Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Lifestyle to Which I've Become Accustomed

I don't have a car, I don't particularly want a car, and I'm getting along fine without one. But people I meet on the street or people I go to church with don't know this--they see me strapping on my helmet and assume that I'm doing it for the environment. Or because of the high cost of gas. More than once in the past couple weeks I've had folks come up to me and say "I see you're riding your bike!" with a metaphorical pat on the back. Meaning "Thanks for saving the planet!" *pat pat* or "Gas sure is getting expensive!" *pat pat* And I almost hate to shatter the illusion by saying "Well, actually, I don't have a car." But I do. This almost always silences the person. A few blinks, perhaps, but the concept of nocar ownership is so foreign to most Americans that they can't comprehend it.

Sorry, the image you've got of the eco-warrior is the complete wrong picture. What you're actually looking at is a young adult struggling with student loans and a high cost of living. Same picture, different social problem.

Inadvertently, however, I've become one of those bitchy bikers who shouts things like "nice use of the turn signal, jerk!" as I'm cycling through a yellow-tending-to-red-light. I'm actually getting a little vain of my gluteus maximus, even though my sculpted posterior is an unexpected benefit of my person-powered transportation. The truth is, if I could, I'd have a car. Sure. Who wouldn't? But I can't afford it, so I don't have one, and instead--you know how they say that smiling puts you in a better mood, even if you're not? Well, biking has definitely turned me into a more enviromentally conscious person, even if it's just enjoying the smell of the pines on a hot day.

3 comments:

Laura said...

I wouldn't have a car if I could but that's because I hate driving and when I get back to the USA after having not been allowed to drive for two years I bet I'll miss it even less. And so I made a pact with myself I wouldn't get a car until I can get one that doesn't run on gasoline.

Although I've been writing to businesses I once frequented in the various places I've lived in my life asking for support for a project and I'm surprised how many places have gone out of business. I was talking to my mom about it and she said Well, times are tough here, Laura. Gas is $4 a gallon.
And I realized I had no concept of that because I've never really had to buy gas regularly.

Of course I'm reading about how the high cost of gas effects the cost of every other piece of merchandise in the world...

Nicki said...

Yeah, that's the way it affects me most: food prices are scary-high. I've stopped eating apples because they're more than $2 a pound here.

Samantha said...

No kidding! Sucks most food out in Hawaii has to be shipped. Not only are gas prices over $5 dollars on some parts of the island but all food has jumped ridiculously. I'd consider growing some of my own, but most land has been sold over to evil development building shopping malls for people who can't afford the frivolous purchases and condos for the vacation homes of those who can no longer to take a casual jaunt to the islands...