I’ve been car free for 6 months. As it’s getting colder, I’ve been fantasizing about buying a used Jeep Wrangler or maybe an old Volvo. My basic requirements are that it moves and has a heater. Something that doesn’t require me to suit up every morning like I’m about to walk on the moon. Everyone is allowed some weak moments, and these are mine. Then I realize it probably won’t get that much colder, the days are getting longer, and if I’ve gone this far, I can go a bit further. Plus, I’ve just paid off the last of my 15 parking tickets, and I’m not ready to go back to life as a criminal.
This is also an excuse to stay active. In the winter, I usually stop going to the gym. It usually starts as a break around Thanksgiving, and then the excuses start piling up; It’s snowing. I have to work late. There is a 30 Rock marathon on TV. The air outside smells funny. This is the first winter in a long time where I haven’t felt like Jabba The Hut.
Here are a few more tidbits of knowledge I’ve acquired from car free life on the streets. Drink these down like Tapioca pudding on a hot July afternoon:
- Get a Charm Card. It’s a pain in the ass digging for change or not having cash on you when you need to catch a bus fast. On the rare occasions when an MTA driver allows you to pay your fare, having a metro card makes life a lot easier.
- The wind will beat your ass on a bike. Get one of these and wear a wind proof jacket. If you’re a dude, growing a beard helps. If you’re a chick, well, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.
- Intersections are the most dangerous part of the street. Research supports this. When you’re on foot or on a bike, make eye contact with the driver at an intersection to make sure they see you. Avoid weird hang signals lest they think you’re in a gang or trying to pick them up.
- I’ll assume you’ve seen Batman Begins when Batman, just starting his crime fighting career, had to call Alfred to come get him after being sprayed by the fear toxin. Sometimes you miss the last bus or your bike tire gets busted. Or, because this is Baltimore, you actually do get sprayed by a fear toxin. Don’t be afraid to call your friends or family to come pick you up, even if it’s 3 or 4 in the morning and they have work in 3 hours. That’s what they enjoy doing, and you can tell your friends that this small inconvenience is totally worth it because your carbon footprint is so low. Once they stop taking your calls at 3am, I’d recommend programming a few cab numbers on your cell.