Friday, September 22, 2023

More car culture


My impassioned crusade against cars continues! I mean, except for how I drive one. I am bitterly opposed to cars and to a car centric world, but until I can properly get around on canals and using cable cars running on wires in the sky, what am I supposed to do?

Plus I really love the air conditioning in my car. It's been a hot summer and it has conditioned (no pun intended, but, um, pun taken?) me to love the very smell of our car's air conditioner. On the way to work this morning it was no more than 70 degrees and I still turned on the air for that deliciously chilly scent and the icy thrill of it all numbing my hands and face.

Of course, the sheer, random mobility of cars is pretty amazing too. We'll cross half a dozen cities around here on some odd errand I can't remember two days later. I'm not sure it's a capability I really need, but I have it. And so does nearly everyone else. I see this bizarre power at play, with a touch of horrified fascination, nearly every day working at the library. People randomly drive 40 miles from their homes to come to me at the front desk at the library and get a library card.

"Do you have a library card from your home library system?" I ask. "I can register that card into our system so you can use it here."

"No, I've never been to a library before."

"But for some reason today you decided to get up, drive 40 miles, passing 11 different libraries in three different library systems, to come here to my desk and apply for a new library card?"

"Yes." They answer, unruffled.

So I do it. I get them a card. We're set up for this kind of thing and always have been because this mobility has always been the way of life here. I get them a temporary card, and their home system, located a seven minute walk from their front door, will send them a new, proper library card in the mail.

"You can get anything you want with this card." I inform them, handing over the temp card.

"Thanks." They say, pocketing it and walking out the door. 

They don't have time to actually get anything. 

They have places to drive.


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