Hope rolls on as our 90-day car-free experiment comes to an end.
A lot can happen in three months. On January 6, Stephanie and I thumbed our nose at the man and sold our polluting diesel Passat back to VW. We walked, biked, rode the bus and took Uber. Every day was a transportation adventure.
On February 10, cancer changed everything. Stephanie had surgery and spent 32 days in the hospital. Our daughter drove home when Stephanie became ill. Robin and her car eased the burden of our suddenly more-complicated lives.
Stephanie has been home more than a month now. She’s getting stronger every day. Early on, she was in a wheelchair. Now she’s able to walk short distances with a cane.
On Saturday, we took a family outing to the Museum of Fine Arts. We went by METRO bus. Stephanie was nervous. We were all nervous. Our son Peter rolled her to the bus stop and, with just a bit of help, Stephanie stood up and stepped onto the bus. We all high-fived. The bus driver grinned.
Is car ownership in our future?
Maybe, but we’re in no rush.
One of Stephanie’s physical therapists reinforced for me a lesson about people and cars. Stephanie was sent home from the hospital with a wheelchair. At an outpatient therapy session several weeks later, the therapist asked if she could walk with a cane. Stephanie had no idea. She had a wheelchair by the bed, not a cane. Within two minutes, Stephanie discovered she could walk with a cane.
Don’t get me wrong. Cars are wonderful. When there’s one in our garage, though, my brain goes all mushy. I forget there are other options—options that may be safer, make more sense and even be more fun. If you’ve ever driven a mile to the store and realized later that you could have walked or biked there faster—and saved money and become healthier in the process—you know the feeling.
Yesterday I asked Stephanie if she thought we should buy a car. Right now, driving and car ownership are low priorities for her. That may change as she becomes stronger and more confident. For now, though, we have buses, Uber, Zipcar and rental cars available to us, and wonderful friends offer us rides all the time. And, who knows? Maybe someday we’ll be walking or biking again for transportation, just like in the old days … three months ago.
Today, it’s more than enough just to sit together on our front porch and think about the places we’ll go.