Monday, April 4, 2011

Five car-free tales from the streets.

1. I interviewed for a job recently, they made me an offer,
with one condition,
they told me: "You have to own a car."
I said, "If I do not buy a car is that a deal killer?"
"Yes." They said. "You have to own a car."

2. I was rolling on the road, the day was cold, in the teens. A car slowly passed me, it was surreal, I looked over to the left, only to see two little blonde girls looking at me with faces pressed up against the glass of the mini-van window. I thought, how I must look like an animal in a zoo to them, as they looked at me in awe. But then thought, no, they are the ones in the cages, I am free.

3. The day was hot, 96f, high humidity, I was heading south on Lamar. I felt this heat before, it was nauseating, I tried to not get stuck at a stop light with cars next to me spewing exhaust. I cannot see it, but I know it is there. Exhaust, ozone, the wind blows lightly, it does no good, the temperature on the bike computer reads 110f, the asphalt is at least 120f. I feel sick and anxious, what if there is no air. "Shit!" I think, " I will die at this intersection, at the hands of the automobile." Then the light changes, and I can breath again. I roll away and life is good again.

4. I saw this man crossing the street with his bicycle.

He had all of his belongings on his bike, so many in fact, he could not ride the bike, it had become a shopping cart like bicycle.

I said "hi", he looked up and gave no indication he wanted anything to do with me.

5. On a Spring day, I was running some early morning errands on my bicycle. I was rolling in midtown KC.

It was one of those fresh Spring days low 70s, sunny, slight breeze, with the smell of flowers blooming. Perfect.

I pulled up to a truck full of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation employees while waiting for the light to change. They were all black. I looked over at them and they looked at me, a white guy on a bike in a major intersection at 7a.m. We all smiled, I said, "How are you all?"

One gent, laughed, big grin, he was a heavyset man, and said, "Awww man we are doing great! How are you?"

We all talked gloriously about the weather, my bicycle, and work. The light changed and we said goodbye. As they pulled away, I remember thinking how stupid racism is, people are people, and it does not matter the color of their skin...period.

Got any carfree or carlite tales to share?
Peace, Bill


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  2. I work at a YMCA, and I'm always touched when members and other staff acknowledge and comment on my daily bike commute. Today was especially rainy and many members commented positively about my dedication to my daily bike commute. Though I don't go looking for it, it's nice to get recognition from others that respect my choices. I am totally car-free, not by choice initially, but I've made the best of my situation and now can't imagine being reliant on a car for daily transportation.