Leisure and Socializing and Uncategorized08 Jul 2008 03:58 pm

Before any car-crack addict goes, “Tish-tush, snicker-snicker”, allow me to say that significant family events trump a lot of things in my life. Our extended family lives in the real suburbs, defined as suburbs having few sidewalks but which people rarely use. Not my choice but I love them anyway. The family, not the sidewalks.

My daughter drives into town for this 80th birthday party. The three of us get in the car with presents and the intention of having a good time and that’s exactly what we do.

So there.

Is this somehow an admission that we and our American society are joined to the car at our mutual rearends and that somehow separating us would leave us both half-assed? I don’t get this logic because we’re kind of half-assed right now: no clear transportation policy, rising gas prices, few alternatives for working and poor people dependent upon cars for jobs, massive highway subsidies, and a highway lobby powerful enough to stop speeding trains?

Oh, by the way, Southwest Airlines successfully managed to help kill a Texas high-speed train initiative back in the 90’s because it would have encroached on Southwest’s core market cities. Having both driven and ridden the train across Texas, I would like to submit that the state’s distances and dense urban/suburban clusters would have been well served by high-speed trains.

At least the airline industry is doing really, really well these days. I’m so happy for them.

So what do we have here? I’m not trying to prove that having a car is easy and convenient.

I am, however, trying to prove to myself that I can cut my car use further, possibly drastically, without feeling like I am somehow deprived.

Right now, I have to say, the less I have to drive a car the less I care about having one.

And for me, that’s an important first step.

2 Responses to “7/6/08: Relapse or Realism: The Suburban Family Party”

  1. on 09 Jul 2008 at 9:34 am Toby

    The best we can do in our car-dependent society now is work to cut car use, while supporting initiatives and programs that strive to do the same. The pro-car lobbies are an overwhelming obstacle. One way to effect change is to not support them. For example, there are alternatives to AAA, which most of us belong to if we own a car. AAA deploys very powerful lobbyists focused solely on easing the way for car owners and drivers - often ignoring environmental or other concerns. (See: http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2003/02/11/warriors/) Consider an alternative club when your renewal is due.

  2. on 15 Jul 2008 at 8:58 pm Steve Cohen

    Hey, Toby, thanks!

    As luck would have it my AAA renewal form came in the mail the day after I read your post. I checked out your link, and now it’s going to be goodbye AAA hello Better World Travel, and in truth, what do I need AAA for anymore?

    Towing, that’s it. As for their maps, and Triptik, well, that’s been superseded, hasn’t it. So sure, a towing card that doesn’t fund auto-lobbying? A no brainer for sure.

    Thanks again.

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