Friday, July 13, 2007


It's Not Easy Being Green

I didn't learn to drive until I was 33 and I had no idea how much I relied on my bucket-of-bolts until having had to do without one for a while. I've survived a couple of weeks without a car and although I feel all noble and environmentally-conscious and stuff, it's certainly not easy being green.

The impact has been felt on several fronts, including but not limited to:

1. Groceries. I love The Real Canadian Superstore. For fruit and veggies I usually buy stuff (often elsewhere) in small lots, enough for a couple of days however they have fantastic prices on things like canned, dry and frozen goods and also on dairy. Problem? Yes, the prices are good, but the really good prices are when you buy in bulk. Apparently I cannot carry six large cans of tomatoes and eight large cans of tomato sauce home (on foot) at once without arriving back at the house unable to move my arms and with my knuckles dragging along the dusty road. (yes, we do live on a dusty road, I'm not just taking poetic license here. well, ok, maybe just a bit with the dragging of the knuckles thingie).

We won't discuss the fact that there has been no ice cream in my house for weeks now.

9. Work. Not all that hard to get to work on transit. Dragging all my food and a couple of books with me isn't so much fun but you know I'm gaining the upper body strength of a gorilla (minus the excessive hair, one hopes) so that's a good thing. The only problem is that I have to leave a full hour ahead of my "usual" (with-car) time, and even then if the bus is full, as it was last Friday night, I run the risk of being late for work. Only about a minute and a half late but I don't like doing that to my co-workers.

é. Time. Getting home from work is an entirely different matter. I leave work at 6am. If my relief is 15 minutes early I'm home before 7am, otherwise it's about 7:30 (as opposed to my former 6:20 or so). On Saturdays I have little hope of getting home much before 8.

The problem being that this is my sleeping time -- I have a small daughter and my husband works so at some point I have to, you know, do things like talk to her and feed her and such. I've been getting even less sleep than usual and doing less housework. Reading blogs? Not happening, dude. If you feel I've been neglecting your blog this past couple of weeks, it's only because I have.

@. Personal Safety. I work in a nasty part of town and walk through an even nastier one to get home. There is a 25-minute wait between two of my buses. A man was attacked just outside my workplace a week ago (at exactly the time I leave the building in the morning) and remains in a coma. I really don't feel so good about hanging out on the streets here.

My "other" job is easier to get to (and I can take my bike and ride home -- it's all downhill!) and it's safer there. If anything permanent opens up there, even part time, I'm going to have to jump ship, I think.

x. Health. Although I'm getting tons more exercise, which can't be a bad thingie, I can't get to the dentist. I also have two different tests which my doctor has ordered (no, nothing scary) and I can't get to the two different labs to get them done in the time I have available to me. The stress level is pretty high, too, due in part to the reduced sleep dealie.

2204.6 Fibre Time. I am not getting enough time to dye wool, although some has been done and the store will hopefully be updated this weekend. It's certainly making me cranky, though. We will not discuss spinning, at all.

At least some of this dyeing has involved cashmere and there's been a bit of alpaca too. This makes up for a lot, and has quite possibly saved the lives of those around me.

42. Social Stuff. No popping up to my parents' house for half an hour, no tootling over to a friend's place for coffee to drop off wool and let our kids play together for an hour. Also no trip to see Gramma for summer vacation and no meet-ups for knitting, spinning, etc. This is the suckiest part of the whole deal, methinks.

I've enjoyed some of this. It's nice not to have to try to find a parking spot. It's nice to look out of the window and to talk to my daughter instead of trying to figure out what the assbeagle in the car ahead of me is trying to do. I'm getting a TON more reading done. But really, I'm missing my little pollution-spewing beast.

Things are improving. I'm working something like 7 or 8 shifts at my "other" job this month and Ben's still on full-time so I expect we'll be out and about, happily producing greenhouse gases again within a few weeks. Seven at the most. Even after we get another car I'm going to try to take the bus more often, when time allows.

In the meantime, my hat is off to all of you granola-covered Birkenstock-wearing folks who make this a way of life on purpose.

ps you are all freaks.

For all its limitations, public transit is one of the big advantages of living in a city. I live an hour away from work driving on the frickin' turnpike, and even if there were public transit that came reasonably close to my place of employment, I'd have to drive half an hour just to get to anything that could get me to it.

That said, don't let anyone conk you on the head while you're waiting for the bus. That'd suck.
At least my car's a hybrid, though, so I can get some granola props.
I can't drve, my parents never drove, I'm a public transport girl all my life .... I want a car.

Make sure you have very sharp knitting needles on hand in the scary neighbourhood.
is a taxi a feasible option for a big stock-up grocery trip? or do you have a friend who can be rewarded with yarn for such a trip?

as for the commute issues, it sux most places. i'd very happily take a bus from my decent nabe to work and back . . . if only such service existed and i never had to pick my grand up or drop her off at daycare.

alas, no such luck, and my wheels are a mom-mobile minivan. i try to leave it parked at least one day a wk. fillup yesterday at US$3.06 was $42 and change for 14 gallons . . . all i'd used in two wks, mercifully. after i downsize next yr (when daut finishes college & she and the grand move out), i want the teeniest car i can get my arthritic bod in and out of!

a very wise woman once said, "if it's got tires or testosterone, you're going to have trouble with it." to which i'd add "or microchips."

i hope you find a sturdy, gas-sipping vehicle that meets your family-food-fiber-hauling needs soon.

ellen in indy
Surely no one would mess with the Rabbitch? Cuz that would be a mistake of epic proportions. Story: "Three hoodlums were found downtown, impaled on knitting needles, one of which had a partially knitted pink cotton washcloth on it. Police are following the trail of wool bits, but since the hoodlums were such schmucks, they're not working all that hard."
I hope the job situation improves and you get to stay at the good place with the good commute. Then you could be all green and bike-ridey and stuff and safe at the same time. (Unless you're like me and you tend to fall off your bike at times.) Oh yeah, and they should give you a big fat raise and some time to sleep.
After reading yet another of your carless posts.. I went outside and kissed my 'still barely running" mouse-mobile and promised it some new oil or a fresh filter if it continues to run for another 6 months. Otherwise I'm going to be in your boat without the option of public transportation.. since we seem to not have any buses outside of the actual city of Atlanta.
when I was living in Eugene, in a totally walkable neighborhood, my grandmother bought me a shopping cart from the jc penney catalog (she does all her shopping from the JCP catalog). It's fabric, was only $15, folds up really tiny, is great for large shopping trips, & holds up to 35 pounds (about 3 bags of groceries). You'll save your arms with one of those.

And I love living in cities for a number of reasons, not least of all being that we only drive about once per week. Good thing, since the neon (yes, I drive a neon) is onto 118K miles at this point and will probably need new brakes soon.

I send you good new car vibes & remind you that bus time=knitting time. No one messes with the woman with pointy sticks. Shiny aluminum needles add to the intimidation factor.
i wear birkenstocks and i refuse to ride the bus in this town! the routes are unpredictable, as are the times, and i HATE the thought of having to take 3 times beyond normal to get somehwere!

however, i am giving it a shot with recycling.
I planned for not having a car--I live within walking distance of work, and close to several trolley and bus routes. And I have carshare for when I need to drive. It'd be horrible to have planned for having a car and then have it crap out. (So says a granola-eating, birkenstock-wearing weirdo.)
Ick ick ick! So sorry for all your woes. A car should definitely help...I take public to and from work, because there is no parking nearby, and it gives me a delicious amount of knitting time, but I love to have the freedom to drive around otherwise. I hope things pick up for you!
I so empathize with you!!! I didn't have a car until I was 33, either. It was bad. Everything you said -- danger, groceries, friends, hobbies, meeting new people, TIME. And I was single so it meant just being home all the time (with one tv channel, since I didn't have cable) For about the first 3 years of having my car every single time I got in behind the wheel, I thought "I knew this would be so much better and it is!!"

Unfortunately, now I'm in Manhattan, where it is hard to have a car. And because of my disability, pubic transport is hardly every an option.

I hope you get that next car soon!

Charlizeen on yahoo email
I feel blessed that the traffic in this town is so bad that driving, biking, or taking public transportiation to work take me 50, 60, and 45 minutes, respectively. And that all three are an option for me. And that my bus stops are safe. Our car died a few weeks ago, but luckily my husband had a rental from work to tide us over until we could see our way clear to a downpayment for a hybrid. I am keeping my fingers crossed fo you guys!
i didn't learn how to drive until i was 38. then i moved out to the suburbs and have had to drive ever since. i love my car, but if i were still living in the city i would still be taking public transportation and/or biking because parking is such a hassle
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