So a theme has emerged in the last few days. See if you can spot it.

  1. I needed to replace a badly torn rear tire on my bike, so it seemed like a good opportunity to try out the bike racks on the city buses. I found the bus route to the bike shop, and planned out exactly how and when I would get there. I got on the bus, bike securely fastened to the front, and rode to the shop. Once there, I talked with one of the mechanics about mounting a new “city” tire, and ten minutes later I was ready to roll. Everything went quite smoothly. Until I realized I hadn’t figured out how to get home. My bus was gone, of course, and it wouldn’t be back around for an hour.

  2. Later in the day, I called my wife while I was waiting at a bus stop. When she asked me where I was, I told her I was waiting for the bus to take me home. After a pause, she not-so-gently reminded me that I was supposed to be home at 3:30 to take care of Miles so she could make an appointment. My watch said 3:07, and the bus was miles, too many miles, away.

  3. This morning, I promised Miles we would ride the bus downtown, while the wife was running errands. I didn’t feel like waiting for the bus that goes by our townhouse, so I walked with him the 1/2 mile to the busiest bus stop in the area. Once we got there, he promptly ambled behind a dumpster and pooped. This was an eventuality I hadn’t adequately packed for.

If you guessed that the common theme here is my absentmindedness, you’re close.

I used to take pictures with a large format camera–perhaps the simplest lensed film camera there is. In the time it would take you to shoot off a hundred pictures with a digital camera, with a large format camera you can take one shot. I generally had only four sheets of film loaded up and ready to expose at any one time, so there was little room for error. Yet some photographers swear that they take better pictures with such a camera. It forces you to think about what you are doing, they say, to line up the shot and carefully consider the exposure time.

I hope the same sort of thing happens with me eventually, when it comes to going carless. I think the theme of the last few days has been to teach me that having a car means being able to plan sloppily, whereas going carless means having to actually plan. I’m hopeful that this Project forces me to plan a little better, to think a little harder about my use of each minute in the day.

It hasn’t happened yet, though.