My pastor said a couple of weeks ago that he didn’t understand how vegan’s could drive cars. Okay, so I am not exactly vegan. I am still working on it. I am still working on a lot of things – like coming off my medication, learning to sleep without being drugged, figuring out how to go gluten free, and dairy free on a budget, and returning to a vegan (or close to) lifestyle.
The issue with food is that 1) I don’t handle change well 2) many foods leave me feeling sick 3) hunger is really bad for my mental health 4) I am too tired most of the time to make separate meals for myself each day 5) special foods cost a lot of money… I am sure there are more reasons. There always are. But that is not what this post is about.
Okay. I drive a van. Not exactly fuel efficient. Not exactly good for the environment. But we bought it second hand when we had all of our kids, and needed to fit 4 children, 3 in car seats/booster seats, in the vehicle. It is a 1999, and aside from a few bumps (the electrical system seems to be possessed, and goes off at will with flashing lights, and signals) it has been economical for us.
I would go without it. I really want to. But where we live, we hardly have any alternatives. Sure I walked home from town today, but that takes near an hour, with a very steep hill at the end. As has been true every time I have walked from town, I have been crashing since.
Then I could take my bike along that trail – and I have. Only again I don’t have the energy to ride often, and that hill… last time I could hardly move for days after, my legs burned so bad (even though I walk my bike up the hill.)
And even with those options, the lakefront trail is flooded and inaccessible through the late spring and summer, and muddy or packed with snow and ice most of the rest of the year. Not exactly something I can depend on all the time.
Aside from that, I live out of town – and the road in is twisty, turny, and full of steep hills all along the way. I tried it once, and was sure I wasn’t going to survive, my heart felt like it would burst in my chest, and I was so overheated and dizzy I could hardly think. That day it was pouring, and not exactly hot. Plus the road in is somewhat narrow (going down to 1.5 lanes with the snow) and the drivers can’t see around the curves to make it safe. There is no sidewalk. No shoulder. There are hills on one side, and drops on the other. It really isn’t an option.
We aren’t exactly swimming in money that we could buy an electric, or even hybrid vehicle – or even a new, fuel efficient vehicle, for that matter. There are no buses anywhere near to where we live. Really, to live here, we need a car, and it takes money and energy to sell and move – plus, we don’t handle change well. None of us. And from what I have seen, there aren’t any comparable houses available in town within our budget. (I would go to smaller, but not for the same price as our house is worth, and that is what is being asked in town.)
When we moved here, I was running a daycare, and had no need to leave my home. My husband likes to drive (and isn’t so concerned about environmental issues as I am,) and my son was seven at the time, and homeschooling. It worked okay in the beginning though we did look in town first, but houses were selling fast at that time.
Now, my husband still does not mind driving – I am still the one in my family who is concerned about gas prices and environmental issues. My son doesn’t drive, doesn’t want to, but also rarely leaves the house – so is not really concerned about how to get to town, as he doesn’t want to.
For me… I dream of alternative transportation, and imagine all sorts of vehicles into existence that would make my life easier. But those thoughts remain unattainable – because of where we live, because of cost, because they don’t exist… and so I work with what I have, not what I want. What else can I do?