Thursday, August 12, 2010

So, I drove the car again on Sunday, on a planned trip out of town for the day in lieu of getting a rental car. My 2 year old especially was really excited to go in the car, but by the end of the 45 minute trip was bored and crying. She is not used to it after having the summer off of driving.

Sunday at midnight my car insurance was removed from the vehicle (I had called a week or so in advance to have it removed following this trip).


Without the option of driving, I found myself aware of all the things I like to do with the car, and feeling really not so sure about this decision. It is only off for 45 days, until near the end of September, to give me a taste of life in school without the car. But I thought about how I am addicted to veggie burgers from Costco, and I don't even know how to get to Costco on the bus but it is probably hard *whine whine*. It is also right near my school so maybe it's not so hard after all. I also need some new clothes but I am too lazy to take the bus to Value Village. At least, that is my first response. As soon as I type that even I think well it's only two busses, they come frequently, what's the big deal. I want to go visit my Mom and renting a car is more expensive than I realized in the summer. I am going to look into the Greyhound though, and a friend told me I can get 50% off tickets with my student card.

It just freaked me out to suddenly not have the car. I have had it for my entire adult life. I'm skeered. But I am also thinking, this is my chance, man. To break out of the box, to live a little. I don't have a job that requires me to have a vehicle, I don't have a huge commute. I live in one of the best areas of the city to be carfree. I can think of reasons why to not do it, I have kids, I have to run around to places, groceries etc. But I was reading a book about living simply, and the author talked about how we justify all these reasons that *we* are the exception, *we* need this or that while everyone else can make do without. Fact is car culture is not sustainable. I know this. And knowing it, I just feel... kind of dirty or something... relying on it as much as I have in the past. Like, if I go somewhere without the vehicle, I truly feel that I am there. If I drive, I feel like I cheated a little bit, if that makes sense. This is particularly the case with outdoor places, but it is a little bit true anywhere.

Last night I had to take M, my 6 year old, back to urgent care. The situation was not as urgent, but the antibiotics didn't fix her all the way up to feeling well, and I wanted to get her back in before she got sick again. This time I looked up the bus routes, and what do you know, the bus that stops outside my house goes straight to urgent care. En route I even composed a blog post in my mind about how great that is. Except we got down there, and urgent care was closed. How urgent is urgent care if they close at 6pm I ask? But all the same, we ended up walking to a payphone and calling a cab to go to the children's emerg. Ahhhhh!!! Foiled. But we got there, and now I know how to get to urgent care easily, if I have an 'urgent' problem before 6pm.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting, your point about how you feel more present when you don't drive. I know exactly what you mean. The purpose and presence of mind kind of shuts off when you're in a car (probably shouldn't, but it does) and you feel like it's a means to an end, not an experience all it's own. And if we're going to tax ourselves and the environment and our politics and take the hit involved with owning/gassing/driving an automobile, we should probably be *more* present than we are when we use more responsible means of transportation. It should be a special experience, like it was for Z. Doesn't really work out that way though, huh?

    I also think the alive feeling you're talking about has the opposite effect when you hit a dead end, like Urgent Care after 6pm. When Brendan was walking everywhere when we first got together, I noticed he had to consciously seek out ways to turn those frowns upside down. Like, "the bank was closed but there was a 7-11 across the street so I got a Slurpee the size of my face." Gotta constantly seek out the proverbial Slurpee.

    Yesterday I had a long convo with J's teacher who has decided to go car-free. I suggested she try your insurance cancel trick for a month to get a feel for it and install that presence of law to prevent herself from cheating. She thought that was super smart. :)

    Cool post, Ali. Gets me thinking about our own circumstance, for sure.