My One-Year Anniversary!

This morning I woke up, packed a weekend bag and grabbed my bus pass on the way out the door. I hopped on the #17, per the norm, and got to work right on time. As  morning rituals go, I opened my email and was pleasantly reminded of what day it is; “You’ve made it to the end of your year in the City of Seattle’s One Less Car Challenge – WAY TO GO!!!!”.

July 9 marks my first year without a car since I got my driver’s license about ten years ago (woah, weird thought). Taking the car out of the equation has done quite a few interesting things to my life and I don’t know when I’ll take the plunge and get another one.

Aside from walking more and leaving extra time to get from place to place, a bunch of other things have changed in my daily life. My method of giving people directions is now ambiguous. “What’s the name of that street again, it’s the one the #44 goes down…I always go down Stone Way and turn on 35th, that’s the way the #26 goes…if you take Dexter, it’ll be quicker because there’s two lanes and you can get around the bus.” Not driving for a year really speeds the memory loss process–I now only know major street names and greatly appreciate number systems.

I’ve also finished lots of books! In the summer, standing at a bus stop with a book rocks. I get to work on the tan and exercise the brain at the same time. In the rainy months it’s a challenge to read at the stop, but a blessing to read during the ride–keeps my mind off the damp and musty smells of the stuffy commute. A trick: don’t spend more that $2 on any book read during the rainy season, that way when the raindrops curl the pages and weaken the spine, it’s actually added character, rather than a book collector’s nightmare.

And do I even have to mention eavesdropping, oddball conversations with strangers and people watching!?! Every time I swipe my pass, I know there’s day-making potential sitting somewhere in the rows of green seats. It’s kind of like picking a slot machine in Vegas; pick right and you’re rich! Pick wrong and, well, that’s another story…

A year into it I know I’ll eventually get a car again, but it might take longer than I originally thought. Being car-less, however, isn’t all butterflies and potato chips . One time I got totally drenched by a car driving through a puddle next to my stop. A handful of times the bus flew by at max capacity (thanks, Snowpocalypse). And despite how much I love people, some of them stink. Like shit.

So how am I going to celebrate my anniversary? I’m going to  jump on a train to Wenatchee where I’ll joyfully borrow  Dad’s ’87 Camero. T-tops, loud muffler and a 5-speed transmission are totally worth two days of questionable emmissions.

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