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Its Dangerous Out There

by Dennis Marsoun

December 2,2003

She says I’m going to get killed! My wife, that is, insists that I am going to get run over.

I hope my wife is wrong, but that remains to be seen. I am a runner and a walker in the city. One of my favorite routes is to walk from the Uptown YMCA in the One Wachovia Building along the Trolley tracks to Reid’s to have Mac help me pick out what I will be cooking for dinner.

The dangerous part is when I cross both 5th and 6th Streets. The crosswalks are clearly labeled “CROSSWALK” with an ominous yellow sign that says “STATE LAW STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS IN CROSWALK.”

That is where the problem comes in. Most of our suburban friends are so unused to seeing pedestrians in their natural habitat that they forget all about the driving laws. They seem to wonder why someone would be so crazy as to try to cross the street.

After all, streets belong to cars! A lot of the subdivisions in Charlotte do not have sidewalks, and besides, even if they do have sidewalks, there is no where to walk. Everywhere worth going requires a car, or better yet, an SUV.

Most T.V. stations would go off the air if the automakers, and their cohorts, the car dealers, were to pull their ads. It is all part of a conditioning that we have had thrust upon us to get a quarter acre in a sub-division on a cul-de-sac with a two- story house and two-car garage and bonus room.

New home infozines fill the dispensers at all the heavily traveled crossroads in the Uptown area, beckoning us to make the dream come true quickly.

Most of us don’t really know what a car costs us. My primary job is in sales, and I keep records on all expenses related to my job, so for me to calculate the actual cost of a car was easy.

My calculations show that I spend $38.65 per day, everyday, for the honor of owning a car. I also track my activities and find that I don’t use a car every day. Sometimes I will go all week without driving, and then drive only because the car is there. Those idle days also cost $38.65 each day, every day.

Unlike an investment in a home, a car’s value goes down each day, not up, so basically, the $38.65 is non-recoverable.

I’d rather walk to Reid’s.

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