As a suburban mom with five children, I spend hours each day in my car, traveling less than ten miles, carting valuables of all shapes and sizes to and from schools, stores, sporting events, and medical facilities. All this wasted time spent sitting on my keister, irked by snarled traffic and frantic drivers, enveloped in toxins spewing from head-to-toe vehicles weighs on my conscience like sand piled high in an hourglass. If I don’t flip direction soon, I might just crack. Just puttering along the back streets of Temecula, CA in my 10 year old Honda Odyssey costs me $70-$140 per week for gas. My husband spends $100 a week on his two-hour daily commute. Even with no other expenses, (like an actual car payment), that’s a hefty monthly bill! “Cable TV or Gas this month, Honey?” “Music Lessons for Little Girls or another tank of Gas?”
Yet for all the money we pay to ‘get up and go’, oil company executives have us right where they want us, raking in 17.9 million a year (http://online.wsj.com/article/APd94875562bad490b93969845999404b8.html)? Why should we give these few lucky mortals so much of our hard-earned money while fighting tooth and nail not to become lazier, poorer, and more irate each day, flipping off strangers from behind spotty side windows?
I live in a suburb with no accessible mass transportation; I’m stuck in a land of strip malls, desert sun, and some of the worst air pollution in the world (http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_12247707); I’m a worn-out, stay-at-home mom with little gumption and even less sporting gear. Just how possible is my quest to become car-free? Can this Little Red Riding Hood really forgo the ride and rely instead on her own two feet?
We shall see….