The carless life

My hubby and I recently moved out of the city and into a “city.” Not quite the size and caliber I’m used to, but by Wikipedia definition, it’s a city.

We live downtown—downtown as defined by “small city” (can you tell I’m slightly bitter and snobby about the change?)—with pedestrian access to restaurants, small shops, and a train that takes me to DC three times a week for my 2+ hour, one-way commute to work (what have I done?!).

There is a handful of bus lines that do a handful of bus routes, but for the most part, without a car, the options for getting around are limited by where my legs can take me and by the highways that create an obstacle for safe transiting.

Without a car, I feel trapped, but with a car, I would feel trapped in a cycle of motor dependency which I’m not willing to undertake. Look, I’m not completely without a motorized carriage, my husband has a car and we use it to get to places and pick up mass quantities of food and diapers, but I refuse to become a two-car family.

When I lived in DC and walking was my transportation exclusively, no one batted and eye when I’d say that I walked to and from work every day—it was expected. Here, when I tell people I walk to the day care to pick up my baby or skip to the train station, they look at me like I’m such a crazy, brave soul.

“You walk from there?” the other mothers mutter.

I explain, “It’s only a little over a mile away.”

I receive a look like the most ridiculous statement just projectiled from my mouth and I try to explain, “See, we just moved from DC and I used to walk everywhere so this is no big deal.”

The next look I get is that I’m some pretentious bitch (which I totally am, but not for this reason) and that I should return to my stupidly expensive, small apartment and not bother the kind people of this little Maryland town—I mean city.

I am overambitious at times, not understanding the lay of the land here. There are no bike lanes as far as I can see and sidewalks are not a given. Just because it’s a mile and some change away, doesn’t mean it’s a walk away. I learned that little lesson in a rainstorm. Thanks pickup truck that sprayed me with water and made my rain boots absolutely useless! (Pickup trucks, ugh, another side effect of this damn “city.”)

I’ll figure out the best commuting methods and routes the longer I live here and, hopefully, adjust to my new environment. Ideally, it will never come to 2 cars, especially one of those mom vehicles—my nightmare—the mini van.



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