Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Falling in love

I heard last night, an anti-war activist complaining about Americans who "love their cars." This statement, which gets tossed around for all manner of environmental causes, is not true for me. I don't love my car. It is a metal and plastic box, filled with the inevitable scratches that come from urban living. It has coffee and breakfast crumbs glued to the inside, and it costs money to make it work. What is there to love? It is just a thing.

What I DO love, however, is the freedom my car represents. When I am driving, I have control over my life. I can come and go when I please, I can take a detour whenever I want, and I can go as far as I want to go.

I used to live in a hippie cooperative house, a commune to the untrained eye, where we ate flax seeds and sang Kumbaya with a group of friends after potluck supper every two weeks. We composted, grew our own vegetables, and tried to re-use as much grey water as possible. I've lived in the urban simplicity movement. It is ingrained in a a part of me.

One of the things I struggled with in the voluntary simplicity lifestyle is the interdependence on steroids aspect of it. When I lived in the commune, no decision could be made without calling a house meeting. When I lived simply with just one other person, the guilt associated tossing one bottle in the trash, rather than rinsing it and putting it in the recycling, could be gut wrenching. Mindlessness is not tolerated when one is living with intention.

Living one's values is hard work. So what did I do? I re-examined my values. And I realized that freedom is more important to me than almost any other value. And then I bought a car. And I love it.

No comments: