Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Just Drove A Car!

This being April 1st I thought this would make a good topic, though this is no April Fools Joke... anyway it wouldn't have been a very good one.

I've been in Portland for going on a week now and even though I've spent most of my days traveling from coffee shop to coffee shop in search of the best Americanos and free wifi I haven't mustered the resolve to sit down and address any of the issues swirling through my head. Honestly, this blog has come to feel like a chore more than something enjoyable or a way to get ideas out of my head, which are just a few of the reasons I started this damn thing in the first place.

No... it took me renting a car and getting out of Portland for an afternoon to actually sit down and write. So let me address the car, which I know seems unusual since this blog is about being carfree, doesn't renting a car and driving go against what I'm trying to do here? Ashley, the reason I'm out here in Portland for a week, is currently at a job interview in the burb of Sherwood, so rather than go the tortuous route of public transit (more than 90 minutes on a bus) we rented a car for a day and took a 25 minute drive south of the city to Sherwood. Ashley pointed out very correctly that me renting a car to whisk her to her interview and save her from transit hell while saying fuck it to my little carfree project is LOVE!

Sherwood sits on Highway 99, a four lane expressway, with the usual clusterfuck of strip development that eats away at any sense of place. Sitting in Starbucks (If it ain't Stumptown it ain't fucking coffee) having only seen this strip development I thought aloud to Ashley "Sherwood... I Sherwouldn't."

Luckily I explored a little off the Godless Corporate Strip and wandered into the old downtown... blink and you could easily miss it. I'm now sitting in a nice little local coffee shop right across from the train tracks. Obviously Sherwood was at one time dependent on the railroad, before the traffic engineers decided it would be a great place to plop a highway at the edge of town. Its a hidden gem in an otherwise unimaginative suburban setting.

I don't really know where any of this rambling is meant to lead... in circles maybe? I almost feel bad for losing interest in this blog, I feel like I've given up on a goal. Here I am in Portland having an 'almost carfree' vacation with only a week left to go in my year and I haven't even written anything profound about my year long experience nor summed up what I learned from this little project. I don't really see me having the time in the next few days either, the best I can promise is getting a little bit of writing done on the train ride back east.

As for right now... thanks for coming along on this journey with me... hope y'all found it as comical as I did.


Lisa said...

Well, how did it feel driving a car?? Is it like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget??Sometimes you are too hard on yourself. Congratulations on the year. I'm sure there is a lot more bike-commuting in your future.

joshuadf said...

I don't think renting a car to get to places with little or no transit is any problem. Use a car when it makes sense. Take the bus or train when it makes sense. Walk or bike when it makes sense, and work toward it making sense more often.

I've enjoyed what you've written since it gives perspective on being "carfree" in a mid-sized city. I don't even remember how I came across the blog but it's always fun to see it come across my RSS reader.

Another idea: what do you love about Missoula? I grew up in Portland (now live in Seattle) and love it in a lot of ways, but it's gotten big and expensive.

SWIX said...

ha! just stumbled across your blog only to find you driving ;)
but no worries, it makes you appreciate the joy and freedom of pedaling every other day of life. besides, it IS a good idea in life to occasionally go to the dark side so that you can return to the light with renewed vigor and clearer lenses for your sunnies ;)
take it from a gal living in a motorbus, but currently enjoying the lap of luxury while house sitting!
And besides, better to have a car while in sherwood, that way you can get OUT more quickly~


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