One of the pitfalls of hitching rides is that your driving friends may have some errands to run on the way to or from your destination. It’s like booking a seat on the airport shuttle and being forced to ride in the van for at least an hour longer to get to the airport while you pick up six more people at locations along the way.
Last week’s birthday party carpool trip included a grocery stop at a local food market that I really like, but it’s well outside of bicycling range. I know I was pretty condescending about the entire concept of running errands in my last post, but if the side trips work in my favor, I am willing to admit I might be a hypocrite. Before the market, we stopped at another distant but beloved destination: AC Moore. Art supply shopping is a temptation that is hard for me to resist.
I figured since we were driving around anyway (and this is the slippery slope of errand running isn’t it?) that we should pick-up dinner at the best dumpling joint in the Hudson Valley.
In the end, I spent at least ninety minutes in my neighbor’s car. It was weird. It reminded my of the surreal experience I had of trekking for several days in Thailand without a mirror. When you see your reflection again upon returning to civilization, it’s disorienting. I had not been a passenger in a car since soccer season ended in October. Sitting at stop lights waiting, just waiting. I tried to be zen about it, but I was restless. I did not like the feeling of time passing uselessly.
The saving grace of the trip; the thing that made it fun and ultimately not a waste of my time, was that I had company. My kid had a best friend in the backseat. I had a pleasant, chatty companion in the front, chauffeuring me along Route 9 in rush hour traffic. When I go shopping again, beyond pedal distance from my house, I am definitely doing it “play date” style.
Nothing beats co-shopping with a neighbor while your kids occupy themselves pretending to be spies in a grocery store. Even if you have a car, I highly recommend it.