Wed, 23 Apr 2008

An arbitrary and rigid challenge

On April 30th, I will begin an arbitrary and rigid challenge: forty days without driving.

I'm not doing it for my health, for the environment, for the financial savings, or for any other sensible reason, although I'm sure I will be rewarded to some degree in all those areas. I'm doing it just for the pleasure of accomplishing an arbitrary goal.

The challenge is arbitrary, because no one asked me to do it. It isn't something I have to do. There's no one but me to answer to. It's rigid, because there are no exceptions. I'll do my shopping, banking, and other errands by bike or on foot. I won't accept rides from others, take the bus, call a cab, or use any form of transportation other than my own two legs.

I have been thinking about this challenge for a few weeks. Jenny will be making a trip to Switzerland to spend the month of May with her youngest sister who is expecting twins any day. On April 30th, I will drive Jenny to the airport. When I return, I will park the car until June 9th when I will drive back to the airport to meet Jenny on her return.

This past Saturday at the barber shop while waiting my turn, I read an interesting article in an issue of National Geographic Magazine. A photographer gave himself an arbitrary and rigid challenge. Between the Summer Solstice and the Winter Equinox, he took one and only one photograph each an every day, for ninety days. In light of the challenge I had been contemplating for myself, the article was intriguing—the pictures were fascinating.

I wish I had made better mental notes so I could give proper credit, but I don't recall the date of the issue or the author's name. A Google search didn't turn up the article. Whomever the photographer, I owe him an apology for borrowing his theme and some of his words, and thanks for solidifying my own personal challenge.

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