NPR: Gas is the New Curfew


Article here.

In response to an NPR piece I heard today in which the author said that he had to curtail his dating activities because driving all over California to make dates is just too expensive because of high gas prices, I wrote this:

As in any marriage, there are the good times, and there are the bad times. My wife and I are enduring “the bad times” right now, and we’re working very, very hard on surviving them and rebuilding our marriage from the ground up. And because of that, we’re essentially dating again.

Of course, we’ve had traditional dates, the kind where you hop in the car and drive to dinner. But more recently, they’ve taken a much less mechanized, fuel-inflamed turn. Enter: bicycles.

As winter ended, she decided that she was going to begin commuting by bike to work to save gas money, so she did the research and purchased herself a very nice bicycle. Her commute is about 15 miles each way through the rolling (and sometimes steep hills) of Connecticut. Pretty soon, she was biking to work as often as possible and felt ready to go out on her bike with me.

Already an avid cyclist, I regularly ride almost 100 miles per week as a diversion from life’s annoyances and in pursuit of “health,” whatever that is. But I’d never ridden my bicycle with my wife. That first ride was very short and, well, the word probably is “tense” for both of us as we discovered our limits. There were the physical limits, of course, but there were the mental, emotional limits. Could we joke with each other? (Yes.) Complement, or even criticize, each other on our riding technique or the like? (Yes.) Could we talk about the serious things of a relationship on a ride? (Yes.) Could we even talk over the huffing and puffing? (Well, sometimes.)

There have been other rides since that first ride. I’ve started riding to work every now and then (23 miles each way, also steep at times). And, yes, we’ve talked, we’ve learned, we’ve enjoyed each other’s company. We’ve found “health.” And we’ve saved on gas, too.

Though it’s going to take me another 240+ rides and her another 400+ rides to pay for the bikes, the high price of gas has been, for us, a welcome addition to our life together.

(But now that we’re riding, could we have cheap gas once again, please?)

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