At what is probably the worst time in American history to drive a car, we have found ourselves in a position where have a daily 15 mile commute. As Michele navigates us through mighty traffic jams, along badly maintained highways strewn with bloody carcases of unfortunate wildlife, and through vast industrial developments, we listen to NPR. Frequently, when they’re not morbidly dissecting the previous days non-news involving Obama and Hillary, they are discussing high gas prices and how everyone is now using public transport. If that were true it would be quite ironic for us when you consider that after a lifetime of public transport usage we should suddenly start being a regular car user. We ponder this while our inefficient, old, 3.8L car relentlessly transforms a precious natural resource into a slow crawling motion, ice cold air, and toxic pollution.
So, as a concession toward mitigating this unhealthy situation, I’m writing this on a bus. Ok, Michele still drives me to work in the morning but I get the bus home. Ok yes Michele drives over to pick me up from the bus station too… what can I say. I’m a hypocrite.
Despite all this, I’m really not developing a fondness for cars. In fact my loathing for them is getting more fierce. They seem to embody all of the worst aspects of humanity in a big, ugly, violent metal lump. Nowadays I see them as consuming-machines that promote selfishness, anti-social behaviour, cause wars in foreign lands, and bleed you dry while they’re doing it.
Cars are central to the American way of life. Outside the few major cities, the townships were designed around driving; frequently there are no pavements because there’s nowhere to go within walking distance. No walking down the pub in the evening – instead you drive to a bar, drink too much, and then drive home.
So the fact that many Americans feel they have a right to drive and have cheap gas is understandable; in many parts of the states, life can’t continue
without it. But they are in for a shock. There’s outrage at the price of gas at the moment, and it’s still half the price the rest of the world is paying. Of course the Republican answer is typically ill conceived: cut gas taxes. And of course Hillary, who with her hellbent drive for power at any cost makes Tony Blair look like Rodney Trotter, agreed.
But, it might have backfired! Obama, who is bending all the rules by demonstrating he has some genuine integrity, said he thought it was a bad idea and laid out the paralysingly obvious reasons why. Weirdly, the polls indicate it worked! Maybe it could all turn out ok….
Regardless, there’s no excuse for me getting Michele to drive me to work. We can walk everywhere, and we have good public transport. I need to pull my finger out.