Sunday, September 21, 2008

Being a stereotype.

A couple of weeks ago I was riding the train with some work friends. We were talking with the 'new' girl, telling her about the different neighborhoods and each trying to convince her ours was the best. When I finished describing my little town just north of Washington DC she looked at me and said:

"Wow, you really are a liberal stereotype."

Now I don't necessarily consider that a bad thing, but it did sting a little to be labeled so easily (and she isn't wrong).

Fast Forward a couple of weeks:

This week I finally decided that it doesn't make sense for me to own a new car. I've had The Staxi for 4 years. I literally almost never drive it.. It is/was a constant source of worry- was I going to be able to afford to fix it if something went wrong? Where was I going to park in when it snows? What if someone hits it while it is parked on the street (the fate of my last car)? When am I going to get my next flat tire (3 in 2 years) Combine all this paranoia with high gas prices, a rising cost of living, and my desire to move to NYC and suddenly a car just sounds like a bad idea. So I sold it.
I've had a wee-bit-of sadness over selling my car. It was a quick and easy way to get around, it gave me a huge amount of freedom that non-car owners don't always have, and I could put lots of stuff in it. On the other side, I can rent a car when I need it, and not spend $450 a month on payments, insurance, and gas.

This morning I walked to the local farmer's market with my canvas bags. The market specializes in organic and locally grown produce. I was wearing a handmade headband and purse made from re-purposed plastic shopping bags with a sweatshop free tee-shirt. Suddenly I realized--sh*t, I really am a stereotype.

I considered the possibilities.

I could catch a taxi, eat McDonalds and buy some elastic waisted pants at Walmart or I could embrace the moment, buy good food, reduce my carbon footprint, and hope my lifestyle is one small part of a bigger movement.

I finished my marketing, came home and started marinating a locally produced eggplant while reading a feminist blog. Later, I sent off an email to the Obama Campaign to become a volunteer.

Because if you are going to be a stereotype, you might as well do it right.

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