Monday, June 9, 2008


I don't remember the day I fell in love with my husband. I remember the instant, what he did that made me realize I was in love with him, but I don't remember the day otherwise. Forrest Gump said, "You know it's funny what a young man recollects? 'Cause I don't remember bein' born. I don't recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don't know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world." Like most people, I remember the dates of important things: first dates, anniversaries of certain things, the day I got my dog (December 30, 2005), the day I got my second dog (September 16, 2007), my wedding day, etc. ad nauseum. This doesn't (and shouldn't) surprise most people.

I am shocked, however, at my ability to remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when gas prices hit new highs. I remember the exact moment I first saw gas over $2, then $3, and today, $4. I was a first-year teacher in the spring of 2004 when it hit $2. I was driving home from school on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and the gas station across the street said $2.04; it had said $1.97 before school. I had just moved to the "big city" in the summer of 2005 to take a new teaching job when it hit $3. Patrick and I had been watching the prices steadily rise, and there was a gas station about a block from my new apartment. I had said, "No way will it hit $3." It did one night on my way home from a shift as a waitress at Grizzly's. It has hovered between those two and slighly above for three years now. Now today, my first day of summer vacation, a tenured teacher with a renewed license and everything, will be forever remembered as the day gas hit $4. I had plans with two of my sisters in law to shop for reunion t-shirts and have lunch. En route to the shirt store (only 3 miles away) I saw $3.99 (yikes! I thought), $3.89 (oh, good, some sensibility), and then $4.09 (Holy Shit! What happened to 3.89?). The next two gas stations I saw were also 4.09. (This is the city; I did indeed pass five gas stations in only three miles.)

It's sad. I don't understand it, but I don't need to. It's a reality that none of us can escape. Even if you don't drive, you pay for it in everything else. One of my goals for the summer is not to drive as often. I will drive to the dog park (because walking the dogs to get there is tooooo hard); I will drive to the grocery store (because a backpack only holds so much); I will drive when I need not to be sweaty from biking. And I suppose I'll drive when something is just too far to peddle to, but I don't intend on there being too many of these. This will include more one-stop shopping, planning in advance, and general motivation. I am up to the challenge. Are you?


Anonymous said...

Great challenge!!! I have been biking and busing to work since April! I even take the bus when I have things to do after work, most times I just find different routes. I am also carpooling with friends and Trav and I are running from home instead of driving to the lakes. We also opted for one trip to each lake per month this summer (Diersens and Kaisers). This may not seem like a sacrifice, but it is. We also plan to bike to Plymouth! Yea for little changes and for your challenge Em!!!
- Heather

Molly said...

I have to learn how to bike again. :) I was just thinking this as I drove back from the vet's today: I couldn't have biked with a cat in tow. But yes, I was just thinking it's time to bike more too, though I often walk downtown, which is easy. Too bad the MFA is an hour away, but Ryan and I plan to car pool. I was just trying to see if there were some org to join (you know, like the eating local challenges and whatnot), but I didn't spot anything with the easy keywords. I'll get back to you after more searching.


Molly said...

Les said...

I would love to bike to work every day. It's only 7 miles and pretty much the only place I ever go:-). Unfortunatley, the Arkansas River is in my way! The 6 lane highway that crosses into Maumelle doesn't allow bikers. Good for you girls though!

Angie said...

I know my body has adjusted to walking to the train everyday. That trip alone gives me about an additional 5000-6000 steps per day.

Lane and I think it's silly when people comment 'you walk that far to go to the train!?!?!'. It's only 12 minutes, jeez. Our next door neighbor drives to the station each day. What a waste.

I would like to find a place to buy one of those metal carts (that old people use) to haul groceries in. It would be a haul to the store and back, but do-able on the weekends.

Jen said...

I love this challenge... I do ride my bike often and have thought about biking to school. I hate that I go to school in the largest city without public transportation, so there isn't much of an alternative to riding my bike or driving. Once school is done though I am giving up driving for most things for the rest of the summer!