Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Dread Voiture

Something wonderful and maybe terrible happened: we were given a car. We had lived so long car-free: me, my whole life, and for my husband it had been at least 15 years. Now we have one and our beautiful life of daily walking and knowing our neighbors and daily shopping for the freshest foods is perhaps threatened. Will we become the kind of people who drive 10 blocks to the park on a rainy day? Or will we continue to splash our way east the 15 minutes it takes to walk, all soggy hair and drippy boots and loving the way it feels to live in the weather? Will we rush to school in the car or will we remember to make time, leave early, and walk that mile first thing in the morning, maybe stopping for coffee in a paper cup, maybe riding on the back of the stroller--scooter style-- for the last two blocks before the mad rush to another day at school? Will we still shop at the farmer's market twice a week, carrying only what fits in our canvas bags and what stacks on the seat of the scooter-stroller?

I don't know. One thing I do know is that we have grown accustomed to every day being like that special market day many people in less walkable cities and towns only dream of. We don't shop for sport, and if we did we would be very lucky: we live in a place where our options extend beyond chain groceries and big box stores. We have shade trees and good buses and wide bike lanes. There are independent books stores, non-chain coffee shops and organic options as far as the eye can see. We have hills and a beach and, across the bridge, all the culture we could ask for, for the price of bus fare.

Without trying we live many of our dreams daily. I don't want to give that up for the convenience of getting there faster and in our own little metal world.

But one thing that the car does provide that we didn't have before is the ability to cull our stuff ruthlessly. We no longer have to wait for one of those monthly charity donation trucks to come by and take away the stuff we thoughtlessly let into our homes and our life. Now we can pack it all up and drive it to the nearest Goodwill. So today, between fundraising, craft-selling, and margarita-drinking, we began a huge purging project. The goal is to box up and donate 100 things this month. I'm calling it 100 Things in May and I'm excited to see the final outcome. Updates and photos tomorrow!


  1. I am with you on the 100 Things in May project!

    I understand not having a car, but from a different angle. I didn't get my driver's license till I was 30!

  2. What a great post! I love the 100 Things in May and looking forward to the updates!

  3. Catherine- thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope to have a lot of inspiring minimizing done by the end of the month.

    Luxebytes-- Me too! I'm 38 and I've never even had a license. I grew up kicking around a city as soon as I could get around and I've lived in cities and on public transport lines ever since.


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