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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vaguely Automotive

When you're a kid, a car is one of the most grown-up things you can own. It represents freedom and adulthood and responsibility. You take care of it and put money into it and it takes you places you would probably never go on your own. Maybe you traverse the country together, just the two of you. Sometimes it's the only thing, or space, you can call your own in an otherwise chaotic world.

Cars can keep you warm and dry and get you places, but they can also be a lot of trouble. For this reason, some people switch them frequently. Many Americans consider it a given that an adult should not be without a car for any significant length of time. No matter the trouble they've had with past cars, some people hardly consider their own lifestyle or needs before jumping into another one.

But there are people who don't have cars.

It's easy for the drivers to look out of the windows of their own cars and pity the bikers, alone, exposed, and vulnerable, under no power but their own. I know, because I've looked out of my car windows at bikers, with the empathy borne from experience.

Bikers are colder in the winter, it's true. They have to struggle harder against the wind. In many ways, they are more vulnerable and at risk.

But they're also more independent and in many ways have greater freedom because of what they don't have. They are aware of their own strength and ability. They overcome their fears. They engage with the world in a way that drivers ensconced complacently in their cars couldn't imagine.

Some bikers are born to ride. Others find themselves carless after a short or long period of driving and decide to give it a shot temporarily. Some, like me, have always been bikers at heart, and remain bikers even when happily driving a car.

Winter reminds me how nice it is to have a car, and there are definitely things that make me miss my driving days. I'll probably have one again, if the opportunity and circumstances arise. Not because I need one or am looking, but because sometimes the right thing surprises you when you least expect it.

2 comments:

I Hope So said...

still, i want to be you when i grow up.

CëRïSë said...

I keep telling you that's not a good idea! But thanks anyway. =)