It’s possible that we have an unfair advantage as a family, going into this experiment.
I don’t drive and never have. Well, that’s not entirely true, I drove during protracted sessions of driving lessons, and I drove during two driving tests. Once I drove a friend to the supermarket. She wasn’t complimentary about my driving afterwards; I think she might have been a bit scared. Anyway, I did get my restricted New Zealand driving license, second go round, and I haven’t actually driven a vehicle since that day, which was over five years ago.
I simply don’t have any urge to drive and I’ve been lucky to have had very nice partners, who also happen to be excellent drivers, who didn’t and don’t mind ferrying me about the place, mainly because they are kind men, but also because they enjoy driving.
Furthermore, I really like public transport. I enjoy buses and trains and subways and ferries. I adore watching people and I like to be watched. I love to read books, and also to stare out the window at the view. It amuses me to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations and sometimes I simply gaze vacantly into the middle distance thinking incredibly vacuous thoughts, which is usually quite soothing. Most of all I like the decompression zone that public transport provides between home and work.
But although I dig the loser cruiser* so mightily, I haven’t actually been riding it much recently. We had a baby about a year and a half ago, and since then I’ve been mainly at home in a sleep deprived haze trying to raise the tiny tyrant. It’s rare that we leave Lyttelton.
Me and the bairn do a lot of walking up and down the hilly streets of the Ton. I’m raising her to tackle steep slopes from an early age, just as my father; whose encouraging mantra was “just over the next rise,” raised me and my siblings. Walking has always been a great source of pleasure to me, which, given that I have the self discipline of a decadent dormouse and hate team sports, ball sports, running and the gym, is probably the only thing saving me from being an enormous tub.
So am I cheating by making a big deal of this resolution? I don’t drive anyway, and therefore I’m used to finding other modes of transport. Well, yeah, but no, but yeah, as they say round these parts. Sure I’m no Merivale tractor wielding matron, but I am accustomed to leaping in our car and being chauffeured swiftly to places in ease and comfort. That convenience just disappeared. Plus there are a number of more specific practical difficulties attendant on being car free that we have already considered, or encountered, of which more in a separate post. It’s going to be an ongoing process of adjustment and reconsideration and not without discomfort.
*The charming Christchurch vernacular for their excellent fleet of regular, reliable and reasonably priced buses.