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People say the darnedest things.

December 22, 2009

It’s not just kids. Grown-ups are arsenals for jaw-dropping quips too. There’s that caller on Ellen who said the line about Jesus and drinking. Slate has a running column on the ridiculous things Vice President Biden has said. And the other day someone said to me, “I think tooth brushing is a conspiracy created by dentists.”

Unsurprisingly then, when I tell people I’m car-free, they blurt out some real gems:

  • Then how’d you get here?
  • Oh, you have an SUV?
  • I took the bus once when I was in London
  • I love my car.
  • How do you get to Target?

Here are some more things people have said upon learning that I don’t have a car:

  • By choice?
  • Do you miss having a car?
  • That must save you a lot of money.
  • Good for you, but I could never do that.
  • When are you buying a new one?

Here are some things people rarely, if ever, say when I tell them I don’t have a car:

Here are some things I wish people would say when I tell them I’m car-free:

  • Congratulations!
  • What a great idea.
  • How can I do that?

Here are some things famous people have said that relate, if loosely, to the car-free life:

  • “When you don’t drive, people always assume [your license] was taken away.” – David Sedaris
  • “We did 13 press events in one day and I never used a car until the very last one.” – Ed Begley, Jr.
  • “I didn’t like [my Porsche] because it was bad for the environment. My dad surprised me last night with a black Prius.” – Miley Cyrus
  • “We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?” – Lee Iacocca

What do people say when they hear you’re car-free? Or what do you say about car-free people? What should we be saying about being car-free? Go ahead—say it.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2009 11:10 am

    Living in a community that has a point system for running over pedestrians, I often say, “I wish I could go car free, but don’t want to die at the wheel of a yuppy driving a Hummer, drinking a Starbucks latte, talking on their iPhone, and smoking a cigarette all at once.”

    I’m willing to put my life on the line for many things, but not that. I’m all aboard with yah on the car-free life, but southwest Connecticut doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a safe pedestrian culture. Rather than ending this comment on a note that you’re trying to encourage folks to avoid, I’ll end with something else I ususally say, “I wonder how I can move my community in the direction of having a better pedestrian culture?” Got any advice Amy V?

  2. avaerewyck permalink
    December 23, 2009 4:01 am

    Wow, if that’s not the million-dollar question, to which I hope No Car Go will one day find the answer! In the mean time, here’s one small thing you might do to battle the car culture in your community:

    Whenever possible, confront the drivers who have endangered your safety. Avoid aggression or antagonism – as that is not often effective and could put you in even more danger – and instead try to respectfully inform them that your safety was compromised. I’ve done this a few times on my bike, and I think if you can keep anger and petty argument out of the interaction, you just might get them thinking about their behavior and your situation as a pedestrian/cyclist.

    What do the rest of you think we can do to build car-free community? (I’ll be dealing with this issue more in future posts, and if you share an idea here, I’ll highlight it in a post in the future.)

  3. Yuri permalink
    December 23, 2009 5:02 am

    Has anyone spontaneously broke out into Queen’s “Bicycle” song?

  4. avaerewyck permalink
    December 29, 2009 10:35 am

    Fabulous idea, Yuri. I’ll have to try it next time. Hope the driver doesn’t counter with “Another One Bites the Dust.”

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