Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Driven to distraction

Over the last month, I've been dealing with one of those Life Stressors up near the top of the chart. I didn't want this blog to become about that, but I have had very little space in my head to think about anything else either, so I have been pretty silent.

Now, I find I've come to a place of stock-taking. Suburubia, like its region, is sunk deep in a drought, the kind that seems to confirm all my worst fears about global warming. An editorial in the local paper said scientists opine that the lush southeast is among the most at-risk areas, and that we are likely to become an arid plain before long. The drought-resistant clover I planted to increase nitrogen in the soil has all dried up, and chipmunks and moles are making my kitchen garden into swiss cheese with their attempts to find moisture. On the other hand, every tree and bush that I planted and mulched is thriving.

Other actions in my not-so-simple simple life have had equally mixed results. The west windows installed earlier in the year, plus extremely low humidity, have made it possible not to turn on the air conditioner or use the dryer yet this year, a first. The two rainbarrels that I bought in anticipation of water restrictions stand empty, still waiting for enough rain to make them worthwhile. Progeny is enjoying a week of Zoo Camp, away from the temptations of tv and Yu-gi-oh cards.

But the most mixed news of all, as you, dear reader, may have anticipated, is that my mileage for the year so far is almost exactly the same as my mileage last year. Since you'll remember that I made a promise to cut my driving in half, this is more than a disappointment, it's a travesty. Partly, it has to do with lending my car to someone who drives it 120 miles on the weekend, partly it has to do with unexpected driving due to the aforementioned Life Stressor, but mostly it's about my ineffectual attempts to use alternatives and my addiction to driving because it saves time, blah, blah, blah. Lord forgive me.

I have some serious thinking to do about the rest of this year. Most of the work I do is volunteer work with a serious claim to be about making the world a better place. I believe it to be literally true that I would need to give up about 2/3 of my volunteer work if I refrained from driving. But my driving is not making the world a better place; it is making the world a smoggier, warmer, more unstable place. As I said, I'm in a place of stock-taking. What are your thoughts?


Scrivener said...

Sorry to hear about your Life Stressor, and the difficulty of reducing the miles driven. Should the miles driven by someone you loaned the car to count against your own miles, though? That doesn't seem fair.

The Simpleton said...

Thanks, Scrivener. This is such a weird problem for me because I (against all odds, apparently) maintain a vision of myself as someone who is not addicted to car travel. I love public transportation, and not just in theory either. But apparently I love speed even more. I'll keep working on it.

ppb said...

I have been trying to cut down on my driving, too,but not successfully. I have a reasonably good excuse,but still.....(my plan was to walk to and from work, but there have been 4 shootings in my neighborhood in the last 3 weeks, and I'm antsy about being out.)

The Simpleton said...

Yowzer, PPB. Your excuse beats my excuse any day . . . not that that affords you any pleasure. I pray for peace on earth and in your neighborhood!