Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Time for a Pick Me Up

When I was younger I remember walking to and from school each day. It started with my Mom walking along with my sister and I as we rode our bikes. Eventually, my sister and I were allowed to walk to school together and I will never forget the year we moved houses and our ten minute walk turned into a forty minute journey.

Eventually, my sister went off to high school and I found a spot on the bus list. I don’t really remember much about walking. I can remember my sister watching over me a lot. She would say things like, “don’t do that” and of course, I would do it.

Looking back at it now I miss the simplistic days. We knew our walk was long, but we did it anyways because we were kids. We didn’t have any other way to get to school, so we walked it.

It’s now 10 years later and I am in my final year of University and I find myself walking to school each morning. Having no car to call my own, I venture out each morning into the North Bay winter and begin my forty minute trek to my placement school.

It’s not really that hard of a walk. I actually find it soothing. The sun is rising. I have my music playing in my ears. It gives me an opportunity to think about the day at hand and all the possibilities ahead.

Every once and awhile, a car will stop and someone I have met throughout the year offers to give me a ride to where I need to go.

Conversations often start like this:

“Not from North Bay eh?”
“It’s a small city. You can go anywhere in under 10 minutes by car”
“Cabs never cost more than ten dollars.”
“No one is ever ‘out of the way’ in this city”

The last few times I was offered a ride I decided to do some research. I began asking people how long they have had their cars for and what their mileage was. My initial thinking was that in a city where people usually drove to get around, especially in winter, that mileage counts would be really high.

To my surprise, the exact opposite was the truth. Most cars were 8 years old and averaged roughly 80,000 clicks. How is this possible? Back home we can’t help but rack up the mileage. We have to drive here, pick up this, drop off that, go do this, and we can’t forget... what is it we can’t forget again? We have conversations about who is going to drive. We have arguments about who drives too much or who doesn’t drive enough. Cabs are out of the question because traveling from one end of the city to the other would be a ridiculous cost I don’t even want to think about.

Yes, North Bay is a small city. But, it’s size makes it unique. People don’t spend 2 hours a day driving in their car. Stopping to pick someone up is never really out of anybody’s way.

Anyone who has spent time in North Bay knows that it is a close-knit community. Everyone really does know everyone and if you don’t know somebody – chances are someone you know does.

The city itself has provided its citizens the opportunity to spend more time with one another. Parents can leave work to watch their kids play sports, friends are within a stones throw of one another, and drivers stop to pick you up! But, be sure to remember! Never take rides from strangers…


Anonymous said...

its funny how i used to walk and ride my bike everywhere, now if i don't have a car in most cases i just wont go out...i will start riding my bike again in the spring

TeaseOpinion said...

lol...good ending