Thursday I needed to go to a non-grocery store. The store is only about a mile away, and there is a bus, but the bus would only take me the last quarter mile: kind of a waste. So I put Ash in the jogging stroller and went for a walk.
It was surprising. When you walk, you see things that you don't see while driving. I discovered that my city is very walking-friendly. The sidewalks are extra wide (and don't randomly end like in Burgville) there are always cross walks, and I even found a walking path next to the sidewalk that took you along park benches and trees in case you wanted to go the scenic route. Speaking of scenic route, I'm amazed how much of this city is not-city. I found a beautiful waterfall surrounded by palm trees, a brook that ran along a forest, and dozens of trees and bushes in random places. It's just beautiful!
We got to the store, got what we needed, and walked back. I have no idea how long we took, but I know it was a lot longer than if we had used a car. I also know the next time I need to go, I'll just walk. It made for a much more enjoyable day.
Friday a friend picked us up and we went to the outlets for some shoe-shopping. She dropped us back off at home at the end. It was a nice outing, but she did have to go out of her way to pick us up and drop us off. I think that is the main problem of not driving: it forces other people to pick up the slack.
I liked this week a lot. I liked taking the bus, I liked walking, I liked how I felt like I got to spend more time with Ash. When we were waiting for the bus or going for a walk, we would talk and play and tickle. I can never do that while I'm driving. It made me feel like a better mom. It also made me feel like in better shape, since I was walking so much, and like a better citizen of earth, since I was reducing emissions.
The downsides are obvious: Cars are freedom. That's why they are so popular. Without a car you can't just go when you want, you have to plan around bus routes, walking time, weather and other's schedules. Still, I don't really mind that. I think the benefits far outweigh the extra planning. Like I said: the problem is that I feel like I'm punishing others. There are some places that are too far to walk and the bus can't take me: the ocean, the library, friend's houses. If I want to go to those places, or if other people want me to go to those places, they have to come get me, and that's just annoying. I have awesome friends who have volunteered to take me places, but can I really ask them to spend extra gas money because I don't want to? The answer is no. If I got me driver's licence taken away, or if I lost my car, sure. But just because I don't want to drive? No.
So, I think I will take the bus to go grocery shopping (as long as I remember my purse). I will walk to the store and anywhere else I can. For now, I will keep the car and use it only to go places I cannot go on the bus and are too far to walk. For now.