Monday, March 21, 2011

Not Having A Car

I don't drive, as I mentioned before. Patrick does, and he owns a lovely little Saturn with 180,000 miles on it. When we do errands together, we take the car. When I do errands by myself, I walk or take a bus.

I did that today. I ended walking through the skyway system hauling a bag of groceries and a bag full of a manuscript I'd had copied. Most of the time, it's poor people who haul bags around, since they don't have cars. Granted, downtown workers can have bags to carry on the way to their cars, shopping from Macy's, work they are taking home... Still, I felt dorky and poor carrying so much.

In this society, not driving means you are poor, in some way disabled or odd. When I was young, I was less aware of this, since there are a fair number of young people who bike or take the bus. But now -- at my age -- I am aware that I look poor or disabled or odd.

2 Comments:

Blogger hhw said...

I just read a post on science blogs about the support gained from seeing choices/circumstances like not having a car, not using a clothes dryer, generally using significantly less fuel and electricity than we're expected to consume, as part of a larger story, a narrative of choice with a purpose beyond our own decisions. I have found this sort of thinking useful to counter my own tendency to daydream about owning a car again. When I remind myself how much money I'm not spending and how much waste is embedded in the one car/one person model, I am happy (and, OK, a little smug) about my carfree life and a little sorry for all the drivers in their cars. Some of whom are no doubt feeling sorry for me, without one.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Not driving can also mean you are a Manhattanite...either physically or spiritually. That is to say, a person who is comfortable swimming in the seal of humanity and can do so without feeling threatened.

11:52 AM  

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