Day 28: Minivan

April 22, 2020

I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to do any of this anymore.

Not the Zooming. Not my new daily routine (morning, fiction writing and dog walk; early afternoon, work; late afternoon, blog). Not the checking on my kids, to make sure they’re not cracking under the stress. Not the worrying about what my husband may be encountering at work. Not the masks. Not the rainbows in the windows or the whimsical chalk drawings on the sidewalk.

None of it.

All I wanted was to get in my car and drive to an event with lots of other people, and celebrate something. Anything.

I can move to South Carolina, I guess. Or like the rest of us, I can wait.

Today — as you probably have not been able to avoid knowing — is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. How ironic, then, how deeply I long for my car and the freedom it affords. All day I’ve been fantasizing about vacations I want to take, and lollygagging in memories of places I’ve visited in the past.

If we’re going to save this planet, we’re going to have to move around it a whole lot less. I’m no exception, I realize. But this staying in one place is hard. I’m used to the variety afforded me by my seven-year-old Toyota minivan. I’ve spent so much time over the years complaining about the traffic here in L.A., I never stopped to consider how amazing it is that, even with cars bumper-to-bumper on the 10, I can get from my house in Mar Vista to downtown in no more than an hour (20 minutes if the lanes were clear, in case you were wondering).

Is it only me, or does it feel like this is a necessary harbinger of things to come? I don’t see how we can save the planet and drive and jet around it at the same time. Even with renewable fuels. Even with offsets. Every car we manufacture, every plane that comes off the assembly line, takes so much from our earth that we can’t replace.

This virus has radically changed my life in the course of a few weeks. There’s so much of it I’m eager to shake off. But for the sake of our beautiful Earth, I think some of these changes — some of this slowing down, this moving around less — we’re going to need to keep.

I don’t know how we’re going to do that, though. And as much as I claim to be green, I don’t know that I will like it.

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