Easy Driving

I recently spent a week with my family at the Poconos.  It was a delightful vacation.  We stayed at a house that is part of a development surrounding Lake Naomi.  We had temporary badges that got us into the beaches, clubhouses, pool club, and community center, and we used the heck out of those badges.

Unlike at our Jersey Shore vacations, where we could walk to the beach and ice cream or at least take a stroll down the street, our Poconos set-up pretty much necessitated that we drive everywhere.  The first morning I did take the kids for a 20-minute walk to the nearest marina, but we decided not to ever repeat that - not because of the distance but because there was no place on the streets to walk, and even though cars were obliging, I didn't want to chance getting clipped by a careless driver.

You might think that for someone like me, who normally shuns the car, this would be uncomfortable.  But it was the opposite.  Driving is easy.  In one week, I tallied 18 different car trips involving 50 total legs (yes, I counted).  This is about two months' worth of driving for me.  And I didn't at all mind hopping in the car each of these times, since it was so easy to plop myself down, throw some stuff in the trunk, and speed off.  No walking, no waiting, no intermediate stops.  And when I gassed up at the end of the trip, I calculated that we had used only about $15 in gas.  (And probably another $12 to $15 each way to get to and from the place.)

In other words, driving is pretty painless and brainless, even to me, the car-hater.  Which means that it is really painless and brainless to most others.  Which means we have way underpriced driving in our minds, relative to the actual costs it imposes on ourselves, others, society, and the environment.  (Don't get me started on all those smug hybrid commercials, in which owners boast about how seldom they have to gas up.  As if the only negative consequence of driving is using up gas and having to fill up.)  Which means we ought to figure out a better way to remind ourselves each time we get in the car as to how pricey that next trip is. 

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