We went on a long urban walk as a family yesterday. Or at least, we tried to. Our plan was to walk seven miles through the city in a big loop. We’re training our kids to walk distances in preparation for our trip this summer – we’re spending a month traveling through Tokyo, Kyoto, Paris, and Barcelona. And we’re not doing it by taxi.
It was hot yesterday. My kids were all hopped up on Easter candy, but we just assumed it would give them some spastic energy for the walk. We had some issues leaving the house. First, my son Bear assured us that he was putting on sunscreen, and we watched as he squeezed part of a bottle of sunscreen into the palm of his hand, but as we were closing the front door, I felt his face – just to make sure – and he confessed that he had just wiped all the sunscreen off on his shirt to get rid of it. So, take two. Then my daughter forgot her lip balm. Total emergency. Take three. “Is everyone sure they did everything they need to do?” I asked. “Sunscreen, water, bathroom, running shoes, snacks… Everything?” My kids insisted that yes, they were fine now, so we closed the door for the final time and set out.
We walked happily for about half a mile. I told the kids stories about the big tree that was in the backyard of the house where I grew up, and how we made a rope swing with a tire and used to swing down from the garage roof. They were amazed that no one ever got hurt, and that made me think of The Land and wish for the hundredth time that we could go there. Then Bear needed a drink of water, and Josh passed him the water bottle and Bear gulped a bunch down…and got a stitch in his side.
Things went downhill from there. Bear started lagging, then complaining. He was hot, he was hungry, he was tired. His feet hurt, he had a stitch in his side, and why didn’t we care? Why didn’t we care? Whhhyyyyy?
Somehow, this devolved into a fight. Bear and I have similar personalities, and we have these blow-out fights. So we were walking through the gritty streets of downtown Oakland, yelling at each other as we passed a very wide assortment of people, situations, and events. We passed people dressed to the nines in Easter finery (we saw one woman in a pink feathered hat, but we couldn’t stop our fight to properly admire her). We passed a cool-looking event where they were blasting “We Are Family” from the PA system in a park. We passed the police surrounding a homeless couple who were in a domestic disturbance. We passed a huge 420 event celebrating the opening of a new medical marijuana dispensary.
Meanwhile, Josh and Bird (my daughter) were walking way ahead of us. They told us later that our fights were just so predictable that they got bored and were just waiting for the inevitable crescendo and conclusion, the part where we were both just done yelling and went back to being very happy with each other. That happened soon enough, and then the four of us were just walking again, which was fun.
But then I looked down and saw that Bird was wearing her Converse low-tops, paired with a thin pair of Easter bunny socks. For a seven-mile walk. I knew what was coming.
Yep. When we reached the halfway mark of our walk, Bird broke down. Her feet hurt. She forgot to change into her running shoes. She was so sorry, but she couldn’t make it home.
Josh and I had a moment where we wondered if we should just forge ahead. After all, Bird had insisted that she had everything she needed for the walk when we set out. It would be a lesson…but we decided that it would be too harsh of a lesson. After all, this was a practice walk.
But we were three and a half miles away from our house. On Easter Sunday. It wasn’t like we could just snap our fingers and get home again. BART trains and buses were on a holiday schedule, friends and family were busy with Easter activities, and our cars were parked in the driveway at home.
Lyft to the rescue! I pulled up the app on my phone, and in four minutes, a Lyft driver magically pulled up in front of us. His name was Remi, and he was from Nigeria. His car was stocked with waters (which we gratefully accepted) and candy (which we politely declined). On the way home, we had a fantastic conversation about Nigerian rap artists. Total cost (including tip): $13. Money well spent. Day saved. Lessons learned.
Lyft, I love you.
Try it. You can get your first ride (up to $25) for free by using a friend’s referral code.
- Here is my code if you’d like to use it.
- Here are some tips for maximizing your credit.
- And here is the story of my first Lyft ride.