Duke and I have been together for almost three years this December. In our first year together, we traveled 8,000 miles around the country, visiting National Parks, roadside attractions, and even Vegas (what a night!). Through thick and thin, Duke has carried my heavy loads and I have taken care of him like all Southern women do with their men. He is reliable, he listens to the music I like, all my friends love him, he makes me feel free, and I have honestly grown really attached to him. So attached, in fact, that it is hard to picture my life without him. Thus, our imminent breakup is a thought I sometimes cannot bare. Especially since we are parting so he can be with someone else — my father. If you are disturbed by this then you haven’t caught on to my subtle hints and not-so-funny plays on words.
Duke, my friends, is my car. Rather, he is my beautiful silver Jeep Liberty that has served as a loyal companion for the past three years. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I truly love him. I mean, I clearly love him… I refer to him using human pronouns and I basically just described a relationship without even trying. Perhaps this is why I’m single. But good news, eligible bachelors of the South: I am leaving behind my commitment to the inanimate man that has been occupying all my time and love so that I can make the ultimate commitment to sustainability.
This idea was born more than a year ago when I realized that having a Jeep and loving the earth don’t go hand in hand. In a (very short) conversation with my parents, I brought up the idea of selling my beloved vehicle to buy a scooter. That idea was shot down quicker than a dumb deer on the first day of hunting season. So, I vowed to use my car less and less until I was more accustomed to walking or riding my bike than getting in my beautiful gas guzzler to run an errand.
It normally takes a blessing in disguise to make big changes in my life.
Exhibit A: When we were living in Florida, my mom ordered deli meat from our local Publix. When she got back home she realized the label was printed in Spanish. After that I remember a lot of yelling about how nothing was in English anymore. We moved to Georgia shortly after (way against my will) and now I couldn’t picture my life any other way.
Exhibit B: I got a speeding ticket on the way back from a trip to Florida this past summer. This wasn’t my first trip to the rodeo. I’ve probably paid for a new AP class in every county I’ve visited thanks to the expensive tickets I’ve paid. Normally, one of my parents would yell at me about the repercussions of my actions (higher insurance costs, emptying my bank account, points on my license, etc.). This time, however, my Dad reminded me of the importance of my life and how I need to slow down a little sometimes. He finally got through to me. Though I had to pay one of the most expensive tickets I’ve ever had, and deal with an asshole cop (for the 16,509th time), I really learned my lesson and I have been watching my speed ever since — really.
And because I am used to looking for the silver lining in everything, I had to do so when my Dad recently got into a car accident and totaled his car. It was scary for everyone. He was lucky to be able to literally walk away from the accident with scrapes on his leg and a broken hand. And because he’s a baller, he only missed a total of four hours of work. With all of the people watching over him from… wherever they are… my Dad got through everything with minimal damage — unlike his poor car.
After a week or so, I finally saw the rest of the silver lining: I have someone to give my car to. It’s finally economical and reasonable to get rid of my car. Before, I would be selling Duke with car payments still left to pay, a few scrapes and bruises from my crazy driving, and a lot of miles from all of our getaways. By giving the car to my Dad I am not only achieving my dreams of living car-free, but I am also supporting my family in what little ways I can (which is a good feeling no matter who you are).
And since my Dad has a heart and brain made of gold, he was kind enough to offer to buy me a brand new bicycle to “pay” me for all the money he and my mom are saving not needing to buy a new car. Win-win-win? I think so. Win for me, win for Dad, and win for Earth. So, if everything goes as planned, in a couple weeks I will lose Duke, but gain [insert name of the bicycle that I will obviously assign a name to because I name everything]. Though I am sad to lose the convenience of my car (and the ridiculous bond that I feel with him), I am happy to finally be able to make this commitment to sustainability.
This time next month I will post about my new car-less life. In other words, any suggestions for the name of my new bicycle?