Saturday, June 16, 2007

Car Castrastion

Here are two things I observed yesterday.

Somebody pulled up in his car next to my neighbor's house. Instead of getting out of his car and ringing the doorbell, he sat in his car and steadily honked his horn until a couple women told him to quit.

Late last night, when my girlfriend and I were walking the last couple blocks after we got off the last bus of the night, we noticed this car spending too long at the stop sign. When it drove forward, a man in the passenger seat dropped a string of lit firecrackers. They went off as we walked past, but the car had sped off into the distance.

These two episodes reveal to me with extreme clarity nothing but the laziness and cowardice of the guys doing these antics. They are so emasculated by their car that they have to act out from the inside of that shell. They can't talk or walk so they blap their horn. They can't interact with people so they throw firecrackers out of their car window.

These aren't men. These peas inside those metal pods are bits of giggling jelly. I do not think they would be that way if they didn't have that illusion of car shell invincibility. I think that if they had to face the world with no shell but the courage they had to make inside their own guts they would have the sense to not be assholes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Car Sick

Before this past weekend, I had been in a car a total of three times so far this year. This weekend my sister, brother-in-law and their 3 year old daughter were here visiting and they rented a car for their stay. They were here for a wedding way out in a western suburb but spent most of the rest of the weekend with us.

Even tho cars are not really part of my lifestyle, we had one available for the weekend and it was used. It is amazing how seductive a car is when it is sitting on the street in front of your house and you have access to it. It really is a physical thing - if that car is there, your body almost wants it, maybe it even does want it, and wants to overdo it too.

The excuse was that with the three year old it was easier to just load all five of us in the car and go someplace rather than walk or take transit. And it was easier. My sister, who lives in Chicago, observed that Minneapolis felt much more car-centered than Chicago.

One thing I noticed by Monday, when my riding in their rented car was winding down, was how sick I felt. I felt sick and achy and knew that I was feeling car sick. It is easy to get queasy in a car, especially when you rarely ride in one.

There is something about the physical sensation of movement at a static body position. I think the body wants to move when it goes places - its natural response to inactivity during travel is to get a little nauseous.

I think most adults harden themselves to this car-nausea by their frequent time behind the wheel and over the wheels. It's like how that first cigarette might make you real sick, but the more you smoke the less sick you feel, and then your body starts to need those cigarettes. Car rides in isolation make you feel sick, but when you use one enough you harden yourself from the sickness, and then you become physically dependent on that car-movement.

I am glad to be back on my bicycle and getting around in my usual car-less manner. I feel much better already.