One of my best friends, K, who hasn't owned a car in two years, had a fender bender this weekend as she was driving another friend's little Jetta through town. Of course, the damage is more to her psyche than anything else. She will replace her friend's bumper and headlight, and the integrity of her friendship will remain in tact, but my girl now swears that she never wants to drive again. And if she drives again, she swears that it will only be on a vacation, and only a rental car. She says she will never, ever drive someone else's vehicle. Since I am the friend who has never felt very comfortable with her driving abilities but lent her my car anyway and hoped for the best, I support her decision whole-heartedly. I also happen to think that some people simply should never be permitted to operate any sort of heavy machinery, and, goddess love her, my beloved friend fully recognizes this. She's a darling, but definitely not the most coordinated.
Due to the last nasty fender bender K got into three years ago (which was decidedly not her fault) that totally wrecked her car, K pretty much became an urban warrior of public transportation. Statistically, she's much safer. (And so is the rest of the world without her on the road.) She is also a now a very solid little street schlepper. And I'm proud of her for this. If K didn't have to schlep to her favorite coffee shop or laundry mat, then she would never exercise. K doesn't like to exercise at all, but walking in the form of actually having to be somewhere is exercise in disguise. Not only is she safely on the sidewalk, but she's in better shape for it. Yes, the Universe does have a way of working in very mysterious ways.
K and I did a little schlepping around town today, in fact, and I noticed that she was keeping quite a remarkable pace for someone who doesn't ever use the word "cardio" in her wide and extremely intellectual range of vocabulary. I was impressed. I was also reminded of how much I love having my own feet beneath me, and yet how I typically don't do a whole lot of walking when I'm in the States. In fact, I loved the way my legs looked after schlepping up and down the hills of Jerusalem this summer, and this sort of thing is a devil to maintain in the gym. K even asked me if she was walking too fast, and, of course, I told her no. (I would never want her inner schlepper to feel dismissed or constrained.)
And so, in honor of K (and the environment), and even though I love to drive, can drive just about anything, and have a spotless driving record, I've decided that I'm officially going to be more of a schlepper, too. For one, I hate to drive during the holiday season, and secondly, it's just better not to. Tomorrow morning, I'm parking my car and officially taking the train into the heart of where I work. I will save a minimum of $40.00 a week in gas (which I am putting in a cookie jar--for giggles, of course), and I'm curious to see what I save in other odds and ends that I always think I need when I'm on the road. I'm also curious to see how much I will get done on the train, and how much stress it will relieve not to have to fight for parking on a daily basis. And so, yes, I'll be schlepping. Hopefully it won't be too bloody cold. Oh, and did I mention that the train is free for me? Yes, free! There's no excuse not to do this.