So this is a picture of a 1999 Jetta, my new/old car (taken from my rockin' balcony), actually my first car that's my very own.... at 30, wow, how un-American! It's pretty cool, even with the unsightly lack of hubcap on the back wheel, the remedy to which is proving more difficult than anticipated. Anyway, we have become that family, the two car family. One of the reasons we chose to live in this urban neighbourhood was to avoid this, but we finally broke down, not so much out of dire necessity, but more out of convenience. Sure, Nadia and I walk most places... the gym, the park, the over-priced grocery store. But there are places like the affordable grocery store - where we do the bulk of our shopping, and our medical clinic, which Tricare was kind enough to locate 16 miles from our home, that are unwalkable and, because this is a true American city that is not NYC, Boston, or Chicago, are also unbussable. Even if it could be done, it would take about 4 days to get to N's doctor appointment There's an LRT in the works, but who knows when that will be finished. And sure, we could schedule our trips to these places around J's work, like we had been doing, but that isn't always possible. And it sure is nice to get groceries during the week when the entire base (ie. the biggest naval base in the world) is at work instead of in my way with their screaming children and overflowing carts. So yes, I feel like we are being a bit indulgent, especially after years of shlepping 50 pounds of instrument and accessories in -40C around Edmonton, but at most I'll be driving once a week, so I guess it's not that bad. Or, at least, that's what I tell myself. Oh, and it is sooo nice to be driving an automatic in the city. Driving stick was fun in Sicily, where it was all back roads and no rules, and maybe if I drove every day I would get used to a new clutch again, but since I drive so little, I simply don't need the distraction of the operation of the vehicle. Traffic lights, other cars, figuring out where I'm going, and little miss chatterbox in the back, are plenty of things to worry about.
Speaking of creature comforts, I cannot believe how much air conditioning is used by most people. I suppose the same could be said for heat in Canada. The building next to us houses a tenant/s that have their unit running CONSTANTLY. Like, even when it's only 70 degrees and raining. The argument could be used that they're using it to dehumidify but in that case I believe a dehumidifier would suffice, and probably use a lot less energy. Ok, I may be a bit biased since I think I'm allergic to AC, as evidenced by frequent headaches when I'm exposed to it. This means I only use/d A/C when it was more than 100 degrees in Sicily and I was pregnant or nursing. And I also find it hard to sleep when the unit next door is buzzing all night. Ok. Maybe. But I think it's just one small symptom of a culture (yes, Canada is included) that refuses for one second to be uncomfortable. To walk across the parking lot instead of circling over and over to find a spot close to the door, to put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat, these are things that don't occur to most people. Little things that if everyone did, would probably make a big difference re: our energy crisis, and would lighten the burden of my annoyance. Because it's all about me, after all.