Driving

Posted by – May 26, 2012

At age 43, I have been officially licensed by the state of Wisconsin to drive a car.

Everyone is full of happiness and congratulations for me, promising me new freedoms and – new freedoms. That I can’t even imagine how much life has changed. Etc.

I suspect that will all be true once I get used to the idea; maybe no one will ever see me again as I drive my way around the world.

But what I do know is that I have now increased my carbon footprint – which I’d already done once simply by moving to the midwest from NYC, and which I offset by becoming an ‘eat lower on the food chain atarian‘ (which means vegetarian, except on holidays or other rare occasions when I feel like eating meat) – and now I have to come up with some other way to decrease my very American impact on the environment. If you have any ideas, let me know. We already keep a largely non-toxic home, use very little electricity, and walk to work.

Being a non-driver did allow me to meet & get to know some people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to know; some of you, at least, have heard the story of the lovely ride I took with two musician friends out to a gig on a cold Wisconsin night, through some beautiful, serene farmland, which gave me the idea, at least, that I might find a way to fit in socially here, at long last. The idea didn’t become much of a reality, but still, it was a cold drive that warmed my heart some, and will probably remain one of my best memories of my time in Wisconsin.

Being a driver makes me feel a little less a NYer, and a lot more of an American; a little less individual, and a lot more like everyone else, which is not, exactly, the most comfortable place in the world for me.

Still, it means I can drive myself to physical therapy, which will mean in turn, I hope, that I will be able to get back on my bicycle.

And you know, get my dry cleaning done without having to bug my already too busy spouse.

Change is good, they say. Change is, rather. And this is a big one.

 

3 Comments on Driving

  1. jadecath says:

    I completely get your ambivalence, and I wish my beloved Midwest gave people a chance to live car-free.

  2. helenboyd says:

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/wha.....footprint/ and

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/wha.....ur-carbon/

    Car pool when you do drive.

    Don’t fly – ever. Take the train to New York. Or the bus. Kayak to Paris (just kidding – sail instead!)

    Eat local food. Preserve local food from the farmers’ markets. Be a vegetarian.

    Use LEDs insead of incandescent light bulbs.

  3. divadarya says:

    As a Left-coaster, the idea of not driving is slightly alien unless you live in a wonderful anarcho/socialist/pragmatist city like San Francisco. Los Angeles needed to create incredibly strict and progressive regulations early in our history or we were going to suffocate. California still has the three most polluted cities in America, and that comes from building a city around the use of the automobile. We have a great new Metro and light rail interface but it’s a mere dot on the massive gasoline-powered blight of our freeway system. We have four cars in our household and we need every one of them, sadly. I’d take an L.A. version of the SF Muni in a hot second if I could.

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