Monday, February 11, 2008

Cars seem so ... passe'

Now that we haven't been driving for nearly a year, cars just seem so passe'. Mary was reading an article online today about a recall of 225,000 Ford SUV's and couldn't help but think, "People still drive those things? What a waste of money, time, fuel ...".

Obviously, places like California have a long way to go when it comes to public transportation. But why doesn't the California citizenry complain about it and demand some action on the part of state government officials? And why do we stand for this idea that somehow public transportation has to make money or it's not viable? It's a SERVICE, not a cash generator!

When we lived in California, we agonized over the fact that we couldn't take a fast train up and down the coast. Amtrak isn't fast, let's face it--it barely operates at all. The Bay Area is trying, with BART and some light rail service. It's a start, but where's the beef? Not sure what the status is these days of mass transit in LA but will bet it's a shambles.

We got by for quite awhile with only 1 car while we lived in San Luis Obispo, but that's because Jeff was able to bike to work and Mary worked mostly from home (with thrice weekly trips to Cal Poly to teach classes).

That's not saying mass transit is perfect here in NYC. It ain't. But it's a helluva lot better here than in California.

Those of you who love your cars have probably never experienced the freedom of not needing one: no gas to buy, no insurance to buy, no worries about maintenance costs or being stuck somewhere without wheels. So far, we have not been hindered in the least by not having a car. We just do things a little differently and we have items delivered more often. Plus, we can always rent a car if we want to take a drive somewhere.

Unless and until we are willing to give up our cars, we will forever be shackled to those countries that sell us oil, and our economy will suffer--as will the planet. Think about how you might live with one fewer car in your garage or parked on your driveway. Could you do it? Would be willing to?

(It's amazing what a difference a few days can make in temperature. Last Wed. it was around 60 degrees, even at dinnertime. Today, it was in the teens.)

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