Diary of an American Shopper - Day 253
Okay, major confession time - I love my car. I love being behind the wheel and looking at the open road. There's nothing more iconic and American than our relationship to our car. It's James Dean, it's Steve McQueen it's NASCAR. Getting your license at 16 means being granted your freedom. Getting your first set of keys means getting your independence. Choosing your first car means expressing yourself. We're all intimately tied to our cars.
My family grew up going to Cape Cod and Lake Winnipesaukee for our family vacations. We stayed at Jonathan's Landing on the lake, and one of the coolest features they had was that everyone drove golf carts around the property rather than driving cars. Well, my dad - being the coolest dad ever - let me drive this golf cart when I was a wee youngin'. I had to be supervised, so it meant me dragging my dad out constantly when he'd rather read, exercise or do a puzzle, BUT he obliged and I got to drive. I remember we had to charge the cart every few days by plugging it into the outlet in the garage - if only filling my car up now was so easy.
Cut to the summer of my freshman year of college. I remember my dad going into my car to check something and coming into the kitchen where I was sitting and obviously watching the Food Network. He said, "Alicia, where have you been driving?" and I replied, "Why?" He sat down and looked at me, and I knew I was in some kind of trouble. He then proceeded to tell me that I put 11,000 miles on the car that summer. WHAT?! I still don't know how I did that. I drove in and out of Boston a lot. But it was still a shock. Maybe I wound up driving further for that gallon of milk that my mom requested than I actually did - did I go all the way to Pittsfield or Rockport? I do have to say on one jaunt I looked up and read the "Welcome to Vermont" sign, so who knows. The numbers don't lie.
A number of years later I was working on a film in Nebraska and my favorite memory there also involved a car. Not my car, but a car all the same. One of the production assistants on the shoot, was 16 and very new behind the wheel. He was driving to set which happened to be in a corn field and cut the wheel too hard so he disappeared behind the giant stalks of green. Then a few miles down the road, he zoomed out ahead and maintained his path as if nothing happened. He came into the production office complaining that his breaks weren't working and asked me if I could help him track down a mechanic. The problem, corn stalks were wrapped around the wheels. That'll stop you every time.
I have driven many miles just to see the ocean, or to visit a good friend and now later in life to get to a shoot in far away states, and it saddens me to learn how this precious gift of freedom is partially responsible for the destruction of our most precious gift - this earth that we live on. I have tried to do my part. I use public transportation as much as possible, I try to car pool as much as I can, and I bought a more fuel efficient car - I now average 32.5 miles per gallon on the highway. So that's pretty good. But I can't break my connection to this completely revered of objects. After working on this weeks videos, I have learned more tips to implement to help limit my environmental impact.
How about you?
I mark day 253 an honest reflection of concern.