Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 Apr 2003, 20:54 p.m.

What Next, Meat Eating?

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I now own a car. My parents owned it, kept it with a friend when they moved to India, used it while they visited in March, and gave it to me when they left again. It is my car. Mine. It's taken me a bit to get used to that.

I've now used the car for a few trips. Last night I drove to Kevin's place and five of us had dinner at a superlative restaurant on Grand Avenue. (By the way, Trio is the best place I've eaten in a year. Discovering Trio was like discovering the now-defunct vegetarian spot Kowloon in SF's Chinatown. Every dish was an awakening. "So this is what polenta/lentil soup/portobello is supposed to be!") We had a fine time, and to get back I didn't have to bike or bus or BART in the dark and while tired. (I cringe at thinking what Biker Zed thinks of that, or indeed of this whole entry, even though he can be sympathetic to drivers.)

Today my sister and I visited Monterey, where she's thinking of going to international relations grad school. She castigated the sunny-yet-cold weather as "fake sun." We enjoyed our mini-roadtrip. I grokked the feeling of freedom that car ownership is supposed to convey. I could go shopping -- today! Tomorrow! I don't have to plan! I have "the convenience of lameness"!

For as long as I can recall, I have been stating that I don't want a car, and wanted to live carfree the rest of my life. OK, maybe an electric car or a hybrid, I'd mollify my parents. But here I am with a Toyota Corolla, after telling my parents a thousand times that I didn't want it and a car in Berkeley is a positive nuisance. I've been using it. It feels like mine. I've begun to personalize it with pillows and music. I think about parking and gas (is any one oil company less bad than the others?). And here's my effort at atonement for my suddenly much larger footprint on the earth: added convenience for my friends. Hey guys, need rides to the airport?