Monday, October 23, 2006

Ditching your car

In the wake of yet another unsuccessful South African car-free day..
Via Brennie who I found while searching for this Ammons poem to share with the Ant.

don't establish the
the squares, triangles,
of preconceived
and then
life into them, trimming
off left-over edges,
ending potential:

But I digress (again).

Back to cars (or lack of them). This link to an article by Martin O'Malley on the virtues of being carless.

O'Malley writes: "I recommend not owning a car to any aspiring writer. I get at least a dozen column ideas a year from the sights, sounds, smells, insults, laughs and epiphanic discoveries of jostling along with other pedestrians. And I walk more, which makes my doctor happy. I save between $600 and $700 a month not owning a car, which comes to $7,200 to $8,400 a year. This means over seven years I have saved between $50,000 and $58,000. Add to this the fact that five years ago I quit my pack-a-day cigarette addiction and I’m up another $18,000. If I give up drinking I may start turning a profit."

I'm not going to go into the great SA debate of there being inadequate public transport etc. Millions of South Africans get by without cars, why can't I? Answers on a postcard.

In many ways I think we are more American than we would like to think. If I were to substitute "South Africans" for the "Americans" in this sentence I think it would lose none of its truth.

“The car industry has done a fabulous job of convincing Americans that their status and self-worth are tied to their cars.”  Chris Balish (Author of "How To Live Well Without Owning A Car").

But I'll leave it to the master to have the final word:
"I don't have no sports car and I don't even care to have one. I can walk anytime around the block."
– Bob Dylan

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