get out of your car and into your life….
One thing I have noticed about ditching the car and utilizing other methods of transportation…. I am much more engaged in the world around me while travelling.
In the car I just focus on the shortest route, keep an eye out for obstacles (cars, animals, old people), and spend a lot of time feeling anxious about traffic, and the time, and arguing with the bad news NPR keeps telling me.
On the Rapid I have to stay focused on the layout of the city. I have to strategically plan my routes and transfers and schedules to get where I am going. I think more about where the things I care about are located in relation to each other. I actively navigate my way around town. I really get to know my way around better, which is important to me. Having only lived here for 2 years, I still don’t know the city as well as I would like to.
Riding the bus I frequently find myself in neighborhoods I normally would not be in, realizing that there are a lot of cool places to discover in this city. Restaurants, music stores, coffee shops, book stores, parks, interesting architecture, community gardens, and public art are hiding in so many places. Sometimes it is a little shocking to realize how many cool destinations there really are in this city, and how much really escapes our attention when we are isolated in our cars.
On the bike I have a certain freedom that you cannot get from riding a bus. I wait for nothing. I can improvise routes at will. I don’t need to keep track of a 10 ride pass, or change cards, or transfer passes. I don’t care what time the next bus comes, or what stop I need to get off at, or ever reamember that I left my fucking wallet at home just as the bus pulls up to the stop!
It’s the little things that matter…
When I am on the bike, I find myself even more integrated into my environment… I notice little things more often because it takes longer to pass them, and I am also that much closer to them.
For instance, the cool sports bag (it’s NOT a man purse, damn it!) I found in Ottawa Hills that I use for a camera bag. I have found two wallets. I once found a $20 bill.
And today I scored me a nice touchscreen iPod on Kalamazoo St.
a mystery is solved…
The snow melted, so of course I recently have noticed that there are millions of empty liquor bottles of every size and style virtually everywhere you can go in this city. Then I have started seeing dead birds in startling proportions. I have seen dead geese, ducks, sparrows, robins, and finches in just the last week or two.
My wife thinks these two are related; the liquor bottles are really from the birds, which aren’t dead, just wasted… which might explain all the empty cigarette packs….