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Car-free Summer, 2008 » Monday 8/25/08: Insisting on Walking and An Exile Returns
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Errands and Leisure and Uncategorized30 Aug 2008 10:38 am

Summer days are so rare in Chicago that I feel guilty being inside on them, even when I have inside work to do and I open the doors and windows to take as much of the outside in as I can. Yet today, I sat inside long stretches at the computer. Granted, I wasn’t driving and I wasn’t running the air conditioner but I strongly suspect the carbon footprint of my computing still had an impact. For now, though, I will focus on transportation.

My errands today are local and I use them to relieve impact of my derriere on the chair. At mid-morning, I walk my dog to Harold’s True Value, the other local hardware store that allows me to bring him inside and make my life easier. The woman who waits on me give Marlowe some of the attention he craves. My quest is a better solution to the much-delayed and unresolved shower diverter of weeks back, one that will not require me to cut the copper and attach a nipple using heatless solder, a good idea in itself but not the Number One idea given the difficulty making that cut. There would be no turning back, whether I did it well or not.

They have a very close replica to the current faucet which will require minimal changes and no additional parts or soldering. Bingo. So that means I have to return the other parts but I decide to make that my dog’s afternoon walk and try to get something done in the meantime. I cannot honestly say I did that but I did fill the time. Oh, well.

So around 3, I took another local walk in the other direction and returned the other parts to the Ace, where true to form, my dog got a lot of attention from the staff, this time from a woman at the cash register who waited on me. Granted, these errands take longer with the dog but they always make me feel part of the place I live.

Within about an hour after getting back to the house, the dog’s ears perk up and he looks alert towards the alley. I hear the garage door and then the gate, too.

As expected, the car is back from exile. I have mixed feelings about this.

My daughter is driving it and I’m thrilled to see her and help her move her stuff into the house.

At the same time, this idea of a car is suddenly a strange thing after having done without it.

It also will not make it into the garage in which projects and bikes have taken over despite the absence of the other car, donated to charity weeks ago.

This is very weird. I don’t even want to drive this car around to the front of the house so she does that.

It’s great to catch up and clutter up my house with her things. Nearly at 6:30, I realize I need both catfood and dogfood. A quick call to the pet store in Wilmette confirms that they are open until 7. I really don’t want to take the car and I don’t. Instead, I pull out the wire shopping cart but leave the dog behind this time in the name of moving very fast. I leave the house around around 6:34 and make it back home, all petfood weighing down the cart, by 6:57. Not too shabby.

Being a motorist means not having to say, “I give a flip about pedestrians.” One block north, at 6:36, one of the ubiquitous long white Chevy contractor vans roars to life to my left and wheels towards me as I approach the curb but he does not stop, instead just making a perfunctory glance to his left and and roars around the corner. I manage only to see his plate which includes 1533 YR.

There is no Stop sign here but did he need to blow through that intersection like that? Does a person like this have any clue how dangerous his driving is to pedestrians? Why doesn’t he care?

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