As a child, I can remember asking my parents to give me a ride here, or give me a ride there.
The top destination was a small corner store a couple of miles from the family homestead. We lived out in the sticks on a couple of acres and there were huge gardens to tend to and numerous fruit trees to care for, so ma and pa would always say they were too busy.
Even when they weren’t busy they still would not give us a ride.
“Why when I was your age I used to walk 15 miles just to snatch an apple from a tree and then 17 miles back home again. We didn’t have corner stores when I was a kid, or a car. In fact, the wheel had not even been invented yet so we had to walk - everywhere.”
At that point we gave up and walked to the store, grumbling all the way about how when I am a grown up and have kids ‘I am going to give them a ride whenever they want one. I’m not going to make my poor children trudge along the side of the road like I have to. Maybe I will get grabbed by a grizzly bear or a Sasquatch - that would teach them. They sure would have wished they had given me a ride then.’
Of course, there was no grizzly or mysterious mountain ape waiting to ambush us as we went to get a pop and a bag of chips.
Now, many years later, I am the father of children and do I jump up and give them a ride to wherever they want to go?
“Why when I was your age I had to walk 15 miles to the corner store and then 17 miles back, and I liked it. It was good exercise and we never complained and we spent all of our spare time reading our bibles and helping thy neighbour. We also never got in to trouble and were very respectful to authority figures.”
The kids would grumble and complain, but they would manage to walk the 10 blocks to the store and return again.
If the distance was too far, I would give them a ride (as my parents did for me) but for those short trips, you’re on your own kid.
My wife on the other hand does thing a little differently. She will give them a ride pretty much every single time.
“Oh, what’s that son? You need to get the newspaper at the end of the driveway? Hang on a second, I’ll give you a ride.”
Her mom is the same way, if not even worse.
“Oh you need to go somewhere? Why don’t you wait here and I will drive the van up to the front steps so you don’t have to walk as far to get into the vehicle.”
With service like that, you can see why it did not take long before I was the last person they asked for a ride.
Instead of burning more fossil fuels, I would refer them to the nice mountainbike they have sitting in the garage, the public transit system or even the good, old-fashioned Shoe Leather Express. All three of those systems took me a long way in my youth (grumbling all the way, mind you) and all three have the same ability to transport the people of today.
“But I don’t want to walk, my bike is all the way in garage and the city bus takes too long.”
“Hmmm, you present an interesting case child, one I will have to think about. Having mulled it over, the only answer I can come up with is boo-hoo to you too.”
I may be breaking a vow I made when I was a child, but back then I also swore allegiance to the Secret Fraternity of Booger Flickers so you can’t hold me to everything.