Days 246-251: MLwC and the wild fear of no exit

Whoa–this blog got away from me for a few days. Like a LOT of days. I’m not sure where I’ve been….

I’ve been thinking a lot about the insight I had the other day which I described in 64 miles to mindfulness. Of course, the idea of No Exit has been around in various forms for a long, long time, from Sartre to Pema Chodron. It seems that for a lot of us, the idea of No Escape or No Exit drives us to extremes in behavior and thinking, and I’ve been aware of that in my own jungle-mind since that experience in traffic the other day.

Cars give us the feeling that there is always an escape: we can just hop in our cars and away we go! But it’s not true. The expectation, the hope of that ideal gets us in the car, but the reality is quite different and the jarring difference between the two may be at the bottom of everything from mild irritation and a buzzing disappointment in your brain, to road rage and worse. Cars promise escape, but they can’t deliver–not with all of us driving on the same roads, going in much the same direction.

Perhaps that’s why buses have the sort of stigma they do. They represent the opposite: you’re just going where you’re going. There’s no ideal of Escape. No glamor of hopping in the convertible and heading down the road, all care-free abandon. Could be.

Anyway, I’ve been watching myself and these back-of-the-mind thoughts about Exits and Escapes.


The other issue I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks is a definite change in car usage, and a definite reason why. In summer, the activities are outdoors, you can walk to the beach, hang out at the pool, run in the park, read a book out in the hammock on a summer afternoon. But as the days draw shorter and the temp drops, my activities tend to be more involved with others, in their homes–dinners, game nights, stuff like that. We move indoors and I, anyway, find I’m driving a lot more. Hmmm.

Daily Stats: (Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon)
Car: 21 miles (dozens of tasks and activities)
Bike: 18 miles
Ped: 5 miles
Bus: 0

One response to “Days 246-251: MLwC and the wild fear of no exit

  1. Two funny things about the fantasy of cars and escape: one stems from marketing and the other from nostalgia (and hey — marketing loves to use nostalgia as a theme to sell!) Almost every car ad showcases the sexiness of a car zooming through some shimmering landscape — whether the bright lights of the city, or the open road of the desert or the coast. Yeah baby — take a trip in this car! It’ll feel so great! Maybe the ad conveys these images with some 60’s or 70’s rock song, bringing in the nostalgia — like when Cadillac used Led Zeppelin, or VW used ELO.

    Escape is a primal need buried in the human consciousness — the need to need to escape from prey. Now “prey” is constituted as the stress of our overly busy, overly stimulated, overly appetite driven lives. And the escape just drives us (literally) right back into one another on the jammed freeways.

    We need to figure out how to market the TRUE escape of the bus. I feel like I’m escaping every time I get on and find myself with some time to breathe, listen to music or podcasts, read a book or a magazine, or simply watch these glorious autumn colors roll by — AND LET SOMEONE ELSE DEAL WITH THE ACTUAL STRESS OF DRIVING. This is a true escape. It’s just not perceived as “sexy.” But you know if Madison Avenue suddenly was being paid lots of money to make riding the bus sexy, it wouldn’t take long for people to start to change their views. (Well maybe it would take a decade … but relentless marketing over would make a difference!)

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