Carmageddon, Schmarmageddon

Have y’all heard about this Carmageddon thing out in California? Of course you have, what do you live under a rock?

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“We’re all gonna die if we can’t drive on the highway!!!”

I think California’s just jealous that they don’t get any Snowmageddons or Snowpocalyses like we do here on the East Coast and decided to start their own hysteria about something. “Let’s see, we have nothing but sunshine and beautiful weather year round….hmmmm, I know! Let’s close the 405. Somebody start a Twitter feed, stat!”

Now, I come from a car culture state myself. There’s nothing more that a Texan loves than to get in your car, roll down all the windows, and let the wind whip through your hair on a dusty backroad with some Old 97s blaring out of you radio (by the way, The Grand Theater Vol 2 = kick ass). I understand urban sprawl and suburbia, I really do.

But there are times in all of our lives when your car is indisposed or otherwise unavailable. Maybe you broke the timing belt on your beige Toyota Tercel and it’s in the shop for at least a week, or in reality, until you can scrounge up the $1,000 a stupid timing belt replacement costs on your meager waitress salary. Should be called a really bad timing belt.  Maybe you lent that Honda Civic to a no-good friend of a friend who really, really needed to get to Phoenix to pick up his pet iguana because his girlfriend dumped him and abandoned the poor lizard.  Or, maybe you got just one too many parking tickets on that Subaru and it got towed finally and it would cost more to get it out of impound than the damn 20-year-old car is worth. (Disclaimer: none of these things have ever happened to me, per se. I just hear things. Stories, so to speak).

Regardless, there are times when we’ve all be carless. And we did not die. There are lots of times when I have a perfectly good car at my disposal and yet, I don’t leave the house for the whole weekend! Especially in the winter. No way. I only go out under threat of imminent and painful starvation.

Yesterday, for example, I had the car. I did use the car in the morning to do the grocery shopping. This did not require me to get on any major roads or highways. When I got home, I parked the car. My friend Linda came over and we went wandering around Old Town (my hood), poking into some shops (Pretty People Vintage, Current, Treat, Mint Condition, BR) and stopping for a drink at a place with some tables outside, just watching the weird world go by and chatting. It was really, really nice. No car necessary.

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Toonces checking out the loot. A skirt, a dark gray tank and a necklace.

Last night I went over to running buddy Amy’s house and had dinner with Amy, her significant other, and a charming five-year old hula-hooping prodigy (she seriously was cracking me up). I did drive the 8 blocks to Amy’s, mostly because I didn’t want to walk home after dinner in the dark. But I probably could have, and I would have strolled over for those grilled pork chops and peaches. Again, no major roads required.

Here’s a list of other things I like to do that don’t require driving or even leaving my neighborhood:

1)      Go for a run. Amy and I ran 4.5 miles the last two mornings. No car required. Although, there were a couple of times I wish somebody would come and pick us up.

2)      Sit on your back patio with a pile of magazines (and fall asleep). I did this yesterday morning after I was done with grocery shopping. It was pretty awesome.

3)      Weed your garden or water your plants. This usually keeps me busy for a while. I actually have come to like weeding. It appeals to my anal retentive side. And, there’s such a sense of pure, visual accomplishment when you’re done.

4)      Wash your car. XFE washes his damn car every weekend. If you’re not using it, might as well make it purty.

5)      Clean. Or do laundry. Or do some organizing. I’ve got some major tie rack organizing on the slate today. Not mine, XFEs. The magazine basket could also use some weeding.

6)      Tackle a project you’ve been putting off. I need to do something with the slew of recipes we constantly tear out of magazines. Yeah, that probably won’t get done today……

7)      Mess with your pet. They’ll love the attention and they can be pretty distracting from other chores.

8)       Watch TV. There’s a ton of really bad reality shows out there that are also begging for your attention. Have you seen Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars?” What about History Channel’s “Mounted in Alaska?” Or the Discovery Channel’s “Sons of Guns.” There’s a whole world of obsure shows out there. Get on it! Those shows are not going to watch themselves! (In case you are wondering, yep, we watch all three of these shows. And a bunch of others.)

8)      Try a new recipe or two. Speaking of which, I’m making banh mi sandwiches for lunches this week and I’ve never made them before so I better get cracking.

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THIS is what they’re supposed to look like? Oh crap.

Stay strong Californians, stay strong.

What do you do when you’re not in the car? I’m actually pretty content when I’m house-bound. Anyone else feel that way?

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6 thoughts on “Carmageddon, Schmarmageddon

  1. I started bike commuting 4 years ago when my truck broke down. At this point I could afford a car, but I don’t want one anymore. (I’m afraid if I bought one, I would not cycle as much) I get about 9 miles a day now that I’m in school, and I have pannier bags for grocery shopping, etc. It’s kind of a drag during Texas summers, but all the benefits totally outweigh that. It keeps me from getting depressed, wears me out enough to sleep at night, and I can basically eat whatever I want (within limits). I know it’s just not practical for many people, but if you are prone to depression like me, that can be reason enough to give it a shot.

  2. Lady, I need to take a day off just to be house/neighborhood-bound…i totally hear you. and I’ll be happy to ditch the car so I can run, spend time in front of the tv, use the pool so my monthly condo fees are justified, clean my house, weed/water my two plants, and mess with my pet.

    1. Oh Lady! I of all people know you need a day off! When you finally get one, will you please send my schmoops home as well? Just keep keeping on till the 25th! You guys can do it!

      1. Just finally read this, and for that reason, couldn’t agree more! oops. better get back to work.

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