Auto Temptation

As those who know me probably guess, auto in this case refers to automobile.  That just brought an epiphany–maybe I’m Don Quixote and cars are my windmills?  I hope so.

For those who don’t know me, living without a car for the past forty years has been one of the main things I’ve been working on related to environmental activism.

Through a series of unfortunate events, I ended up being the lease holder for a car for one of my godsons.  I can’t bring myself to say ‘owner’.

When he began to stay with me several months ago, he brought the car.  Although it was no surprise to him, since he’s heard me go on and on about this his whole life, he was not happy when I would “make us walk” instead of use the car.

I was surprised at how seductive it is to have access to instant transportation.

Soon it changed to “usually make us walk” instead of use the car.

My justification was “he would be going even if I didn’t”.  Not very original.

Then I didn’t even have that justification when he was no longer around, but the car was.  I found myself driving to the grocery store!  I couldn’t believe it.  And felt pretty guilty.  But that didn’t stop me.

I didn’t appreciate how very strong the addiction to personal automobiles is.  So seductive!

I did have a couple of used cars.  But I’m glad the experience I was led through so many years ago resulted in abruptly no longer have a car.  The temptation was removed.

I’m glad I’ve had some time for this process to play out, and to consider the spiritual implications.  It had become pretty clear that I could not take that car to Iowa when I move there in a couple of weeks, if I wanted to stay on the path of getting us off fossil fuels.  I just don’t think, based on recent experience, that I would have the discipline to never use the car if it was parked near me.

The only alternative is to continue to not have a car at all.

So, what do I do with the car, if I’m intent on not having it around?  Storage was one suggestion.

I kept going back to the idea of letting my friends at KI (the Kheprw Institute) use it while I figured out a longer term solution (and I continued to make payments).

It really saddened me to realize I was afraid they might be hassled or harmed if they were stopped in the car, with the registration in my name.

We’ve begun to discuss this, and it seems they are interested, and want to contribute somehow.  This seems like a good solution, even though I feel a little like a car pimp or something like that.  I’m a bad influence.

This isn’t the first time KI has helped me regarding cars.  Last year Joey Giffen-Hunter called me when his son’s car broke down in Indianapolis.  It would be too costly to repair, so he asked if I knew of a non-profit that might be willing to pick it up and get a little money for salvaging it.   I think he had KI in mind.  The folks at KI helped us help with this, too.


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2 Responses to Auto Temptation

  1. Eleanor Hinshaw Mullendore says:

    For about ten years I have been trying to persuade people in our neighborhood to carpool to community events, trips to the nearest city for all day shopping, or even trips into our nearest town of Mabou–about 4 miles from my rural neighborhood. And to pay special attention to the needs of people like me–elderly widows or singles who should not be doing a lot of driving and cannot walk the walk. They agree in principal, but never get around to actually calling me to see if I need something or want to go along. If I call they are more than willing to help out. All neighborhoods should have what I like to call a Neighborhood Care Watch.

  2. jakisling says:

    Or maybe a Neighborhood Car Watch. 🙂

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