Last night a close friend of ours was celebrating his birthday. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, except for that this group of friends contains several families with very young kids, and the birthday boy really wanted an adults-only party, so there were many logistics involved.
We managed to rustle up a sitter even though we are out of practice (Angela's mom, our wonderful usual stand-in for such things, was out of town for work...The Horror...). We thought we had it all sealed up, but then the day before the event Angela found out that this particular sitter usually gets a ride home when our neighbors hire her. Hmmm. We feared the whole plan was in the toilet since we couldn't really trolley her home on one of our handlebars, and the bus from our neighborhood to her neighborhood doesn't run very often after rush. But it all turned out OK, because she is also a biker, and we were getting home early enough that she still felt comfortable riding home. Whew. I had never thought to worry about that one before, but now we know to make sure our sitters have their own transport...in whatever form. (Also, to be clear, we did convincingly offer to have one of us bike with her for safety, but she declined --also convincingly.)
The party itself was delightful in a way particular to parents who rarely get out in a group of grown-ups. You could sense the combination of slight confusion and excitement as we all bowled and ate delicious chocolate, at the lovely Sacco's Bowl Haven in Davis Square, without having to interrupt our games to shout "No! Don't run down the alley!" or "No! Don't drop the ball on your friend's head!"
As Angela and I walked home, I realized that, in a way, this lovely event was an unforeseen perk of our decision to live car-free. These are friends through our synagogue (OK, actually our chavurah, but think very small synagogue full of hippies with no rabbi and you'll get it), that we never would have joined had we not made the hard decision to leave our beloved old (suburban) synagogue in order to form a sustainable car-free life. Many members of our new(-ish) community walk to services on Shabbat, which means that we now have a wonderful crop of friends who live walking distance from us, by virtue of living walking distance from shul. For me, having such a lovely party right in our own neighborhood, with friends who live right in our own neighborhood made the evening even better.
(Also, anyone familiar with such things should pause for a moment to appreciate the deep irony that before we joined this congregation, the only day of the week that we ever drove was on Shabbat.)