As we handed over the keys, the new owner of our little black Neon gave a confused look around.
“Did you guys bring another car? Do you need a ride to the Metro?”
“No thanks, we’re going to walk.”
We looked back at my very first car parked on an unfamiliar road and then we just walked away. We were ready for the next step in our journey and it felt amazing. As instructed, we followed a woodland path toward the Metro. The buyers had jokingly warned us that the “Red Fox” guarded the woods and many neighborhood dogs had gone missing. As we walked the path we saw a group of young boys chasing their black lab, “Get him before he reaches the woods! You know what happened last time!”
It was an truly an amazing path to exit upon.
After our pleasant 20-minute stroll down memory lane we finally made it to the busy city street. Goodbye morning was fleeting, but it wasn’t over. We walked to a nearby diner and reminisced over chocolate chip pancakes and their famous home fries. We remember all of the adventures our Dodge Neon had taken us on, our 2 trips to Bonnaroo being one of our favorites. We laughed at the fact that I had only driven six months out of the 7 years that I’d owned the car. Josh flipped to a picture on his cell phone of his jangly high school punk bracelet that used to hang from the car mirror, a little skeleton key chain dangling at its side. The waitress dropped the check beside Josh’s phone and he looked up. “Thanks.”
The rest of the weekend was spent in our usual routines, but now car free. Josh and I enjoyed our afternoon walks and we even remembered to drag our little red cart to the grocery store. We were really starting to settle into our new ‘car free’ lifestyle until stormy Sunday afternoon. We had a meditation class to get to and it was raining outside. We made an accidental hoof to the parking lot to retrieve ‘our car’. One step on the wet concrete and we felt stranded upon realizing, “Oh yeah, we don’t own a car.”
We felt truly defeated. Here we were attempting to do something good for ourselves, and instead we were slushing around in a huge puddle of rain with only my silver umbrella. So we started to walk and the grumbling began.
“I can’t believe we’re gonna be late!”
“Are you kidding me? We don’t have to go to this stupid thing.”
As our little bitter battle continued so did the rain. It fell even harder and our tempers grew with every missed raindrop.
“Hey, you’re not holding the umbrella over my head!”
We walked a good hour before the rain finally gave up. Now that the sun was shining we felt a little better. We laughed at our stubborn relationship with the rain and the enormous silver umbrella we owned. It started to feel alright again, “We can do this car free thing.”
And then we passed a Bikeshare kiosk.
“We probably passed 3 or 4 of those bike things!”
We were now close enough to our meditation class that we didn’t need the bikes, but it was a great reminder of our shortsighted response to not having a car. It’s not gonna be easy, but it is gonna be OK.
Isn’t that always the case?