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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Un-Driving

Instead of writing about un-plugging from the Internet as per the #CCCWrite prompt, I want to write about un-driving. Un-plugging from the car motor.

Being plugged into the Internet is how I read and listen to music and have conversations with friends and learn learn learn. It's all good. Cars: not so good. They do get you from here to there, but with nothing but stress (for me) along the way. I just do not like being in a car. I love public transportation. Trains. Buses. But best of all: sidewalks.

So right now, one of the best things going on in my life is that I do not have to get in a car. I have not been in a car for over a month! I'm in Austin, caring for my dad who is on hospice (end stages of lung cancer), and he lives downtown. So, this is one of the worst times of my life... but one of the things keeping me sane is that I don't have to get in a car. Zero car. All walk.

Groceries? I walk to the Target on the UT campus. It's a tiny Target, but that's fine; it does have a tiny grocery store, with almost everything we need, and for what's not on the shelves, they will special order anything Target carries and deliver it to the store for free. Butter-pecan-flavored Ensure? Yep! They can get that, and my dad is happy.


Pharmacy? There's a tiny CVS in the Target, or a bigger CVS up the street. Random stuff in the middle of the night? The 7-11 is open 24/7.

And even more important: WALKING FOR SANITY. I can walk to the capitol; it's lovely (this is the side I approach it from):


I always make sure to salute the pioneer woman (I like the way her sculpted dress is always blowing in the wind):


The UT campus itself is a pleasure to walk (my dad's in a condo literally across the street from campus):


I only expected to be here some days, maybe a couple of weeks, not a couple of months (as it now appears), so I am very lucky that I was wearing my all-time favorite pair of walking shoes when I arrived:


So, it is unplugging FROM THE CAR that is keeping me sane right now.

Being able to walk places was so great for my dad until he got sick, and being able to walk instead of drive is the key to my sanity at the moment. It's a practical thing. And a spiritual thing.

And yes, I sing along with Girish and all my other favorite kirtan singers while I walk, even when there are people around. The unofficial motto of this city is "Keep Austin Weird," and I figure that my out-loud kirtan contributes to the good weirdness. Feel free to sing along to the video if you want! :-)



11 comments:

  1. I completely agree. We currently live in the woods, so the closest gallon of milk is a 15 minute drive away (8 miles or so) on a narrow road. I love it out here, but I hate being so dependent on a car. We recently got a place for the summer where everything was a 15 - 30 minute walk. There were wide sidewalks and we didn't need the car for anything. It was so freeing!

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    1. The same for me! I live in a very rural area where driving is required (my husband likes to drive, thank goodness), so this urban adventure in Austin is something I have not experienced in a very very very long time. :-)

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  2. I live in a little town, about 6 miles from Seville, on top of a hill. I bike everywhere around town to get bread, or something from the supermarket or the pharmacy. Lately, I have been going even to Seville biking to my drama classes or to row in the river. That's a 12 miles round trip. I feel alive, and fit. Thanks for your post, it's really reassuring. All the best for you and your dad.

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    1. That sounds WONDERFUL, Pia! I didn't even learn to drive until I was 25 because before then I was living in the San Francisco Bay area, and then in Europe... being able to walk, bike, use public transit: to me, that is freedom. Thank you for your good wishes. -)

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  3. I think I need a wagon to start walking to the grocery store -- it's just a ways away, but far enough so the bags get too heavy. You're right though: walking and biking are more common in other countries and it's a wonderful way to refresh when under stress. I'd rather be plugged in to my stories and walk than many other things. I'm glad this is available to you in your sad times. Take care. ~ Sheri

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    1. My grandmother never drove and brought groceries home in a huge basket on the back of her 3-wheel bike (looked like a huge tricycle). She lived to age 99. I have not followed in her footsteps...yet.

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    2. Ohhhh, a three-wheeled bike: that sounds wonderful! I can manage on two feet, but I'm not so steady on a bike... but I bet I could do well on three wheels. Your grandmother sounds like my kind of lady! :-)

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  4. You definitely appreciate the weight of things when you tote them! I go a few times each week so I never have more than my shoulder bags... anything big, I just get from Amazon. But milk, eggs, orange juice, even some good produce: it's so nice to have it all close at hand! And I appreciate it all so much! :-)

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  5. Laura,

    We lived in town for a while and I did enjoy the walks- walks to Farmer's market, to school, to shopping, you name it, we walked there. Alas! We bought a home couple years ago in & now We live 7 miles outside the town. I do not bike So car is the way for me. My husband and son enjoys biking; Steve used to bike to work, even when it would be drizzling. Awesome is looking forward to Spring so he can start biking (or if I can drop off his bike at school so he & dad can bike home).

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  6. Laura,

    The kirtan is soothing. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Girish is one of my favorites! There are so many of these fusion artists, in India, the U.S., Europe, all over. I wish there had been an Internet of music back when I was younger: I am really jealous of how the kids today can build their music libraries with music from all over the world, just a click away. It's a music miracle!
      And, of course, having music makes car rides more bearable too...and airplanes for that matter! :-)

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