Limes are Green, Birds are Black

Published: 09/30/2019

My first impression of public scooters was surprise that some venture capitalists bought some garbage and sprinkled it around urban centers. I like to think of myself as an open minded forward looking person but my first impression of all change is disdain. It took me a bit to realize that I hated cars far more than scooters. I was just more used to them.

I've only actually used a scooter once when I was visiting Providence. It was about 3 miles from downtown to my airbnb. Instead of summoning a stranger in a metal box to come to me and then go to the airbnb I found a scooter and scooted. During the ride I was overcome with a sense of rightness. That this is the way it should have always been. No wide lanes for huge boxes that carry only one person. No huge fields of concrete to house them in. No struggling to find a place to leave your giant metal box when you don't need it. Looking out my window I'd estimate that more than half of the surface area of Columbus is devoted to the flow and rest of cars. Just on space I feel cars were a horrible move for us as a society. And then there's the sounds and the exhaust. And the way they feel on the inside on hot summers and cold winters.

But like I said I don't really use them. But I do charge them. I remember hearing an Uber driver on the radio talking about how in the early days he would make $40 an hour and now he was lucky to make $15. And that is why he was trying to organize and collectivize to demand higher wages. Maybe this is a morally wrong perspective on this but it made me wish I had been an uber driver in 2012. And now in 2019 I feel I have another chance to make $40 an hour doing labor literally anyone could do with no more equipment than a phone and some chargers.

The good news is a really do think you can make $40 an hour. The bad news is you can only do it from 9pm to 9:30 pm and 6am to 6:15am with Lime. Maybe you can do it throughout the day with Bird. But only if you don't count the time spent checking your phone to see if there are any nearby.

Some more good news is that its delightfully fun though. It's basically Pokemon Go but you get paid for it. You get to explore new places and hunt them down. You get paid more per unit time if you run and figure out ways to transport lots of them at once. I remember when I played Pokemon Go for about 10 minutes I thought the reward of having some pictures of Pokemon a little bit of a letdown. Maybe by now they've implemented some kind of battle. I don't know I haven't played since 2016. But getting real money for your city exploration is pretty nice. It almost makes me feel like I'm doing useful and valuable work. And maybe I am. Sometimes I see people apparenly using them to get around.

Update: At this point I've actually spent a lot of time scooting. But now that I've got a new bike that I like quite a bit I'm going to go back to never scooting. Also I decided that the optimal times of day for scoot charging are too valuable to me to spend scoot wrangling. So I guess now everything in this blog post is the opposite of true. Should have published it sooner I guess.