Friday, October 16, 2009

The Daily Commute

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These rabbits know what's up. They are increasing social capital through carpooling.
No lonely commuters here!

I thought these cars would be pretty sweet rides...

Mission: Document a typical motorized day.

Being a commuter student requires me to drive back and forth, to and from school each day. Each morning I wake up, hop in my car, and head off towards Winston-Salem. I have the freedom to leave when I want, stop where I want, listen to the music I want, and avoid interactions with anyone outside of my little car. Though I enjoy the peace and quiet of my morning commute, you cannot help but notice all the other people surrounding you on the roads. Just like you, they too are in their own little bubble, free to go where they want and free to fulfill their own obligations.
On a typical day, I drive between forty and sixty minutes if just going to and from school. Sometimes, if I choose to return home during the day, I can end up spending two hours of my day in the car. While having a car at my disposal is convenient, driving pulls me away from other people. When I am in my car, I am not part of any other community. Individuals who spend a lot of time in their cars are dramatically decreasing social capital.

Mission: Survive a day without my car.
A day without a car can be a lonely day if you are stuck at home, but a car-less day can encourage social interaction. I can no longer leave my house whenever I want, and if I want to go any where I must depend on others. I no longer have the freedoms available to me that my own car provides. Getting to school involves either hitching a ride with a friend or asking my mom to take me. I am required to travel with others. The silent morning commute of a typical day is replaced with a morning filled with conversation. If I am not driving, I no longer have control over the radio, and I do not decide whether or not we stop at Dunkin' Donuts. A day without a car requires sacrifices, but it increases social capital. If I am riding with other people, I am no longer in my own little bubble. I am sharing my bubble with at least one other person. I can no longer control exactly where I am going or when I get there, but I have the opportunity to talk to someone else. Carpools and public transportation encourage social interaction. These interactions create a stronger community. Though having my own car is quite convenient and caters to my individual needs, it does nothing for my community. The more lonely commuters, the more pollution and the less social interaction.
-Caitlin Riddle

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