It’s hard. I’ve never owned a car, but I still have to look at them, hear them, smell them, pay for their infrastructure, and avoid being crushed by them every day. They don’t do me any good, but their damage to my environment is in my face all the time. When you are inside a car the car is invisible, it’s just a shell with air-con and good tunes. Other cars are visible of course, and they are irritatingâ€”but those cars are called traffic, i.e. every car other than yours. When you are a car driver, your car is not a problem and you go blithely on your deluded way. When you are not a car driver, every car is a threat and a blight.
It’s not that I envy car owners. I am ever grateful for my car freedom. From what I can see individual car ownership creates way more financial and physical and psychic suffering than it solves. Car-sharing or renting or cabbing can be skillful means, but individual car-ownership is simply not sustainable and comes at such a high price. Convenience is slavery, to habit and addiction. We are not lazy, I think “laziness” is actually a false direction. We are just lab rats and we know no other way.
And then there is the assumption of privilege. The anger I feel toward car owners is similar I suspect to what most people of colour always feel at some subtle level toward white people. They are never aware of what they take for granted, and who is being harmed by their assumption. They won’t know until they get out of their carsâ€”which many never will.
I try to be empathetic but the seeds of anger still rise. God knows I have addictions and habits of my own and this particular one mirrors them and triggers the hell out of me. I need to be gentle with them and with myself. I need to go for a bike ride.