On March 13th, 2010 in Stamford, CT – Green Drinks NYC’s Founder
found her car to have taken a hit, literally….
It was a terrible week of storms and rain and in the midst of it all, while my sweet VW Jetta sat quietly parked in the safety of my parents CT driveway, booom! A 200 ft, 6 ton (yes ton!) pine tree came towering down on top of the hood. A direct hit. My gas-guzzling, car-I-rarely-drive, and sometime long distance “friend”, was now crushed. I was crushed. I WAS crushed, for a few minutes anyway…
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do think that cars have their place. It can easily become an escape, a hide out, and a place from which adventures start and end. However, I was never really into the gasoline-supporting element of it all.
In 1997, I test drove an EV1 (http://www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com/why) I was one of a handful of EV-lovers on the waiting list in CA. I fell in love with the quiet drive, the touch pad ignition, and the convenient plug-in stations around San Francisco.
I lived in San Francisco for 5 1/2 years and learned first hand of the many alternative transportation options, they seemed to have hit the Bay Area first- but alas you could never actually own an EV1, temporary lease option only. I waited and researched until I simply had to get a new car to get around.
Before actually arriving in San Francisco, I rode my bicycle 4500 miles across the country. I was hired through Cycle America to lead this epic journey with 10 other strangers into the vast unknown of purple mountains and fruited plains. It was a personal journey of sorts, one that I vowed to do again someday, and one that can only be experienced on a bike. From the end of the very first week, after easing into a routine, comfortable positioning, past the sore butt phase, it was a daily ride of heaven on earth.
There are many wonderful pleasures in life that I truly enjoy, but bike riding through the changing colors of the afternoon sky, feeling warm air push on your face, gliding along endless open roads, wow, that is one of my very favorite.
Going back to the car situation for about 10 years I have felt the struggle between my car and my bike. One thought was to sell the VW to someone else, but would it just be another gas guzzling addition to the pollution in our skies? Wouldn’t it be better with “one less car on the road”? (one of my favorite bicycle stickers) Other thoughts crossed my mind… Do I abandon it and not sell it? Let it sit vacant in my parents driveway? The guilt. So I was caught up in the cross roads between keeping, selling and possibly converting my car. It lived in my parents driveway. Months passed. My dad would ask “Say Marg, what are you going to do with your car?” I had no answer. It seemed to me, with this crazy storm, The Universe had the answer for me.
I was not there when it hit. The 100-year-old pine tree adjacent to the house and car had been through a long and over saturated winter. Heavy snowfall and rains had made the ground loose, that mixed with the unusually high and mighty winds – reaching 65-70 mph (Hurricane Level 1) created the perfect storm. At approximately 8:30pm on March 13th, dark clouds filled the sky, the wind blew loud, deep and hard. Mom said “it was deafening”. The old tree swayed, then fell. No one could even hear it above the loud roar of the wind. The branches first blocked all the windows, that was how they knew. An hour later, I got the call. I was in NY. “Marg”, my dad began slowly, “it’s about your car, looks like a tree fell, square on top of it”.
4 days later, I made it back to CT to assess the damages. My car, was, in fact, totaled. What a sight. The arborists worked like surgeons, cutting away at the tree with 3-4 different chain saws. They cut this arm, then that one, delicately piecing things apart until the broken glass from my windshield glittered in the afternoon sun. A sight indeed. Glad I wasn’t in it, no one could survived that one.
So I await a pending check from the insurance company, at a time when alternative transportation abounds – many choices, given the current state of the environment and available technology, what would you choose?