Anyone that knows me knows that I am essentially a 70-year-old man trapped in the body of a 28-year-old.
I typically don’t like new fads or trends ( I know, so hip) so naturally, my geriatric rage started to surface when the dark day happened: the day Bird scooters made their way to our beloved city. And it wasn’t too bad at first. A scooter here and there sprinkled around random street corners or the lone person scooting in awkward defiance of public transportation norms. But then, over what seemed like a night, they were everywhere. Herds of scooters cluttering almost every street corner, gangs of scooters terrorizing the streets. Chaos had begun to reign.
The city was on the brink.
But then came the regulations. Finally, we had some clarity on how to manage and live with our new mechanical nuisances. We learned that they must be ridden on streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, bike lanes or shared-use paths, they can’t be parked in a way that blocks foot or vehicle traffic, and you can’t share your scooter with anyone else. We had law and order at last.
So that brings me to the other day. I was walking home from work when I just didn’t feel like walking anymore. Like, I’d rather put wax strips on my legs then walk another few blocks. That’s when I looked up and saw it: a lone Bird scooter. Taunting me from the street corner. I contemplated all the times I scoffed at the people scooting by. I thought of how ridiculous I would look, a grown man, casually scooting down the street. And then I thought about the mile I still had to walk and the heat, and then my desperation got the best of me.
Defeated, I pulled out my phone and downloaded the Bird app.
It took a minute to get everything set up. For those of you that haven’t tried one yet, after you download the app, you will need to enter your credit or debit card information because, unlike the best things in life, scooters aren’t free. They are pretty cheap though, just $1 to start and then 15 cents a minute after that. After your payment info is entered, you will then scan the QR code on the scooter which will prompt you to scan your driver’s license. After you’ve done that, you can scan the QR code again, which will tell you how much battery charge is left on the scooter. If you like the scooter that you scanned, just tap unlock on your screen and then you are good to go. Once your scooter is unlocked, all it takes is three kicks and then your little butt is scootin’.
I immediately took back everything I ever said or felt about scooters.
I don’t know if it was the speed of the scooter or the fact that I had I’m Like A Bird, by Nelly Furtado blaring in my headphones, but I felt like I was flying. Riding through German Village means riding on brick streets, which really just means a really cheap foot massage. The wind was blowing through my hair, the breeze on my face. I still couldn’t get the ridiculous image of how I thought I looked out of my head, but let me tell y’all what. I felt free.
I made my way around Schiller Park and I couldn’t figure out why everyone was smiling at me, I mean, I was feeling myself that day but, I typically don’t have a lot of people smiling at me on a daily basis, and then I realized something. They were smiling at me because I was smiling. I was actually having a fun time. I stood a little straighter, embraced my new found bliss, and smashed my thumb down on the throttle. As I scooted off home into the sunset, I thought to myself that I should have done this sooner.
I actually liked scooting.
I’m not saying that I had a religious experience, but take this as a lesson folks, don’t be like me. Don’t judge something because it’s new and it might seem annoying. Don’t stand on your porch yelling at kids to get off your lawn. Let yourself and others have fun. Life is too short to be serious all the time. Get out and live your best life. I know it sounds corny, but seriously: live, laugh, love, y’all. And until the next new fad in obscure public transportation makes its way to Columbus, you can catch me scooting the mean streets of Merion Village.