State of the Experiment

It’s bitter cold in Pennsylvania this week but it’s 10 degrees worse in Elgin. I know there are cities (like Oulo, Finland) near the arctic circle where they bike year round but I’m wondering if I have what it takes to go car-free the rest of the winter, by which I mean both stamina and gear.

For Christmas Parker’s mom gave all four of us rocking ski goggles. I am totally looking forward to being able to bike in the cold without fogging
Christmas chefs
up my glasses  at every stop light and maintaining visibility in the rain. That will be a major relief. But holed up with family warm and snug in the drowsy holiday glow, I can’t really put to test my stamina or my gear in the worst this winter has dished out yet.

 I also have not successfully tried ride-hailing or renting a car from Enterprise, which all leads me to believe that a month is just really not long enough to know whether it works for us to be car-free.

So, although there are still a few more days left in the month and I still have plenty more to say, I think I also have to admit as the month (and year) draws to a close that the results of my experiment are still inconclusive. Perhaps this is because I am not a scientist. And perhaps it’s because there’s more to this decision than numbers.

Would I save money if I sold my car? Decidedly yes. Could I probably still do my job well and be a good parent and not be totally burned out physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Probably yes (especially with a Tern GSD. Keeping the dream alive!). But am I ready for the leap of faith it would take to sell my car? I’m just not sure. What if it gets too cold? What if I discover I overlooked something or was terribly wrong? Can I really do this?

Back in Central Pennsylvania, I am reminded by
how heavily car dependent my childhood and teenage years were. We drove everywhere. Some of my family’s best bonding moments happened in a car. Some of my biggest shenanigans with friends revolved around travel in a car. I had the opportunity to make a lot of good and bad decisions that involved a car. I wonder if for me there is also a feeling of some cultural heritage lost in looking to lose a car. I am very happy with my life and where I live but there are also plenty of things I miss about home. Can I stand to make myself any more different from the way it was growing up for me? Or, am I already as different (and weird) as it gets, and I might as well stop pretending?

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