There's something to be said about Americans and their relationships with their cars. Months ago, I decided that upon entering grad school, I would go car-free. If I am going to be studying sustainability, I should walk the walk by trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I thought. However, today I discovered that I am no different from millions of other Americans who get behind the wheels of their cars and drive every day. I was attached to my car.
It was not the most efficient car on the road.....it was not the most attractive.....it was not the most well built, nor the fastest (although at times it seemed like it)....but it was my car. To me, like nearly everyone else, it meant freedom. Freedom to go to the store at any time of day or night, freedom to visit friends and family hours away, freedom to get somewhere quickly, and on my own terms.
And here's the kicker: I think this freedom manifests itself as power. Having this freedom, and flaunting it, is powerful. However, I think we in the US are seeing this power run amok....for instance, don't the giant, gas-guzzling SUVs just scream, "I have more power than you, and I intend to show you"?
I gave up my car today, and it was hard. It's like a family member that you have to take care of; you pay for it to live, you take it to checkups, you feed it, you get upset when it gets hurt. And you name it. Well, I did anyway.
This next phase of my life will be an experiment in a new type of freedom....freedom from automobile cash drain. As much as I enjoyed having a car, I want to see how effectively I can live without it, and how much money I can save. Will I experience power in my liberation from the car?
Until I find that out, I need to say goodbye to my old friend....farewell, Petey!