I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a couple weeks now and especially after watching that video of how Japan trains its kids to be independent. As we all know, the sharing community is kind of what our present looks like. It’s something that has fascinated me for awhile because we are getting into cars with complete strangers when we Lyft or Uber and we are staying in the homes of strangers through Airbnb. Similarly, we’re opening up our homes to strangers to stay with us for a price. Everything is for a price and sure, we all know that there are crazy stories that we’ve heard about of these things going absolutely wrong, but yet we still do it because of convenience.
It’s funny to me because being in tech, I talk to my parents about this quite often and we talk about new start-ups that come up and how they’re supposedly making our lives easier because they are less expensive than hotels, and we don’t have to deal with parking in a busy city when we ride share. However, I’m reminded that a long time ago when I was a kid, these were all things that my parents told me I shouldn’t do.
(Mom and Dad – don’t get mad at me for this story)
A couple weekends ago, I was spending time with Dom at Dolores Park and had parked up a huge ass hill. I remembered as I was climbing up this hill in my black suede booties that it was so much easier coming down. I was sweating and out of breath already and I’d really only walked 1/3 of the way. It was a sunny Saturday so parking was scarce – a car drove up next to me on the sidewalk and asked me if I was parked nearby. I said, “Yes, but at the very top of the hill.”
The three guys in the car looked to be my age and they asked me if I wanted a ride up to my car and immediately I shouted back, “I can’t get in the car with you! You’re a stranger!” (yeah, like I was 8 years old or something) I paused for a second. “I’m an Uber driver!” – the car said to me. I shot back, “Anyone can say that!” But ultimately, I had to think about my situation – and yes, I know this was a risky one and my mom’s going to be so mad at me for this – but I got in the car because if I didn’t, that car was going to drive right next to me at the pace of a glacier as I struggled up this hill for the next 15 minutes. I didn’t want to go through that embarrassment, they didn’t want to go through that and the long wait of cars behind us definitely didn’t want to sit through that so it was fight or flight and obviously I’m here so the situation was fine. So yes, when I yelled to this car and was being stubborn, I was really being a hypocrite because every weekend, I get into a car with a stranger. All of us do.
It makes me wonder – what am I going to teach my own kids when I’m a parent? Are my kids going to be Ubering at age 10 when I can’t get them to somewhere? Is this going to be normal? How do we teach our kids that strangers are people we have to avoid and ignore, but strangers that we pay to get us from Point A to Point B are okay?