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.