I am grateful to be living somewhere that allows me to walk places for the first time in my life. From my home to restaurants, markets, the mall, and the park, I can get around by foot.
Growing up in the country, then living in Denver suburbs, meant a lot of time in a car on straight, flat roads. Even when I did live in Denver, not owning a car wasn’t practical. I’ve never had the pleasure of not needing my own vehicle until now. It feels liberating not to have to worry about navigating this metropolis, finding parking, or paying for fuel and insurance. However, I do still have to rely on motor transportation to get to and from work, and getting around in vehicles in a vast and hilly city is much different than what I’m used to; I’ve unfortunately discovered that I get motion sickness. And the customs of the road certainly don’t help.
You know the joke about “stop signs with white around them are just suggestions?” Well, it seems to really be true here. I’ve never seen so many people ignore stop signs. And lines on the streets, generally used to create distinct lanes in which cars drive, are all but ignored as cars and motorcycles cut through traffic on their own agenda. Roundabouts here are one of the scariest things I’ve encountered. Since a cement median is not plunked down in the middle of each one, many vehicles just cut right through the middle, right over the raised squares that mark the pavement in place of paint–regardless of oncoming traffic.
Riding along to and from work on the bus makes me tense and ill. I am still deciding on the best way to save my sanity–watch like a hawk out the window so I am aware of the inevitable moment we crash into another vehicle, or to close my eyes and remain oblivious to all possible collisions. Either way, I’ve had to tell myself: “No point stressing. If this is way you are destined to die, there’s nothing you can do about it!” All kidding aside–getting around a big city like this might just be the thing that drives me out, despite all the aspects I love.