Does anyone else remember in the eighties (or was it the seventies?) when we used the phrase ‘spare the effort’ to chastise someone for wasting our time? Like ‘say it to the hand’, or whatever.
No? Just me then…
I’m finding the different responses from people about our decision to go car-free really interesting. As mentioned previously, many people’s first response is about how difficult it must/will be with a small child. (I reckon it would probably be harder with a hormone-addled teenager whose biological clock is suddenly insisting they borrow Dad’s car and circulate aimlessly around the inner city like those early season young houseflies you suddenly find in your house revolving endlessly in the middle of the room in some sort of mysterious insect holding pattern – ‘fly’-boy racers?) Other people have already commented here that many people cope with raising children without owning a car or living nearby many facilities. Since that post we’ve had multiple friends come forward offering their services as emergency transport, including our neighbours (remember those things?) We’re feeling really loved!
Mostly everyone has been quietly respectful of our decision even if they think we’re ‘buutsies’ (our favourite Seraphine-ism – rhymes with footsies) I’m still waiting eagerly for the ‘don’t you think it’s a little irresponsible?’ response, which may quite possibly never come. But one lives in hope.
The other response I’ve been getting is “why did you decide to do it in winter, of all times?” Usually accompanied by the sort of expression one reserves for people talking loudly to themselves on buses. On the surface it seems a fair enough question but if you really think about it, what they’re actually saying is “winter’s a rather inconvenient time to be without a car.”
Yes, what with this strange, possibly climate change-related weather probably partly caused by our use of fossil fuels, this is an extremely inconvenient time to get rid of our car.
On the other hand, we’ve had some excellent responses from people too. Here’s one following an email discussion I was having. This great comment is from Sophia who I quote, with her permission, verbatim.
People just impose their own ideas of what your life should be like. People are always remarking that my “poor wee kids” have to walk miles in the rain and cold (which they do, and they do whinge and bitch about it). However, they are warmly dressed, it’s good for them, and the rest of the world and they appreciated it when they realised how easy they found climbing Rangitoto/doing school cross country etc. The whole time we had my Mum’s car (last week) they complained like anything about sitting in the car.
So there is an upside to marching Seraphine up and down the hills of Lyttelton at the tender age of 21 months. Hot-housing for cross country running. (Is there any money in that?)