Cars

People walking - I had a hard time finding this picture, pic: geology.com

It is being said about my fellow German countrymen that their cars are their favorite children.  That’s not a particularly nice thing to say but it is probably not an entirely baseless claim.

Of my fellow elective countrymen here is the US I would have to say that their cars are more like vital body parts.  You see, one does not walk in this country, ever, unless one is a) completely destitute, or receiving an advanced degree in a private school, in which case one probably falls under category a) as well.

It keeps amazing me to what extreme people here go to avoid even taking a few steps by foot.

If you have ever watched the traffic chaos in front of a Californian gym you know what I am talking about.

Here is a little story:  when I was new to the Californian suburbs I had a radical idea one night.  After sitting in my office all day I suggested to my husband that we walk to the nearby restaurant in stead of driving.  We are talking a distance of less than a mile, a distance I would never dream of driving in Germany, unless I was moving a baby grand piano, of course.  We were merrily on our way, balancing on road dividers, walking behind one another on very narrow walk ways next to really wide streets when a police car pulled up behind us.  They flashed their search light at us and followed us until we reached our destination.

One thing I am certain of, is that they weren’t there for our protection.  Either they followed us out of unabashed curiosity – the first humans they ever saw walking – or, and that is the more likely scenario – they thought we were  hoodlums, criminals, petty or otherwise, misfits, outcasts, in short somebody they needed to keep society safe from.

Oh, and then there was that liquor store in Arizona which had a big sign saying “No Car, No Alcohol”.  I kid you not, to be able to purchase a bottle of beer there you had to drive in by car.

No further comment.

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One Comment to “Cars”

  1. I loved your article. It reminded me of 20 years ago, when I was an exchange student in a small town in Iowa. I couldn’t believe how people went everywhere by car. Sure they could blame it on the weather but the only distance they would walk was from any building they were in to their place in the parking lot, which was often indoors, too. Once I decided to go sightseeing on foot, and the only local I came across was a horse!!! I still keep picture of that horse =0)

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