An acquaintance came into my office yesterday and told me all about this shuttle I could take home instead of riding my bike. I would just need to walk a block over to the shuttle stop, wait outside for the shuttle to arrive, and then I could ride it to the stop that is only a block and a half from my house. The shuttle comes every half hour, she told me, and it's great! And then you wouldn't have to ride your bike in the dark!
Well, thanks. Except instead of walking a block, waiting up to half an hour, and then walking another block and a half, I think I'll stick with the bike, which I have to wait zero minutes for and takes me directly to my doorstep in less than ten minutes.
I know that people mean well, but this kind of "suggestion" really annoys me. This same lady is also extremely concerned that I have been riding my bike about 5 miles to a class after work once a week. The ride kind of sucks because it's uphill on the way there, but it takes only about 15 minutes more than it would take me to drive and park, plus it means I don't have to feel guilty for not going to the gym that day. And better yet, I don't have to deal with parking when I get home at 9:30pm. Yes, it's dark, but I have a super nerdy red flashing light on my helmet, another light on the front of my bike, and I am careful.
Last night I did decide to drive to the class because: 1) I'd gotten about three hours of sleep the night before thanks to a raging case of insomnia and the idea of moving my legs made me want to vomit, and 2) it was pouring rain. I made it home a little faster in the car, but then I had to drive around for 25 minutes looking for a parking space. Finally I gave up and parked the car in the no-man's-land ghetto and had to walk five blocks home. I don't think trekking through the ghetto alone at 10pm and leaving my car there overnight is any safer than riding my bike home in the dark.
She means well, I know that. She insisted on driving me to this class two weeks ago when she ran into me in the parking lot after work, even though I politely protested and reminded her that if she dropped me off, I'd be left with no way home and I would really be fine on my bike. No, no, she wouldn't hear of it. In the time it took to cram my bike into her trunk, I could have been three-fourths of the way there and she could have been home.
Before I had my bike, a girl at my old job used to be horrified that I walked to work. "Don't you have a car?" she asked incredulously. Yes, I do. However, parking costs $120 a month here. I live less than a mile away, I like getting the exercise, I like not paying for gas, and I like not killing the planet. I am more than capable of walking, I told her (politely). Every time it would snow or rain, she'd say "You walked in THIS?" when I arrived. Yes, I walked today. I've been walking since before you worked here, and I'm still alive. Occasionally, if it was really, really pouring, I'd drive. But honestly, when you have to walk to wherever your car is parked, and then walk again from the parking lot to the office, driving really isn't saving much time in the rain. "But what about when it SNOWS?" she asked. Well, in the time it would take me to shovel out my car and navigate the unplowed city streets, I probably could have walked in. And then after work, I'd have to shovel out another parking space, if I was lucky enough to find one, to put my car back in. So...I'm fine, thanks.
I am really not sure why this sort of concern bothers me so much. I hope and assume that it comes from a place of caring, but it feels an awful lot like judgement; like their way is the right way and my way is the wrong way and I should change to make them feel better. Instead of making me feel happy that they care enough to be concerned about me, it makes me feel rage-y because you know what? You're not the boss of me.
Five minutes after I published this post, Joel sent me a link to this article which illustrates reason number five (right behind exercise, saving money, saving the planet, and saving time) I prefer biking or walking over driving around this city: $252 parking ticket!!1! NO THANK YOU.