LW in Sebastopol, CA -
Back in April of this year, I convinced my husband (it wasn’t very hard -- he’s a very easy going guy) to replace 90% of our car travel with bicycling. I made this decision for a number of reasons, but the top three were health, the environment, and thriftiness. I am happy to report that it has been a resounding success, but that is not what my essay is about.
The one (minor) downside to our taking up utility cycling is that my 11 year old daughter claims to hate it. Yes, we ride together every day running errands, going to school, etc. but I know that she hasn’t embraced being minus car as fully as my husband and I have. Generally we start the day with an eye roll and another tirade of “tell me again, why are we doing this?” So the other day I was shocked to hear her use the term “minus” as being a “plus”.
Just as we are “minus car” she proposed society should go “minus jewelry”. It was an off hand comment but it really made me think. After being honked at on the road by a particularly obnoxious driver, she proposed “minus horns”. While the cycling is only growing on her slowly, I love the fact that she is embracing the “minus” concept as being a “plus”. I love the fact that while I thought I was thinking outside the box already by going sans car, she has thrown me much further out of the box to think about so many other things we can “minus”. Certainly possessions (her minus jewelry concept) can be rethought (i.e. want vs. need) as well as the concept of reducing noise pollution (minus horns).
My “minus” doesn’t have to be her “minus”. She has embraced the concept much better than I could have ever imagined.