Thursday, July 17, 2008

Caring isn't enough, be willing to change

These two things may not be related, but just 'cause it suits me I'm going to pretend they are. My parents got back yesterday morning from an Alaskan cruise. My mother told the story last night of a canoe paddle they took to a glacier, which has apparently receded tremendously in the past couple of years. She and my father were so impressed by the size of the glacier and yet shocked at how far it had receded. That damn global warming.

It seems like in the very next breath, we were talking about hybrid cars, how they're going to sell my father's car since he can no longer see well enough to drive, and trade my mother's car in for a hybrid. So of course I had to brag about my current gas mileage (49.3) and how I've gotten there.

Just repeating the lesson from the last post: the good gas mileage requires recalibrating your driving techniques, going slower, trading in Speed Racer for pokey, Sunday smell-the-flowers driver. To illustrate it to my parents last night, I said you had to be willing to drive in the right-most lane up Waldo Grade.

Oh no, my mother responded immediately, I can't possibly drive in the right lane up that hill. No way. I used to have to when we had that goddamn Volkswagen Camper, but no way, not anymore...

Which has made me reflect on something that of course I already knew, that we all already know, but bears remembering.

It just isn't enough to care about how shitty things are, to talk about global warming, or to buy stuff or a car that will have less impact. We need to go farther than that and be willing to change our personal habits. Buying and driving the hybrid car -- ok, that's great, it definitely reduces impact, but it's just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak). Why is it important to have an identity as a person who drives fast, who is zippy, has umph? I suffer from this too (check out my coffee addiction, and nostalgia for the brief period during which I was hyperthyroid).

We have to be willing to make what might seem like personal sacrifices -- give up the zippy frame of reference, quit buying so much crap, focus on what matters inside. Seriously, it's so much better for all of us, on the inside and the outside, right this minute and for the future, to make the more significant, personal change to slow down, slow down, slow down.

Sure, buy the car, then take that impact and expand it out bigger.

1 comment:

Catherine DeGear said...

Ariane -

I stumbled across your blog this week and have been enjoying reading it during my lunch breaks at work.

So much of what you write about I can relate to personally: the Year of ME 2007 (I had one too, although I wan't planning on it happening but am glad it did), the bit about wearing armour as an interior defense against vulnerability, the uber-awareness of birds, flowers, animals and nature to name a few.

I wish I had a Prius but unfortunately I can't quite afford to take on a car payment after finally paying off the damn gas guzzler that I blushingly admit I own.

But I do agree with you about the notion of "slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down...." I've always had a hyperactive overanalytical mind which translates sometimes into hyperactive actions and one of things that I began working on during my Year of Me was trying to slow down while also expanding my ability to open myself up (namely through exercise). I still am working on it. Therefore I find this particular entry instructive and helpful in reminding me to slow down. And I'm pretty sure the next time I drive up Waldo Grade, I'm going to think of this entry, swing a hard right over to the right lane and yes, slow down. :-)

Erm, anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and getting me to focus on slowing down. There is so much more I'd love to say but a) I have to get back to my job (ugh) and b)I really don't want to clog up your blogspace :-)

Take care and keep writing.

namaste -