Driving on car-free Friday

Big Bertha interrupted my usual car-free Friday with a trip to the MO Extension Services office in Clayton for some testing.  (You’ll meet Big Bertha later,when she returns to the apartment and is ready for her photo shoot.)

Our destination was totally bikeable, and also conveniently located near a MetroLink stop.  However, there’s a reason for the “Big” in Big Bertha’s name, and the bike’s cargo carrying capacity, as well as my lack of willingness to put in the necessary walking for public transit with Big Bertha, limited our options.

I arrived in Clayton, and SURPRISE!  The Saint Louis Art Fair is this weekend (yeah, they call it the SAINT LOUIS Art Fair, although it’s in Clayton, but I digress), meaning I was immediately mired in horribly congested traffic, what with the blocked off streets and the vendors’ cargo vans and trucks clogging all of the non-closed streets.  Ugh!

If you go to the Saint Louis Art Fair (in Clayton) this weekend, please take my advice and get there by any means other than driving.  Ride your bike or take p-trans — MetroLink stops right in Clayton, and you’ll end up walking less than you would if you drove and parked really far away.

Anyway, after much ridiculousness and navigating the craziness, I found a parking spot, one with money already in the meter.  Score!  Things were looking up for us.

After Big Bertha’s test (which she failed, but all is not lost), I set out to make the most of the car trip with a Whole Foods run.  I hit the bulk bins hard and fast — and succeeded in my goal to use no new plastic bags in the bulk bin aisle.  Heck, I managed to avoid using any new twist ties 🙂

Errand completed, and too much money spent, I drove to the CWE to drop off the car for Matthew.  He should be walking to the car to drive to his doctor’s appointment right about now, and I’m anticipating his call telling me that it’s not in one piece anymore.  Or maybe that it’s in one severely dented piece.

See, I realized too late (i.e., after paying the meter) that my sweet parking spot on Kingshighway was in a highly dangerous position with high potential to get rear-ended by merging traffic.  Yep, I picked the spot where what was previously a lane of moving traffic turned into a lane of street parking.

After parking and paying the meter, I resisted the strong temptation to just stand there with the car, staring down any potential rear-enders, ready to jump out and protect the car if necessary.  Quite ridiculous, but as much as I don’t even particularly like owning a car, repairing or replacing an accident-damaged vehicle would be less fun.

As it was, I managed to make myself walk away so I could make the next #95 bus and get home for some lunch.  The bus ride was soooo relaxing and pleasant after a morning navigating traffic — what a refined way to travel!

Attitude shift

Deconstructed pie

After I wrote the previous post, I did a lot of thinking along the lines of, “Who am I to complain?”

For two hours of my morning, and the expected price tag, a competent auto body specialist fixed the window problem, and I moved on with my day.

I returned home and put together a lovely lunch of leftovers, then combined my feet and MetroBus to get to City Greens Farmer’s Market.  Biking in full half-past-noon sun in the 103-degree heat index lacked appeal.

With the walk/bus option, I can either use a sun hat or my sunbrella to avoid sunscreen. Around here, many people are happy to use light rail (MetroLink), but either have tons of excuses for not using the bus, or seem to never consider it, which is a shame.  Metro upgraded their website and the trip planning feature now links to Google Transit — pretty user friendly.

While I was out and about, I encountered a few things that put my “problems” into perspective, and reminded me to be thankful.  Although I don’t practice it daily, I like No Impact Man’s idea of making a gratitude list.  Here’s mine for today:

  1. Circus Flora (St. Louis’ own one-ring circus) — we went last night.  The artists display such an amazing combination of athleticism, grace, strength, and beauty.  I love watching bodies in motion.
  2. My legs that carry me when I walk or bicycle for transportation.
  3. My family.
  4. Local farmers who work hard (for not much profit).
  5. Homegrown blackberries, featured in deconstructed pie 🙂