What Drives You?

1958 Oldsmobile Super Eighty-Eight
Image via Wikipedia

I got an email from AARP the other day, inviting me to offer 100 words for their “What Drives You” essay contest.

What they apparently expected from submissions was praise for the joys and freedoms of unrestrained high-horsepower sightseeing and thrill-seeking in our cars–yet another feather in the cap of the auto and fossil fuel Fathers of our Country. (Did you notice how many of the ads at the Super Bowl were aimed at getting us to buy cars and drive them more than ever?)

Never mind the fact that the AARP members site will not accept my password and has not sent me a replace-password email as requested. T’ell wittem. They wouldn’t have liked what I planned to send, along with a request that their competition allow a category that celebrates the end of the car culture and our inevitable transition to more thoughtful housing patterns than suburbia has offered, with less driving tomorrow than we have today, in far far more efficient vehicles.

So here’s my hundred words: What Drives Me….

Every mile I drive, I think of the energy slaves my generation has made of dinosaur juice. Can our children afford carefree Sunday drives as we once did? We have taken the true costs of our mobility for granted.  So I hope my kids consider each trip, buy locally, walk or bike when they can, and do their best to live such that what they need is close at hand. The future is not your father’s Oldsmobile. I’m driven by the hope we can drive as much as we need to, and sometimes, not so often, as much as we want.

What would you write? Come on. Just 100 words. Send us the link, or post in comments.

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

2 Comments on “What Drives You?

  1. I was going to make a snarky comment about how the AARP is way too far in my future for me to even think about. Then I remembered that they will accept you at age 50.

    That’s not so far in the my future…

  2. Gee, your Hundred Words sound like you’ve been channeling James Howard Kunstler and his ideas on the end of Happy Motoring. Well said!

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