Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cars -- our modern slaves

I hate cars. I love my car. I am conflicted.

I am an automobile addict. I'm just like those nineteenth century folk who recognized the evils of slavery but couldn't imagine how to maintain their lifestyle without it.

I hate making my way to work through a dead zoo of squirrels, cats, dogs and deer, left to rot on the asphalt after being crushed by some driver -- maybe a pyscho dirtbag who got a thrill from it, or maybe by some quiet librarian on her way home from work who couldn't swerve in time.

Although I've come close, I can say, knock on wood, that I have yet to kill an animal with my car. I dread the day when it finally does happen.

Our eight-lane death-rivers make life unimaginably harder for everything but vultures, cutting off ancient migration routes and water access, introducing terror and confusion and merciless, endless traffic where not so long ago, cool breezes blew through shady forests.

I hate how the modern American community is absolutely dependent on the automobile and how one takes his or her life into his or her hands attempting to be a pedestrian. And when the darn thing breaks down, unless one is blessed with wealth, all other concerns go on hold and your existence is at the mercy of the guys at the repair shop.

I think of the Beatles, famously cursing Sir Walter Raleigh as "such a stupid get" for introducing the world to the pleasures and perils of tobacco -- and I in turn curse Henry Ford, who introduced the common man to the automobile.

But I love being able to cruise down a country road on a sunny day, go where I want, stop where and when I want, something that is almost impossible on public transportation.

1 comment:

Perhaps you won't understand said...

I've often wondered why America's rail networks were so undeveloped compared to, say, Europe.
Reasons?