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Being Green

I thought I’d enter the 21st century and also do what I pledged to do once I’d finished my MFA: start a blog and website for my writerly self.  So that’s the first level of green-ness: I’m new to this whole self-promotion thing.  The only blog I’ve ever kept was a triathlon training blog, and I think it had three readers.

But why start a blog today, on the 3rd day of fall, the 4th week of being mom-of-a-Kindergartner,  the 45th day post-MFA graduation?

Because I’ve set an October challenge for myself, and I have to tell everyone about it in order to keep myself honest.  October, in case you’re not keeping track, starts one week from today.  And so, one week from today, I will embark on the following:

I, Janet Buttenwieser, will not drive my car Mondays-Thursdays for the month of October.

I’d like to go all-out green and give up my car for the entire month, maybe not even ride in a car.  But that would mean the other members of my family would need to give up things, and I would need to give up things, and I’m not in for that kind of sacrificing, at least not at this stage.  Monday-Thursday is what i can manage.  It’s not as slick-sounding as all month.  But it’s something.

The Monday-Thursday rules:

1. no driving my own car* from 12:01AM Mondays to 7AM Fridays.

2. no getting other people to do things for me that I “can’t” do because I “can’t” drive.  For example, Wiley isn’t allowed to ferry kids to an activity that would normally be my responsibility.

3. no catching rides from others to anywhere within 2 miles of my house.

* in general, no driving others’ cars either, but there might be exceptions to this.  If, for example, the person I’m carpooling with from Greenwood to Burien for writing tutoring every Monday morning wants me to drive her car, I’ll drive.

The motivation
Now that I have two kids at two different schools, and Caleb has a couple of extra-curricular activities, I feel like I spend my entire day in my car.  It’s not an uncommon experience, the plight of the soccer mom, but one which already fatigues and disheartens me.  Because I hate to drive.  Especially that kind of driving, the in-city, in-traffic, trying-to-find-parking, kids fighting in the backseat and throwing goldfish crackers at each other kind.  Driving around town is starting to feel like that torture device in THE PRINCESS BRIDE.  Not life-sucking, but maybe soul-sucking.  Or at best, annoying.

I live in a city.  I can walk, bus, or bike to most everything I need or want to do.  So why have I set up my life, my family’s life, to be so car-dependent?  Can I survive without my car, or will trying to be a bus/bike commuter with the kids in tow be its own kind of torture?  I guess I’m about to find out.

And why not Fridays?  Well, Fridays Helen is home with me.  She takes a gymnastics class, and because she has a disorganized Mom, the class at the gym closest to our house was full by the time I got it together to sign up, so we go to one across town.  We *could* take the bus to and fro, and we might give that a try, but it will take us most of the day to get to and from gymnastics, so I don’t want to commit to that.

I’m hoping to get an essay out of this experience, but before the essay comes the blog, so I’ll be recording this adventure here for all who care to follow along.

This week is prep week, in which I support the economy by acquiring the following: bike trailer, better bike rain jacket, lots of flashing lights.

I had to interrupt myself while writing this blog post because I realized that I’d been parked in a two-hour zone for nearly three hours.  No ticket, thankfully, but it would have been some poetic justice on the city’s part if I had, no?

This blog/website will be prettier sometime in the near future.  I’m getting the elves right on it.

2 thoughts on “Being Green

  1. Jody B.

    Janet, your life is my life! I too am horrified that I live in the city, within easy reach of all sorts of public transportation, yet I spend an insane amount of time in the car. Our only thin strand of greenness is that we only own one car, which is one of those fuel-efficient diesels, and my husband commutes 20 miles round trip by bike to work. But it doesn’t change the goldfish-throwing reality for me. So I applaud your effort and look forward to hearing how it goes!

  2. iriswriter

    Kudos to you – blogging, cycling, bus-ing, walking. Save that bike trailer after the kids outgrow it; I use mine, now, as a trunk for my iZip electric bike. Looking forward to reading your blog.

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