked an awful lot like an oxygen hose hooked in her nose.

"We all kinda laughed at it," he says. "Like, 'Wow, I guess you can do Bloomsday if you're smoking a cigarette and driving on a motorized stroller.'"

Villemure stepped aside, and the woman zoomed on her way. Within minutes, she was out of sight.

"So she obviously got a better time on that event than I did," he says with a laugh.

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...