Thursday, May 24, 2007

Keeping up Appearances

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 The bike racks of my youth have long been replaced by the expansive black asphalt parking lots.


KYRIE said...

Reminds me of a conversation I had bumping into an old friend. She gave me this condensizing look saying, "oh I thought tht was u walking to the bus station. Tht is how u go to classes, by bus n ferry?"
She proceeded to inform me tht she had bought a brand new car but she has no use for it since her boyfriend drives her around.
This used to be to my best friend and I could not believe she was judging me because I dont hv a car.
U keep on walking Andrew! Power to our sneakers!

Rae said...

A suitable quote for the day ...

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm beginning to wonder if it might not be you who could use the support of Al-Anon, after reading how much your father tries to control everything in your life. I think it's wonderful that you walk, great that you are within walking distance of places you like to go, and beautiful that you walk with Rosa and drive George around. Thanks once again for sharing your story with us.

Eric Valentine said...

Over the years I have moved numerous times, to stay ahead of the concrete jungle. Times never change, it's called progress? Nowadays I get my exercise walking around the absolutely huge grocery stores. :)

Terri said...

I'm very much in agreement with you on the walking, I wish I could do more of it, but most of the places I go require driving. What you are doing is much better for you so in this case I say don't worry about what dad says, do what you want! Having recently been in a car accident I have a little, but manageable, fear of driving that I didn't have before. Here's wishin' I could be like you!

Barb said...

I drive to the end of my driveway to fetch my garbage cans, I drive because I cant walk, I hate the fact that another abled bodied person begrudges another for doing something that SO many others cannot~~ I would walk with you, if I could! Here is wishing that I could be like you too!


So sad, but yet, true.
NO bike racks, no children playing outside..their parents eagerly signing them up for every organized sport via the local park district. It's a sad world we're a part of these days.
Personally, I commend you as you're one of the few that are actually helping the world by not using gas, burning exhaust, using up oil...noise pollution..
Good for you!

Cheryl said...


Your dad is into appearances; we know that. Keep walking, my friend. It's what you need.

kathleen said... here I am, an eccentric teacher. I walk to work and back every day. I love doing it. I wonder why people are so adverse to using their feet to get them somewhere. Most everyone has feet. It shouldn't be considered a breech of the social standard to use them.

barefoot303 said...

i am fortunate to live in a metro city where it is encouraged to walk, ride a bike or even use the new public transportation. Thank you Denver!
Keep walking.. It is good for the body and the soul.

PipeTobacco said...


Damn... I cannot understand why your father will not let you be. He is obsessed with you "keeping up appearances" to reflect how good and perfect he is (or thinks people should believe he is).

He has criticized you for the clothes you wear, the frequency in which you get a haircut, on leaves in your yard, and now... for walking? It is in my opinion EXCEPTIONALLY rude and inappropriate for him to act this way towards ANY 35 year old... let alone a son whom he claims to love.

Tie that in with his extreme "a pill will solve anything.... and three will solve it even better" mentality, his apparent decision to guide your mother into a perpetual state of sleep (you know that if she sleeps 20 hours a day, that she is overmedicated), his thinking that taking 6 benzaprine tablets every day is perfectly fine but that having a beer is akin to devil worship.

AND... tie that in with his insistence to direct and control your psychiatric sessions, the fact that you have said you are uncomfortable to have him talk to or meet either Rosa or George (both would not be up to HIS standards), and the way he uses your own SSI income (because he controls it, not an unbiased third party) to manipulate you, and his previously stated wish to have you put in a facility.... and so on....


I feel very sad and frustrated for you sir. His actions are just so far over the top that I cannot even begin to understand his (in my opinion, dictator-like) mentality.

It is so wrong (sigh).


Trying2BMe said...

Everything in society now is a indicator of status and it's all bullshit in my opinion. Who we are, our character, has nothing to do with what we possess, but you'd think that "things" were the source of eternal life.

I think walking is wonderful for the body, the mind and the soul. It's our intimate time, our own rhythm and sometimes the only peace that surrounds us.

Drop the keys in a bowl and take another step... it's all good!

fiwa said...

Your dad does have a tough time understanding, doesn't he?

Keep on walking Andrew, and don't let him bother you. You enjoy it and it's good for you, so don't worry about what he thinks.

Have a good day -

Eric Valentine said...

Your Dad sure stirs everyones blood Andrew! LOL

Oh, also, I have tagged you. So if you feel like going to my blog to see what you are supposed to do...otherwise, no worries.

jAMiE said...

Keep on walking Andrew, as others have's good for you and you enjoy it...more power to you.

I am a walker too and i am proud of it.

Enjoy the day!

Josie said...

Your father, like my father, spends way too much time worrying about what "the neighbors" will think - your appearance, your walking, etc. Instead, he should be glad you have chosen a healthy option, and walking is good for the soul! I wish he would focus on bigger issues. Just keep on following your heart - you're doing great, Andrew!

justLacey said...

That is the weirdest thing your dad has said yet. You think he'd prefer you walk, it's better for your health. Just smile and take it in then forget it.

joyous melancholy said...

Maybe your dad could buy you a really expensive, flashy (comfortable) pair of walking shoes. Then you'd look like a rich person who likes to walk... ;-)

Mom's Blog said...

I thought of you today as I had to ride the bus and do some walking because I had to leave my car for repair. It was such a joy to be hanging out with the precious people who make this style of riding part of their everyday life. I have committed myself to doing this more often. I have the oposite problems with my kids.. I always tell them to take the bus at least once in a while and they will have nothing to do with it. (sigh)