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Friday, 21 January 2011

Self-righteousness kicks in, with a vengeance

Today was the first day of our living without a car experiment.  We've decided to take advantage of our ability to walk lots of places and bus to lots more, thereby enhancing our green living, which had led us to buy this particular (green) condo.  We're not going to use our car for 6 months and see if it makes any difference to our quality of life.

We didn't need to buy anything today, which in the wintertime could be difficult for us, as there isn't a full grocery store nearby, only 7/11-type shops.  However, not needing to buy anything didn't keep me from going out to the Byward Market.  I have always loved the Byward Market for its colour and character, and I was glad about the specialty stores there as I was looking for a particular kind of pear which I understood to be very sweet and juicy.

I had no trouble finding the pear---but the Market seemed so far away today.  The traffic seemed so weird; the other pedestrians so thoughtless.

When I had a car available but chose to walk, the righteousness of it made the walk seem pleasant---I would window-shop and stop for coffee if I felt like it.  I'd always spend time in one or the other of the book stores on the way; sometimes I'd choose to walk by the Parliament buildings instead of along the Mall in case I could see parliamentarians about their business, or help tourists standing a block away from the particularly majestic Parliament buildings to actually find them.

Today, I took shortcuts, made no wonder-filled stops, got annoyed because one of my accustomed pedestrian crossings was being dug up and I had to walk over 3 crosswalks instead of one.  I walked with my eyes glazed over, my head down so that I wouldn't be distracted by the big 75%OFF signs in the store windows or the guy with the drum outside the book store.  I got my damned pear and headed straight home.

It's time for a self-directed lecture on remembering that being virtuously carless does not mean being super-efficient, does not mean that the fun should go out of life, and certainly doesn't mean avoiding the drum guy, who was probably counting on my twonie for a coffee.


  1. I feel totally unworthy now.

    OTOH, I guess we got you guys out here just in time.

  2. i can relate, i was on a begrudged mission the past few days/wks. to find a damn couch.
    we need to be more aware of the stones/find the joy.

  3. I think this is noble within the confines of your immediate community, but please don't get rid of your car. Although gas prices may force us all to be careful. What would you do if you wanted to make a trip out of your city or if there was an emergency?

  4. Very interesting observation re: the power of feeling one has options.

    But I can't resist being practical. Taxis? Rental cars occasionally? I went carless in Chicago for many years and loved it. Lost weight, saved money, simplified life, got creative with public transportation, slowed down my life and loved being "out there" with everyone else. The is the key is to not be austere about it. Gotta be willing to borrow/rent a car or take a cab when called for.
    And even with such luxuries, you're still saving a bundle of money are entitled to be self-righteous. I don't see how this experiment can fail!

  5. I think it's really great that you and Dave are trying this. I know I wouldn't :) I'm just trying to figure out how you will take the grandkids to a movie or a book store. This pear things won't be anything then :)

  6. I look forward in 6 months to your discovery of the pearable behind this story, or maybe it'll just be the morale.

    Pokemon the persistent