By Carl Brown
Two years ago, after saving money all my life to buy a cool car, I bought a vintage Mercedes from Wayside Christian Mission for a song, then put $2,000 into it. Ah, so many “nice car” and “love your Mercedes” comments from pedestrians ...
Then summer came and it was time to buy some White Castles – sometimes nothing else will do. I learned that night that a Mercedes does not stop on a dime. I slid through the red light and got T-boned by a huge Detroit tank of a car. It hit me driver’s side. When I saw it coming, I went limp, and in spite of being pushed entirely into the passenger seat, only received a bruised rib.
I knew this had to be a lesson from God. I looked at the Mercedes medallion and smiled. The Big Guy was sending me a Big Lesson: Go green for a bit and stop throwing money at Mercedes, when those funds could be better spent giving to the poor ...
My means of transport became walking, running, bicycling and TARC. Among the advantages are:
1) Walking a few miles a day is great exercise and lets you really see what businesses are there to patronize. Buy local!
2) Running is good, ‘specially when you’re pushing a Dollar Store or ValuMarket shopping cart eight blocks to your apartment ... to be returned, of course. I’m the guy. If they don’t like it, yes, they can sue me.
3) TARC is cheap and available; your “transfer” can be used to take you back home, and on the bus, I was always able to find people crazier than I.
4) The kindness of friends; $5 for gas and everybody’s happy.
So I went very Green for two years. Then bought a Ford Cargo Van. Here are the advantages:
1) A two-seater, “The Beast” is equipped with a futon, camping gear, etc. I’ll never go homeless again. And if the van is rocking ... please come knocking. At over 696 months old, I might need your help.
2) Wow! You can go places in 10 minutes that would be a good day’s walk.
3) You’re everybody’s friend on moving day.
4) Unless hit by a semi or train, you won’t feel afraid of car crashes.
5) Lastly, it’s FORD TUFF, by golly. Buy American (if you get a good deal).
Recently, the transmission went south on my Ford cargo van, so I returned to foot and an excellent bike which cost a generous friend more than the Mercedes cost me. It’s a black “land cruiser” with an iron cross rear view mirror. I RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK, past pedestrian and police alike. Highlands cops know about the tragic death of a young woman who obeyed the STUPID LAW against sidewalk biking and was hit and killed while traversing the streets. The white ghost bike on Bardstown Road commemorates the death of this law-abider.
Do the math, do the poundage. Should I ride my bike into a sidewalk pedestrian (and I never have), producing bruises at best? My bike weighs way short of 100 pounds. Cars, trucks (and yes, cargo vans) weigh up to four tons. Don’t get me started ...
But, like Tim Darst in last month’s excellent article, “Think Outside the Car,” in The Highlander, I found that going green in our quaint Highlands village was easily done and good for both my health and my wallet.