Wednesday, July 8, 2009

a weekend of driving

(by Tracy)

Despite having no car, I put on a lot of car miles this past weekend.

It started on Friday. I reserved a zipcar to go to my bookclub in Worcester. Worcester??? you might be wondering... why would I go to a bookclub in Worcester? I've been going for about six years to this group and we read books (fiction and non-fiction) from different cultures and experiences than our own. We all come from multi-racial families and I really like all the women in the group. I reserved the zipcar for four hours for a total cost of $43.05 (includes the tolls). While driving I started thinking about the cost of the trip and the value I get out of going to visit with this group. I asked myself if the bookclub is worth the resources I was expending to get there and back. For instance, could I recreate this experience closer to home? Am I missing out on an opportunity to build local community around the exploration of multi-cultural issues? This is exactly the sort of thing Pat and I thought would happen - we would start becoming more conscious of our choices and perhaps seek ways to align them more closely with our values. I haven't yet worked through all the choices with the bookclub yet. I think I'll investigate bus options to get to and from Worcester (I already know the commuter rail is not a good choice - the timing is terrible!). Stay tuned on this one. It will be a few months before I figure it out. Next month I'll be out of town, and the following month everyone is coming to my place.

I got home at about 1:15 or so and at 1:45 we got a phone call from our good friend Jessica. On their way to come to stay with us for the weekend and bringing along another friend, her husband and 4-year-old son, their car broke down in Natick and she wanted to let me know that they were going to take a cab the rest of the way. I couldn't have that, so I quickly went on to zipcar and found I could get another car within a half hour. I was able to find a car to fit all of us about a quarter mile away and was quickly on my way. I guarantee that this was a less expensive option than having a cab drive them all in (about 20 miles or so). It was a nice discovery that it was possible to help out friends in a pinch even though we don't own a car.

Yay zipcar!

On Saturday, I drove my kids to Rhode Island, for their vacation with my mother at the beach. I used our friend's rental car for the trip - it was a Mercedes and one of the fanciest cars I've ever driven. It was a nice ride, but it was challenging to figure out all the buttons. I had a moment of chagrin at the gas station when I couldn't close the gas tank. Luckily a guy on a motorcycle clued me in that locking the car was the reason for it. I sort of missed my very simple car at that moment.

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