Week Three Coming to an End……What’s the Verdict?

After that first week, didn’t you think I might throw in the towel?

Well, it has been THREE WEEKS WithOut a Car and I have to admit ...I LOVE GOING AWOC!

Who knew?

Week one was brutal, week two better and by week Three, ‘By jove, I think she’s got it!’

There are so many reasons I am loving this I am not sure where to start.

First, I love MARTA. I love the train, love riding the bus, waiting on the bus, waiting on the train, riding on the train – I LOVE IT ALL! Am I crazy? Maybe I am still in the honeymoon phase. I even have a favorite train station!  And how can you love an inanimate object? I love seeing #36 turn the corner and hear the sound of the doors open. I love getting to know the drivers and they are beginning to remember me. And they are so helpful. I am so aware of a spirit of community on the bus. I can’t explain it but I feel like everyone wants to help you. Sometimes, I am not sure exactly where the closest stop is and in moments, there are a dozen people watching out for me making sure I know where my stop is. I am in awe. I do not experience this outside of the bus to this degree.

One of the best things is all the time you have to see things – really have time to see.

I love holding my gaze at the beautiful plots of spring flowers that stretch almost the entire block beside The Federal Reserve Building. I love walking under the lush canopy of trees that reach almost all the way over 13th Street. I love sitting on the edge of the fountain waiting on the THE PEACH.  I love feeling that connection when greeting fellow trekkers.

The other day, I was sitting on a beautiful marble half-wall, pack on my back, sipping my bottle of water, looking at the traffic and I realized, I am beginning to feel sad for those who are confined in the cars that go by. OMG! I think I am hooked!

I love talking to others who take mass transit.

One day after being dropped at my stop I was walking & talking with my fellow trekkers and one of the guys said, “shhhhh, listen”…and we walked the rest of the way in quiet listening to the birds chirping. The weather was cool, my shoes felt snuggy and life was good!  Tonight, I was walking up to Symphony Hall and I just felt so great walking…walking…..greeting others headed into the park…connecting with  a smile and a hello …walking…..saying hi to the pups out for their end of the day P&P.

I realized how much more connected to the city I feel.  I feel like I belong. Odd. I never thought I felt otherwise.

So, no real drama this past two weeks.  But, I do have some tips to share and some people for you to meet next time!

Meanwhile,  I am loving GOING AWOC – Atlanta WithOut a Car!

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6 Responses to Week Three Coming to an End……What’s the Verdict?

  1. Krishna says:

    Your response to Bernard is great Stephanie. His points are valid about the people not having a choice, but your objective is also valid in showing that we all need to think more like the rest of the world and use public transportation more, instead of relying on convenience that a lot of us can afford. Rather than view it as arrogance on the part of us that have a choice (and car), it should be viewed as the reason we need to publicly travel. Your blog points out the trials and tribulations with the new experiences you are having. Soon, I expect we will learn the benefits you and society are reaping as a result. Keep up the great commentary!

  2. Bernard says:

    A friend suggested I take a look at this blog. He thought I would find it interesting because of my “healthy lifestyle” (walking, biking, etc.) Actually I find it pretty arrogant. I don’t mean to insult but that’s the only word that comes to mind. The majority of people taking public transportation are doing it for a social experiment. They’re doing it because it is currently their only option. They would probably love to have a car! I can see going without a car for any number of reasons. This just seems to be self serving more than anything else and I don’t see any nobility in it.

    • Hi Bernard – Thank you for commenting on the adventure I have chosen to take. I really appreciate your point of view. I have taken it to heart and want to address your perspective.

      I am acutely aware, I have a choice. I see every day the riders who do not. I know what you are referencing. I see the faces of those who are very tired, very resigned to how they live their life and I see a lot of people whose energy feels very heavy to me. I appreciate that you think I have an arrogant point of view, and if you knew me, you would also know how grateful I am to so many of the riders I have had a chance to talk to. I learn a lot from the friends I make with each trip I take.

      Regretfully, I cannot change their lives, but I can affect one moment in it and that is my goal as well. But not just on MARTA but everywhere I go. I bring my smile, a friendly greeting, and more often than not, many times the comment of ‘you made me feel good today’ or ‘thank you for talking with me’ or great smile’ or sentiments to that effect, come my way almost every day. They rejuvenate me with these comments. I cannot change their circumstances, but I can breathe a small moment of joy into their day.

      So my mass transit life is for me an adventure to see if I can live without a car in Atlanta. And not for one minute do I forget how blessed my life is. OR that at the end of this adventure, I have a choice to return to having a car, if I decide to.

      Most riders could care less about carbon footprint reduction. All they care about is food and shelter and keeping their kids safe. I never lose sight of them and what gifts they give me along the way. I spoke at a Clayton State University class recently and the majority of the students were minority. I was speaking more about entrepreneurship than environment issues but of course, my work comes up. They shared with me that they felt the environmental concerns were a white persons charity-not real life issues and I could so appreciate that perspective and was deeply moved. As usual, when we teach, we learn more than we teach.

      I have learned much from my fellow transit riders and am very grateful. They are the experts, not me and it is a very humbling experience.

      One woman who has no choice, gave me tips on how to manage grocery shopping. To her I am so grateful.

      One student who can barely afford college, and has no choice, taught me the secret to managing the quick turnaround between buses and trains. To him I am so grateful.

      One rider was so grateful that a higher educational institution was now in a MARTA station and he could now change his life circumstances because now, he could get to school easily. That deeply affected me. He asked for my card because he was studying energy efficiency this semester and he wants to call me when he graduates. I will do all I can for him.

      Many riders, who have no choice, have helped me when they clearly know more than me. To all of them, I am so grateful.

      I experience a culture on the bus and train of such helpfulness that I wish the rest of the world could feel that and activate that sense of helpfulness every day. I sit on the bus, and look around and am so grateful to each person for what they help me with everyday. I am their student.

      I am acutely aware how much I learn from those who do not have a choice and how grateful I am that I do.

      Thank you for the opportunity to respond to you.

      Blessings on us all.

  3. Tamara Jones says:

    This post had me smiling! Makes me nostalgic to be able to get back on teh train. What I miss most is all the reading I could get done on the train. Audiobooks are NOT the same (for me at least). Well done.

  4. wendy says:

    Stephanie,
    Your article was fabulous and now I’m committed to riding the Peach for my very first time this weekend!!! But, where will I go?
    See you on 13th , I’m sure.. You are such a special lady!!

  5. Teresa says:

    You are such a positive light force out there….keep on TREKKING! The world is certainly a better place with you in it!

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