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Kat Marriner : September 1st, 2010

Driving Day

Less than a week before lift-off and the list of errands to run and things to do grows each day. Waking to cold rain, I thought today was the day to play the “get out of jail free” card and borrow my neighbor’s car. I’ve had her keys for a week while she is out of town and not even tempted to drive when I could instead get in a 25 mile ride while picking up necessary odds and ends all over town. Today was the day though, that I had much to do, little time and car keys in my pocket.

You’d think I’d be happy.

I was happy (perhaps even a sense of guilty-pleasure not wanting to tell Willie that I was, um, cheating), then I merged onto I-5. Bumper to bumper and lane-crossing crazies. Off the ramp on the north side of town and I find myself heading east when I needed to go west, and turning around meant going blocks out of my way thanks to multiple one-way streets. Finally heading in the right direction meant once again sitting in traffic–thinking all the while that something a cyclist never does is sit in traffic!

Errands uptown finished, I headed downtown and found the parking lot to my bank closed and searching for street parking for a momentary trip to test my ATM card ready for travel. On my bike I would have pulled right up to the ATM, put in my card and been on my way. Instead, found a 3 minute loading zone and ran. But dang! My card no longer worked and I needed to go inside and get it straightened out…. which meant moving the car and paying for parking. Paying for parking might be one of those costs of life that is built into the driver psyche, but to me it was as foreign as a VAT tax. I’ll think of that next time lock my bike to a pole or rackĀ  and be thankful I don’t have to pay for the privilege.

Back in the Subaru, it was fast approaching rush hour and I found myself seeking alternate routes back home that would take me on back roads also known as “cut-throughs” by people who don’t appreciate motorists passing through their quiet neighborhood street. I realized I was driving like a cyclist seeking the roads less trafficked.

By the time I got home, I was relieved to hang up those keys. Rather than enjoying the drive as a treat, it was all work and no play.

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