Bob's Links and Rants

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Thursday, May 08, 2003

Take the bus or walk, and meet people!(Reader warning: personal stories combined with nagging.) As part of my attempt at a more simple, energy-conserving lifestyle, I try to avoid driving my car as much as possible. Frequently, I ride my bike, which provides similar freedom to driving, and more exercise. Unfortunately, it provides a similar level of stress to driving, since I have to deal with the same horrendous traffic and obnoxious drivers, but on even more unequal terms. Since my employer offers a free city bus pass if I do not purchase a parking sticker, I have been taking the bus frequently since last September. The city bus gets me to and from work, or from home to downtown, while University buses (always free) help out on other trips.

One side effect has been that people offer me rides, and I get to know them better. Yesterday, I was walking toward the bus stop to take the bus from work to soccer when a man who works in my building stopped and offered me a ride. This was a guy who never smiled or said "Hi" in the hall, and I had kind of given up on him. I didn't even know his name. But then he stops, backs up, and offers me a ride! So we talked about soccer and softball, and he dropped me off right at the soccer field. Also, at lunch I walked to the Chinese restaurant, and on the way back a woman from my department gave me a ride. I told her I had the tofu homestyle for lunch, and she says "I didn't know you were a vegetarian!" Since she's the one who usually orders food for group lunches, it will definitely be to my benefit that she now knows there are TWO vegetarians in the group! I've also gotten rides to or from soccer from teammates, getting to know them better as well. I try not to force rides out of anyone--most of the time I can either bus or walk my way to where I'm going if necessary, and I ask to make sure people don't go way out of their way to give me a ride (where's the energy savings in that?). But still, it frequently works out as a nice impromtu carpool!

So leave the car at home and try walking or taking the bus! All sorts of interesting things happen.