i have not driven a car for over two years, and don’t expect to ever drive one again, (unless i go back to over-dosing on ambien) (and, no, i never ambien-sleep-drove, though apparently i did engage in some other mildly odd ambien-fueled sleep-walking behavior – always inside the house…), i still find myself riveted to TV ads for new and interesting looking cars. cars that you plug into the outlet at night? how cool is that? cars with all sorts of do-dads in the dashboard – USB ports, hands-free phone kajiggers, cars that can parallel park themselves, (though i consider the ability to parallel park a fundamental of driving), rear-view cameras and obstacle avoidance systems, etc. still haven’t seen any jetson-type flying cars (and the way things are going, we might be back to flintstone-style foot-drive in the not too distant future).
i look at these ads and think, even if only for a moment, that when it comes time for me to get my next new car, i’m going have so many new styles and accessories to choose from. then i remember, oh, yeah, i don’t drive. i see things like medmobs, a great idea that i would dearly love to participate in. and then i remember, oh, i don’t drive, so getting there would be a major hassle. or i think that i would love to wander around portland at night with my camera on a tripod, photographing shadowy and low-light scenes – and then i remember that it would require both driving and walking, neither of which i do.
car culture is such an ingrained part of life here in the future, as firesign theater would put it. rarely do we, or did i, stop to give it much thought. “oh, i’ll just hop in the car and run out to do this or that.” were it not for crazy gas prices, popping out for one thing or another would hardly bring pause. i took access to a car as a given, as i think most people do.
but when such a simple thing like access to auto-mobility is removed from the equation, life gets a lot more complicated, at least for us rural folks, where everything is a 20-minute car ride away. and it has proven very difficult to get the automatic thought that “i can just hop in the car and go,” out of my head. i’m sure that speaks to a much larger issue of modern life, but i am only thinking about how i used to rely on my car, without even thinking about it, and the how small the world got when i no longer had such easy access to it. i can usually find a ride – paid or not – if i really need to get somewhere, but it requires admitting and accepting another aspect of my dependence on other people – a personal issue which i think i will wrestle with for the foreseeable future. often, i just don’t go.
anyway, it comes down to “you don’t miss your water til the well runs dry.” i never truly appreciated the ease and convenience of having a car when i had one, and i gotta tell you, i sure miss it now that the auto-well has run dry.