Random Thoughts

10 04 2008

In My Mug: Yogi Tea Active Body

Tea Quote: “Joy is the essence of success.”

For some reason this quote reminded me of my car. My car is not joyful, nor does it give me joy, but the car ad people say it should. Have you ever REALLY watched the car commercials? Not just watched, but paid attention? All the car ads are basically the same: “Buy this car, it’s a lot of fun, and you will be fun and the subject of great envy if you own this car!” But are cars really that much fun? 

Have you ever heard of Road rage? Now, how about pedestrian rage? Bike rage? Skateboard rage? Rollerblade rage? Jogger rage?  If you have, it was probably because some jerk in a car tried to run one of them over; I would consider that Justifiable rage. But seriously. Road rage is just so common anymore. This week in Omaha, a man rear ended an off duty cop in an act of road rage, and was arrested! The story is here.

People, this is ridiculous. Perhaps if we all slowed down, and enjoy the very act of getting from point A to point B, we would not feel so stressed out. I mean, I get it. We get stressed because we spend so much time cooped up in little boxes on wheels, going places. We don’t enjoy going places, or being cooped up in little boxes (how many of you JUST LOVE your cubicle?). So we go out and spend a lot of money on our boxes on wheels, getting the shiniest, fastest, loudest, leatheriest, most window-est car we can afford. What’s the point of a fast car? How many of us will EVER get to push our car to its full potential? How many of us are stuck in the monotony that is the suburbs? Or stuck in the city, where traffic is stop and go all day? And what about all the windows, no not windshields, I’m talking sun roofs, moon roofs, mid roofs? Could it be so we don’t feel so cooped up in our cars that we just had to have?

How about, instead of shiny, new and expensive, we buy beaters that we hate driving, and get a bike to run our quick errands? I hate my car, it doesn’t give me joy. It never really did, to be honest. It has baby puke stains in the back, dog hair embedded in the upholstery, dog vomit in the hard to reach cracks up front (both my dog and my kid got carsick, often). It is ugly, loud, and smelly on the inside and out. It is a perfect example of what we should all aspire to own. Because I will tell you what, my bike gives me a lot of pleasure, my bikes does give me the joy that the car ads say I should be getting from a car. I enjoy running my errands! Even on the yucky days when it is blowing rain and snow so hard I almost tip over, I arrive at my destination feeling alive, invigorated, full of life. I could never say that about my car.

I sure do wish our wonderful city (Omaha) was more bike friendly. But it won’t be more bike friendly until more people like me get brave, get out in the streets and make sure they are seen. Cycling is a minority here, and it will be as long as people are afraid of getting out of their cars and out into the world. Your car will never give you the same kind of joy you can get from biking. It won’t give you the kind of joy you can get from getting to your destination by your own muscle power. I will take “Jami power” any day over “horse power”!!

My boyfriend agreed to let me go carless for the summer. He thinks I am buying a new car in the fall. We’ll see. If I do, I promise it will be as nice as my current car is. ;0) Because if I buy into the hype that a car is FUN, and go spend $200, $300, $400 bucks a month on car payments, then I will feel obliged to drive it, so I “get my money’s worth out of it.” I would rather buy a $500 beater that I am happy to leave sitting in the garage for weeks at a time, only to be used in case of extreme urgency; like if a dog needs to go to the emergency vet, or, umm, if I need to bail out said boyfriend (I hope not!). But sometimes, there are emergencies. I still think a taxi now and then would be a hell of a lot cheaper than the cost of a car (cost, maintenance, insurance). Heck, one month of car insurance is equal to several cab rides alone!

Lastly, I was approached today by a lady that works in my building, but not in my office. She asked if I was the girl who rides her bike to work everyday. (I guess I am getting noticed, Hooray!) Anyhow, she said that she has gotten her bike out, and is trying to ride in to work a couple of days a week. It looks like the flow of inspiration that I am going for has finally started. It may only be a trickle now, but I am okay with that. The weather this time of year is fickle, and for someone not as used to commuting as even I am (and I’ve only been doing it for a month), bad weather would be very off-putting. I am just glad that I am slowly increasing awareness. This is good.

This is all good. I am glad I got that off my chest.

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