When life gives you lemons, Lime

Exploring the Grounds-wide obsession with Lime scooters

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Katherine Firsching is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

It was a beautiful Wednesday afternoon when I saw it — a lit-up cop car plowing down McCormick Road and heading towards the Chapel. I was almost late to class, but just like everyone else rubbernecking down the sidewalk, I lingered in hopes of witnessing the action unfold.

Cars pulled over left and right, but the cop kept on his mission. Who was he after? As the last vehicle cleared the road, his potential targets became clear — an athlete on his moped, or a girl on her Lime scooter. Now this was interesting.

“Who will it be?” an equally as fascinated stranger whispered next to me.

“My bet’s on the moped,” responded another.

It took a while for both the boy and the girl to realize the cop was after them. Slowing to a stop in the bike lane, neither tried to wipe looks of fear and confusion off their faces. Contrary to popular predictions, the cop sent the moped on its way and began having a seemingly stern conversation with the Limer.

“You owe me five bucks!” I heard a guy say to his friend as I quickly scurried to lecture, frustrated to leave at the story’s climax.

Just a few days later, I heard the tale of a cop off-roading down Engineer’s Way to tell a Limer he had to stay on the main road. Then a story about a group of students near the Chemistry building protesting automatic scooters and bikes. Then one about an epic fight for the same available Lime.

To say the least, Limes are in the limelight at the University in 2019. Whereas I once could navigate the sidewalks and roads of Grounds care-free, I feel like everywhere I go, I’m startled by an automatic scooter waiting for its next passenger.

Though Limes are surely controversial additions to the arena of public transportation, their popularity is only growing with each ride. They’ve become the brand name students use as the generic term for automatic scooters, just as we say Google in reference to search engines and Uber in reference to ride-sharing services.

Lime culture is strong, and you never quite know what to expect when you see one in passing. There’s the classic student Limer riding to class as a time-saver — backpack on, mentally laughing as buses lag behind. There’s the first-time Limer, anxiously inching forward at awkward intervals, just trying not to crash. 

There’s the tycoon Limer returning home with the scooter to make big bucks as a charger. The just-for-fun Limer whipping around the block taking Snapchat stories of the exciting excursion and the transportation-efficient Limer on the way back from Cohn’s with a six-pack underfoot are also prominent figures of Lime culture. Be wary of the drunk Limer on 14th Street after dark, laughing with friends before getting stitches in the hospital later that evening.

Though Lime scooters have only been here for a short while, it’s hard to imagine a pre-Lime time at the University, just as a life without Duo Mobile is a hazy, yet beautiful memory. To say the least, the scooters are the “it thing” of the moment, but I’ve been here long enough to see the eb and flow of many a Grounds-wide obsession — shoutout to “Closer,” the clowns, Pokemon Go and Cafe Caturra.

There’s a chance legislation may one day take Lime scooters away from us, and while that could be in the best interest of public safety, a certain element of excitement and adventure we’re now used to would disappear from Grounds. Limes have the strange ability to brighten one’s day by appearing in a time of exhaustion, boredom or necessity. 

No matter which way life’s going, a Lime scooter can always whisk you away to your preferred direction, and that’s why students continue to ride them — despite the chance an angry cop could be on your tail. When you need it most, look for the neon green, and a scooter will be there waiting for you. When life gives you lemons, just Lime.

Katherine Firsching is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com.

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