My father asked me last night why I never drive my car. There are many reasons. One is that I don't want to be a slave to the big oil overlords and will not pay these high gas prices. Two is I have a lot of paranoia surrounding driving. Three is that I just genuinely like walking. My medications for my schizophrenia can cause terrible weight gain and the walking helps me lose weight.
"How many miles have you put on that car since I gave it to you two years ago?" Dad asked.
"Three thousand," I replied. "I am going on my seventh week on the same tank of gas."
"I have a lot of people saying they see you walking around town and they ask if you can't drive," he then said.
"Ah, don't worry about what those assholes think," was my response. "I certainly don't."
"Well, it makes you look poor," Dad replied. "Most people don't walk these days and have a car."
I then realized that my father was embarrassed by my walking. We live in a car centric culture and it is a status symbol. Times have certainly changed in the past twenty years. My mother, the teacher, would always walk to work many miles every day in the late sixties. Now she would be embarrassed to do so and it would be considered eccentric or abnormal for a teacher to walk to work. Even as a very young child, I always walked to school and would walk home to my grandmother's house. Now, kids have to be driven everywhere.
There seems to be some certain kind of social engineering going on these past few decades. There isn’t any money to be made by people walking, but there is lots of money to be made by people driving – car repair, gas costs, oil changes, tires, etc. All of these items are often taxed heftily. Sidewalks are removed to make way for widened roads. The bike racks of my youth have long been replaced by the expansive black asphalt parking lots.