When I was almost-car-free in my 20s, I used to ask my completely-car-free-almost-boyfriend what he’d do when he had kids. No need for a car, he’d respond. What about soccer practice? Groceries? etc. I had all the excuses lined up. And he had all the responses, and they were usually, ‘I won’t need one to do that’ or ‘I’ll do that on my bike.’ (Which is one of the reasons that my adoration for him helped me bite the bullet myself.)
I did bite the bullet, as evidenced here, and it’s now been 15 years since I first went car-free. Things changed and things are done differently. Over the years I’ve adjusted my distance-o-meter, and I truly live local. It’s a necessity. I won’t even consider a class for myself, let alone my kids, unless it’s within about three miles of home. Playgrounds, grocery stores, meetups at bars — yep, it all pretty much revolves around me.
So perhaps it’s too soon into the life of this blog to say this: we recently received a car.
And I hate how it’s changed me.
B.C., the weather would dictate my movements, and some days we simply had to choose to stay home because of the rain or cold. Or we simply HAD to choose to go outside because of that gorgeous sun. But now, slowly, the car’s power creeps in. It’s raining, or cold, or I have a cold, or I could pick up one extra thing — if I took the car.
Who is this person? I hate driving — I really do, it completely stresses me out. And yet there it is, facing me down on a nearly daily basis.
Don’t get me wrong, the car still sits in front of our house sometimes for weeks at a time without movement, but what astonishes me is not that my radius has widened (it hasn’t, for the most part) but that I’m more willing to take those little short trips by car, for example when the weather’s bad. You know, the shorter-than-a-mile (or two, or five) ones that all those people who are trying to get you out of your car are always saying are the ones easiest to give up.
Food for thought (for me) on just how hard it is to get people to change their behavior.