things I’ll miss #5

Today is another scorcher as they say. So I did laundry. I will not miss the loss of a washing machine. Well, maybe. So much physical activity goes into it. Washing, rinsing, wringing, shaking, hanging, pinning. And you get to look out on a long stretch of laundry drying and swaying in the sun and wind. Leaving the windows open you can just make out the smell of the detergent. Yes, I know that I will take pleasure in a washing machine once at home — but the physical relationship I have with all aspects of my life here will be missed. Which leads me (meanderingly) to what I’ll really miss . . .

A car free life. I walk everywhere I go. Maybe bi-monthly I’ll find myself in a car (including taxis). I have not pumped gas into a vehicle in 7 months. I have not smelled the fumes, paid the money, and not been tempted by a candy bar while standing in line. In order to get to work, I walk. If I want to go to the store, I walk. The unbearable weight and responsibility of auto ownership and maintenance is the sole reason why I question if I will be happy living somewhere forced to pile in, crank up, navigate, curse and sweat in the metal trapped humanity that is America’s highway and roadway system. Traffic is dodging tourists here. And the stress of all of that driving there, combined with the physical benefits of walking here honestly makes me not want to come home. I know, I know, everyone is thinking, “well just do that over here Julia.” Whatever. It’s difficult. I don’t want to ride a bike. I don’t necessarily want to ride public transportation (although would take that in a heart beat). And I know people who do it, but they eventually break down. They succumb to the convenience once it’s too hot or cold. I just want to be able to depend on my two feet to get me most places I need to go. I need a city that is planned as such. Rant over . . . job search in full swing. And yes, I’ll be buying a hybrid as soon as I can —if I must.

6 responses to “things I’ll miss #5

  1. You know… it’s interesting to hear you thinking about this… I came home after my year in London feeling very much the same. I didn’t miss the hassle of driving, and became completely content with the need to walk everywhere. I do have a car, but have coveted a SmartCar ever since I returned from London, and quite frankly, will likely buy one (or something similar) when it comes time to replace the little piece of junk that I have had for the last 10 years… unless I can manage to locate a faculty position in a place where I can just eliminate the need for a car at all. Before I moved to Europe, I would have never believed that life without a vehicle was not only possible, but preferable, but I have found that I now rather resent having to have a car, and not living in a place where I can take care of at least the majority of my needs either by foot or public transportation.

    I grew up a suburb girl (in Detroit no less) — where cars are just a part of daily life, and it has been rather interesting to see the lasting impact my extended trip to Europe has had on my priorities, particularily regarding cars… when I moved there, a car was an essential priority, and now, it’s a hassle I’d like to try to eliminate!

    Have a gelato for me please — I prefer Lemon or Lime!


  2. I know the enjoyment that comes from getting from here to there on your own two feet – the exercise, the sites, the smells, getting side-tracked along the way! – after living in London for a semester. You feel very alive. I have always missed that. However, growing up in the middle of No Where FL – I mean four miles from the closest two stoplight town – I also know the meaning of FREEDOM and that came with four wheels and a gas tank. After many years of driving, I still get that born to be wild driving feeling when I am on the open highway with the radio blaring. I am fine driving – as long as humanity stays far behind 🙂 Don’t ever put me in a city behind the rest of civilization again!

  3. First off…Way to go Italy!!! 3-0 Yahooo! (Not really sure how that would translate)

    Walking and not having to drive a car is what I love about traveling. There is such a sense of freedom when you shed the responsibility of operating an automobile. You can look around without fear of running off the road or hitting someone or ending up in Suwanee, GA. Of course when you have two klutzes like us together walking these things still tend to happen 😉 I love and miss living in the city! I went to Chicago this past weekend and walked everywhere! (Yes, the world traveler did a little site seeing in the states) I think the only time we were in a car was to get to and from the airport. It is weird how much my thoughts on driving vs. walking have swung from one extreme to the other. I think about how much time I spend in a car on a daily basis and then about what I could be doing with that time. Oh baby! To be able to just walk across the street on a Saturday morning and to have someone else make my coffee and breakfast and for me not to have to do the dishes or to live close enough to walk to work…what a joy! I would gladly give up the responsibility of driving if I could live and work in the city! Isn’t it funny that these feelings are coming from a girl who in college would drive around the 285 loop several times when bored or angry? My how things have changed!

  4. In Vienna I had four modes of transportation other than my two feet. The streetcar, the fast train, the underground, and a bus that stopped at my front door. It was heaven and I weighed forty pounds less, even though I ate more and drank more while there. When I returned to Atlanta I rode MARTA often (my friends made fun of me, but it is practical and safe, and you can finish a chapter between the North Ave station and Perimeter Mall). Julia endured my cursing as a child when we were stuck in traffic.I had many panic attacks on the road just before we climbed the mountain on Hwy 117 going back to Mentone. No wonder you are so happy in Italy! You are free from stress memories associated with me. Blood on the Highway Mother. “I’M going to hire a red haired chauffeur from Cabbage Town, I just can’t take this any more!!” Remember that one! BTW Glad you gave up 285 Mendy!

  5. It’s so good to know that it isn’t just me. Now, to find a place to fit with a car free life style. Hmmmm . . . .
    And yes, the panic attacks of mom on the highway; funny I had forgotten that. Can we all say, “therapy”. 😉

  6. “…a place to fit with a car free life style.” Sounds like Manhattan to me. Hope to see you there soon, at least for a visit.

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