The past few weeks I have been giving more and more thought to “why” CarFreeBrad.com. From the beginning I made a point not to go too deep into the philosophical and wanted to allow that answer to develop over time. The benefit of this approach is twofold. 1.) I didn’t have to start this experiment with a hard “position” on bike commuting/living without a car. 2.) I can/have allowed my position to evolve as I experience the ups and downs of living CarFree.
Regardless of my current position or attitude(it’s before 6 am and I just rode in the rain, so it’s not good) the struggle to define the “why” has served as the means and the end of my CarFreeBrad mission. I’m no expert on social or cultural movements but it seems to me that everything we do as humans begins with conversation. Who, what, why, when and how are fundamental questions that each of us inherently asks of ourselves and our lives everyday. I’m be the first to admit that when life gets hectic or busy, I(like most people) tend to shut off that aspect of the myself that employs this fundamental questioning system. It is so much easier to get through the day, the week, the month, the year if I’m not constantly questioning my myriad of daily activities and just focus on getting to my next vacation.
Anyone who has children, has been around children or seen them in action knows that the most annoying phase of a child’s life(for everyone around them) is that period between when they learn to talk and learn that no one likes the word “why”. Challenge this idea if you want, but to me it is the most annoying phase that every child goes through, hands down. They manage to use one word to, in the span of 10 minutes, make you feel like the smartest person in the world and the dumbest. It is the most frustrating thing, EVER, because they have no intention of making you feel this way and just assume that because you have been alive for 10 times longer than them that you have thought about the “why” of everything that we do each day. This little exercise points out how many things we do and experience everyday without knowing “why”. If you are like me, when that young child backs you into a the “why” corner, you lash out with ridiculous answers. Spinning elaborate tall tales to satisfy the childs “why” only to be met at the end of each progressively more outlandish answer with an insightful and though provoking question…..”Why?”.
As a closet protagonist, I have inadvertently allowed the CarFreeBrad.com experiment to become an annoying 4-year-old. Now that I have recognized this fact, I will have to embrace it and allow push it further. As I alluded to earlier, conversation seems to be the catalyst to social change but in many ways can also serve as the change itself.
With the in mind, I don’t intend to convert anyone to living CarFree but to simply engage in conversation based around the “why” of your daily commuting life.
Optional Experiment: Pretend you are a 4-year-old child obsessed with “why” you own a car and see how many levels of “why” you get to. I’d love to know where the conversation leads on the 3rd or 4th “why” and how long it takes for you to get frustrated with yourself.