Car-Free Day Next Week

Car-free Day is next week, Wednesday the 22nd.  What in the world does that mean?  This seems like a day when people who care about not driving (or want others to think they care about not driving) can try to make a statement, then immediately go back to the way things were on Thursday. 

But no one really drives for fun anymore.  If you drive, it’s probably because you have to.  Economic changes (the recession plus gas prices) are very much reflected in popular culture.  High gas prices have trickled down to social mores: I know this because of the horrified looks on the faces of some friends when I made up a story to tell them what I like to do when I feel that I’m not in control. 

“I like to go out to an empty parking lot at night, maybe one with an island in the middle.  Then I just drive around and around and around in a clockwise circle for a while, letting the centrifugal motion push me to the door.  After about twenty minutes I start to feel a lot better about things.”  I haven’t seen looks of confused disgust like that since this little gem

So, Car-Free Day.  It’s a nice thought, but it only serves to make people who don’t participate feel a twinge of guilt.  If you have to drive to pick up your kid/parakeet/dry cleaning/original Andy Warhol and you can’t do it any other way, just go ahead.  But pretty soon, we’ll all be living in a Cormac McCarthy novel.

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