"Sorry kid, I need your scooter to get to work!" - Me.
I ride my bike to work. Standard maintenance is pretty low, and it gets me a good cardio workout before and after work, which is some of the times you need the most endorphins. My route too and from work is pretty flat, which makes for an enjoyable, unstressful ride. Plus, it’s southern California, so the weather is top notch.
But, this week I got a flat on my way into work. I was crunched for time and had limited options. Go back to the house? Out of the question. Be late? Call out? Out of the question. I was already halfway to work. Should I call a Lyft? Walk? Run? Nah. Lyft would take too long to get to me, I checked. Walking or running would leave me nice and sweaty. Being sweaty and smelly for an entire shift at work is not a good look.
Luckily living in Silicon Beach, there is always a new startup doing something unusual that challenges the conventional ways we have become accustomed too for convenient travel. Bird, a new app-based electric scooter company, had just infiltrated the Venice and Santa Monica area with a billion electric scooters littered around the neighborhoods. Essentially, any user can walk up to any of these parked scooters, open their app, unlock the scooter, pay to ride it and then leave it wherever when the user gets to their destination. Once the ride is ended with the app, the scooter locks back up. It’s wild. I open the app and found one close by up for grabs. As I approached a little girl ran right by me to claim the scooter; her dad trailed behind her. I got snaked! I was just a few feet away from my easy and inexpensive way to work, and I watched as someone else stole it from under me.
What was my move? Try to find another? The next closest scooter was seven blocks away; there was no way I was going to make it. Push her out of the way and take it? Harsh, but it just might work. I hung around for a minute to see if they were going to take it. They bumbled with the app trying to figure out how to unlock the scooter and get going. My only advantage was that I knew how to use the app.
I let them attempt a few times to get going and then couldn’t wait any longer. I was about to go with the push them out of the way option, but as I loaded the app, another user had just parked one on the same block. Since the daughter-dad combo couldn't figure out the app on this one, I saw them eyeing the other one, as if they were going to figure it out with the new scooter on the block. The little girl and I locked eyes; it was a showdown. The race was on! We both darted towards the new scooter, and I won.
“Sorry kid, I need to get to work!” I screamed as I scooted away into the sunset. Well, kinda. I mean technically the sun was out but not setting. And it was sweltering out. And I was on my way to work, not really a sunset situation.
I made it with a minute to spare.
On a good note, later that day I saw the daughter-dad combo scooting around Santa Monica, so all ended well.
Don't get in my way when I need to get to work.