As I walked to the market this morning, it occured to me (counting on my fingers) that it's been six months since I became a pedestrian.
No one from the State of California has contacted me (yet) about my citizenship being revoked for not owning a vehicle.
I've rented a car about once a month, usually to take Kid #2 to the orthodontist and dentist. I'll do major heavy shopping when I have a vehicle, stocking up on things like gallon jugs of bleach and vinegar, buying 40 pound sacks of water filter salt at Home Depot, cases of cheap red wine from Trader Joe's, things like that. Soda pop for the kids. Plants and amendment from the good local nursery.
I've discovered that Amazon.com has a "subscribe and save" program and that I can get quite a few things I like to keep on hand delivered, and at a discount. I have an "Amazon Prime" membership which I pay about $70 a year for and enjoy free shipping on almost everything.
Recently I stumbled on the notion that meat and dairy products are just not very good for you, so I no longer cart home liquid milk or cheese or eggs. I do bring home a lot more fruit and vegetables, though.
I have two large black mesh bags I'd used for camping years back and pressed them into service. I devised and had fabricated a 3" black nylon strap with rubber-coated black metal hooks on either end which I use like a yoke -- I hook the shopping bags on the ends and my forearms aren't numb by the time I get home. The strap lets me bear most of the load on my shoulders. I thought this was a clever tool. I'd seen movers using straps to help them move things at some point in the past, I think that's where the idea came from.
My left foot hurt, and I mistaken thought it was due to plantar fasciitis, which has turned out not to be the case. I went through a couple pair of walking shoes and tried heel cups and a fancy insole before I thought to wrap my foot with an Ace bandage. That helped a bit, then one day I wrapped more of my ankle and that turned out to make a huge difference. I remember my ex used to wrap the lower leg of her horse. Must be the same concept.
So between the strap and the Ace bandage nothing much hurts.
My walks are uneventful, but it's great to be outside and walking as opposed to teleporting in a vehicle and never being outside. It's like being on vacation where you don't drive... this is a bland suburban shrinkwrapped area, it's all been slapped up in the past twenty-five years or so, but it's home. We've been here going on seventeen years.
I've got an iPhone so I no longer carry my phone, iPod and digital camera. I have a mostly-jazz playlist that I listen to, heavy on vibraphones and saxophones. Great walking music.
There's a Trader Joe's, a Ralph's supermarket and a local health food chain called Sprouts within easy walking distance, it's about a three-mile round trip. I leave right after Kid #2 launches for school in the morning, as early as possible. I can foresee going marketing at six in the morning in the summer months.
Kid #1 still isn't interested in driving, and I have yet to see any vehicle I'm particularly interested in that isn't some weird vehicle or hobbyist car. If I'm going to buy another car, it has to be something the kids can make use of. Without having to maintain it, one of the modern cars which basically don't require any maintenance. I don't want to get another old aircooled VW.
I looked at an electric vehicle from Mitsubishi, but it's something like $30K and I can't make use of the $10K in potential tax credits due to how my income is structured. Cute little car with a 50 mile range. OK, they say 100 mile range but realistically I think it'd be more like 50.
I saw a mid-60s Toyota Land Cruiser with a short pickup bed -- I liked that quite a bit, but that's not practical for the kids to drive. Or maintain.
I can't bring myself to hitch up with a sedan. Gaah. Not that. I don't have the money or mid-life crisis which made buying a full-size truck attractive back pre-crash.
The exercise hasn't hurt me at all. I don't do much else outside of landry and housework and gardening that counts as exercise.
Overall... no complaints. I enjoy the slower pace of walking and having to carry things home makes sure I don't buy too many things. Today I hauled home forty pounds of groceries. And it wasn't all that difficult. That's about the maximum, though.
And I don't have to sit here at my computer being unemployed or underemployed or scouring Craigslist for freelance graphics work *all* the time. It's good to get out.
Life without a car. Who would have imagined such a thing?