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9753Re: [CF] Re: CarFree Elements

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    May 1, 2004
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      On Sat, 30 Apr 2004, Jason W. Neiss wrote:

      > Good question. I think that when I'm speaking of a 'coolness factor',
      > as Steve brought up WRT carfreeness, I put it in terms of peer pressure
      > and what others think is cool. There's a lot of that among the piercing
      > twenty-somethings. And yes, that was why I got my first one.

      Hard to tell which of the 20-somethings get pierced because it's the
      trendy thing to do, and which ones do it because they see it and decide
      they just think it's really cool. You won't know until years later when
      some of them have taken the jewelry out and let the holes possibly close
      up, and others are still really glad they did it and have probably done
      more since then (for years I had 3 holes in each ear. Two years ago I got
      one more in each as a 37th birthday present to myself, and now I finally
      feel "complete").

      > But I also know that there are things that I think are cool that are
      > decidedly not. For instance, I'm something of a Tolkien geek. Awesome
      > motion pictures aside, being a Tolkien geek is just a few steps away
      > from being a Trekkie. My teenage son understands it, even if he doesn't
      > share it, but my teenage daughter thinks I'm a hopeless nerd...in spite
      > of the piercings, tattoos, black leather jacket, and tendency to annoy
      > the neighbors with Guns'n'Roses. :-) But then, I suspect all teenage
      > daughters are like that.

      Hey, being a nerd can be cool! :)

      > My point is that there's a difference between what we (singularly)
      > think is cool in and about ourselves, and what we (collectively) think
      > is cool. I think my matte black Gary Fischer mountain bike is cool, and
      > a Rivendell with basket and bell is terribly nerdy. But other people
      > might see things completely different.

      Nerdy bikes with baskets are cool!

      > The peril of making carfreeness a cool thing is that cool things go out
      > of fashion. After all, how many of us are still wearing peg-leg Levis
      > and greasing our hair into ducktails? Or tie-dye? Or whatever? A certain
      > amount of cool is important (I've based much of my self-image on
      > creating an aura of cool :-P ), but for the whole idea of car-free to
      > stick, it's got to have more value than "the next cool thing".

      Come to Ann Arbor and you will see much tie-dye. :)

      But anyway I think something can be cool without it being a passing fad.
      Some things are cool because they're just good. Really beautiful or they
      function just superbly well or they make life just so much more enjoyable.
      *We* know that life without a car can be like that. We need to help other
      people manage to make the transition so their life without a car *is* like
      that. We can't just do it with propaganda. Some of that will help,
      because some people really do just need to change the way they think.
      All some people need is a change in perception and some advice. But for
      other people, they really do need more. They need changes in
      infrastructure before they can really live without a car.

      Changes in infrastructure might be small or they might be large. Might be
      adding bike lanes. Might be expanding bus hours. Might be extending bus
      service to an area where it doesn't exist. Might be changing laws so
      health insurance would pay for special bicycles for disabled people who
      wanted to use them for transportation instead of only paying for adapted
      cars. I could go on and on. You can think of more.

      > Oh, and Riin? I think women with lots of earrings, dangly or whatever,
      > are totally cool. :-)

      Why, thank you! :)

      Riin Gill
      Interlibrary Loan 734-615-6168
      Taubman Medical Library fax 734-763-1473
      University of Michigan
      If you were riding your bike, you'd be having fun by now.
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