Going Green by Necessity
Written by GeekGirlCon Copywriter Sarah “SG-1” Grant
I don’t drive a lot anymore, which I’m finding very strange; I’ve been driving since I was 16, and had constant use of a car from the time I was 17 (with some exception during my first couple of years living on campus in college). About a year ago, my roommate/best friend got a much better job than the one I had, and it required the use of a car. So I put him on my insurance, and I got a bus pass through work. Since then, I drive the car perhaps once or twice per week, either to church in Kirkland or to the grocery store down the street (if I need more than I can comfortably carry up ten blocks of a very big hill).
I’ve discovered that I really enjoy riding the bus to work. All I have to do is show up at my bus stops on time, get on the correct bus, and get to work, get home, or get wherever else I’m going. All that riding time means I don’t have to pay attention to awful Seattle traffic, and I get to do the thing I love more than anything else: READ. If I don’t feel like reading, I just listen music on my phone. It takes the length of about a 50-60 minute album for me to get to work. It’s lovely sort of meditative time that I get to take for myself, and I don’t answer the phone in that time. I’ve grown to value it quite a bit.
I got my first car when I was in high school, one that I shared with my older brother, and used to run errands and ferry my younger sister around our hometown. It was a 1981 Chevrolet Chevette–no, not a Corvette, a Chevette, like this one, only a darker blue:
The front passenger seat had a disconcerting habit of flipping back, thereby introducing the front seat passenger abruptly to the back seat. We couldn’t do an under-body flush at the car wash, because there was a hole in the floor beneath the driver’s seat. Top speed uphill with anyone other than the driver in the car? 43 miles per hour. It shook like it was losing bolts anytime we approached 55 miles per hour. The radio only received the signal from the Milwaukee oldies station–and then only the music, not the lyrics. I loved that car.
My next car was a 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais, purchased from its original owner in 1996 (again, a darker blue than this one):
It was a good little car, driving me back and forth from Wisconsin to Tennessee multiple times. It was replaced by a 1999 Saturn S series in Silver Plum (the dealer was VERY specific about the color, even though I called it “purple”)–the first car I ever bought at a dealership:
I loved that little car so much: it had good gas mileage, it was comfortable, it had a very respectable trunk space, and it saw me safely through a five-car pileup in Nashville. It was fixed, and ran like a top for another two and a half years before I sold it. I bought my first brand new car, my current 2005 Honda Civic, from a dealer in Milwaukee before I moved to Seattle:
It’s a fantastic car; it drives well, it parks easily (not too big, not too small), and it has the two things I told my dad I wanted at the time: a CD player and air conditioning. It also survived this little incident (with me driving) back in May:
This is the car my roommate drives, and is the one I am now selling to him. And yes, we fixed the windshield.
I know that a lot of people don’t have cars, or have never had cars; I’m very aware of the privileges I’ve had in my life. I also know I’m lucky I live in an area with pretty good bus service, and that my company provides my bus pass every month. So while I went green out of necessity, it’s been a pretty positive change for me. I’m healthier from walking, I spend more time outside–which I’ve been told is good for people with depression. I also feel like I’m contributing to the success of our public transportation system, relieving a tiny bit of the nasty traffic in Seattle, and leaving my own mark on the world-wide effort to reduce climate change. Every little bit helps!
Would you switch to bus riding, if you could or had to? Let me know in the comments; I’ve love to hear your perspective!