January 19, 2009
Thanks to so many of you who have responded to my last post about driving being a choice - it's so relieving to hear that Don and I (and a small, select group of our friends here) are not the only ones who think driving all the time is sort of ridiculous. It's unsustainable.
While trying to figure out why some people automatically think we're socialists (we have often been accused of being socialists... by people who obviously need a lesson in world history), Don and I were wondering what makes the car-bound population so incredibly defensive when they make unsolicited retorts to our alternative choices. One of the conclusions we've reached is that some people may view driving as a right they have acquired through years of being poor and having to take the bus (which admittedly, can take a long time depending on where you live). It's like after years of feeling as though one had to compromise, driving is some sort of affirmation that somebody has made it and now has the power to go anywhere they want, in any weather, and faster that everybody else. Overcompensation much? And seriously, this is coming from a girl raised in a west end suburb. I have chosen a life of multiple modes of transportation. And like many of the lovely readers of this blog I don't do it because I'm ugly or poor. I do it because it is active, convenient and fun.
Sigh. Although a car is handy for certain kinds of trips, whether it's universally better or faster is really relative to so many other factors. All I ask is that people give it some thought before resorting to driving all the time. It seems irresponsible to just drive because... one failed to think about the alternatives. And it's unsettling that I keep getting offers of rides out of sympathy. I don't understand how I'm giving people the impression that I need their sympathy... and sadly, realize the offer of rides is just an automatic courtesy. This is what we've come to!
Additionally, people often tell me they HAVE to drive because of certain commitments they have. At my work a lot of people tell me they have to drive because they have kids. Um... okay? I'm not saying I don't get it. I'm just saying it's not necessarily healthy to equate procreating to driving a car. Pursuant to this, I see so many parents complaining about the time and energy it takes to do certain things when signing their kids up for stuff like competitive hockey and year round soccer. Man... driving all over the city (40ish minutes to an hour one way) 4-5 times a week really doesn't strike me as a good time. This sounds awful because I know their kids LOVE the hockey and soccer but... that's just a lifestyle with parameters I can't get on board with. And, this is coming from a 5 1/2 month pregnant girl. Don and I have made a pact about kid activities that result in driving all over the place. We're not doing it. No thanks.
Funny, when I say this to parents who do the whole driving all the time thing they say something like, "Oh, my husband does it" or "That's what you say NOW..." What I find most frustrating is how these people must not take what I'm saying very seriously, and feel as though I'm going to cave or something because I won't be able to help succumbing to the whims of my kid or won't be able to withhold this awesome life of 'opportunity' from the kid. Or ironically, they assume I haven't given it sufficient thought to make a realistic decision about it! Bollocks. I've thought about it plenty.
Also, even if your partner is doing all the driving, that doesn't make it suck any less.
What I want to teach my kid is that driving is unsustainable. It's not absolutely evil, it's just not the only alternative and that's quite alright. Riding a bike over to a friend's place is fun and independent and doesn't have to stop when one has a driver's license. Taking a bus with lots of different people who may or may not be 'poor' is no big deal.
Now... if I can just get my parents to stop giving me grief about my future plans of biking with a kid and taking a bus with a kid:)
In the meantime, this is me before carpooling to brunch and a movie today - my day off! No point to arrive to a movie in 3 separate cars when after a little planning, 1 car can just make 1 trip. Also, living in a super convenient part of town means I'm always easy to pick up and drop off if needed.
And here's a cute picture of Dougal, just because.